Anabolism is what every bodybuilder wants. That masculine, androgen-driven hormonal state where slabs of lean muscle pile on as easy as stacking protein pancakes. Where training intensity hits new highs, driving muscle growth, helping you to build the ultimate physique. There’s a right way and a wrong way to get there. This testosterone boosters vs. steroids review takes a look at both.
Anabolism vs. Catabolism: What it Means for Bodybuilders
T-boosters and steroids are often considered to promote a state of robust muscle growth. In order to get to this state, bodybuilders and athletes must shift balance from a catabolic state to an anabolic state:
- Anabolism is a “building” metabolic state when smaller and simpler molecules are used to construct larger and more complicated structures (like muscle);
- Catabolism is the conversion of organic compounds into energy; a breakdown process. This is also the time that great amount of muscle loss occurs.
Continuous anabolism is often the primary goal of body builders who are considering steroids vs. testosterone boosters.
The question is, what risks are they willing to take there? Because while steroids and test-boosters may work in similar ways, there are very good reasons why one is readily available and one is illegal.
Which will truly promote a peak anabolic muscle growth with the least side effects? Let’s find out.
Testosterone is mostly produced in the Leydig cells of the testis. Active Leydig cells in males promotes overall masculinity.
Testosterone production decreases as men age. This is the reason why it will be harder for older men to gain or maintain a healthy amount of muscle mass and overall fitness. This is where testosterone boosters come in to play.
Testosterone boosters are available in the form of amino acids, vitamins and minerals, or organic and plant-based supplements that support and sustain natural testosterone production in many ways. Testosterone boosters are different from testosterone replacement therapy performed under the direction of a doctor. Testosterone boosters are used by clean and lean men.
- Beyond increasing testosterone levels, T-booster supplements can help to improve many other measures of masculine health, including virility, sperm count, physical performance and more.
But those who are considering testosterone boosters vs. steroids are usually seeking support for one aspect of manly health, specifically: Muscle growth and strength.
Mechanism of Testosterone Boosters to Increase Muscle Mass and Strength
- Provide precursors for natural testosterone production
- Promote anabolism and muscle regeneration
- Inhibit estrogen and aromatase to maintain masculine androgen state
- Reduce cortisol to help sustain T while countering catabolism
Effects of Testosterone Boosters
- Increased muscle mass and strength
- Increased bone mineral density
- Better sex drive and reproductive health
- Fat loss and body composition benefits
- Better cardiovascular health
- Higher energy levels
- Gastric distress
- Occasional mood swings and higher aggressive tendency
- Minor headaches
Steroids are synthetic compounds which imitate the effects of testosterone in the body. These compounds are highly modified by scientists to deliver the desired effects in the shortest possible time.
- This modification of the testosterone structure leads to a higher rate of protein metabolism, decreased or reversed catabolism, feeling of euphoria and increased muscle mass and strength.
Steroids are highly addictive, it may not cause the same “high” as other drugs but they are illegal, not only because they create an unfair advantage among athletes and bodybuilders, but also due to the fact that anabolic steroids have caused many deaths of athletes and bodybuilders due to overdose.
Types of Steroids
Not all steroids are bad. Many steroids are used effectively for medical reasons. A few varieties of steroids include:
- Corticosteroid is used to aid in many types of diseases and it is a common prescription drug to treat inflammation or autoimmune diseases.
- Androgenic steroid is a synthetic male hormone to prevent or cure male impotence.
- Anabolic steroid is commonly known as designer steroid because of its specific anabolic effect to push the limits of skeletal muscles in terms of size and strength.
- Androgenic-anabolic steroid (AAS) is a synthetic form of steroid that combines the effects of androgenic and anabolic steroid to improve athletic performance. It is the most abused type of steroid.
Effects of Steroids
- Increased muscle size and strength to extreme proportions
- Improved muscle performance
- Desirable physical appearance of muscles
- Acne breakouts
- Oily skin
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk for certain cancers
- Mood swings (aka “Roid rage”)
- Multiple organ failure
- Decreased testicle size
- Imbalances sex hormone levels
- Increased chances of acquiring blood-borne diseases caused by sharing of needles
Testosterone Boosters vs. Steroids: Which is Better?
Testosterone boosters have plenty of health benefits to accompany their anabolic bodybuilding effects. The side effects of testosterone boosters are relatively mild.
However, steroids deliver the best muscle size increase and performance in the least amount of time possible. Steroids push the mind and body of an athlete or bodybuilder to exceed his normal limits. This practice, known as “steroid doping,” has long been banned in sports and bodybuilding.
The big difference: The side effects of steroids are too life-threatening and it is known to have long-term detrimental effects to the organs in the body. Several athletes and bodybuilders have already died as a result of steroid abuse.
When looking at testosterone boosters vs. steroids, consider:
- One can increase anabolic activity while supporting masculine health;
- The other increases anabolic activity at the expense of masculine health.
With that, it is an easy choice to decide which is better: Testosterone Boosters.
Are Testosterone Boosters Banned in Sports?
Most testosterone boosters are allowed in sports (DHEA is a notable exception), simply because all testosterone in the system are naturally produced by the body and were not caused by synthetic steroids. Testosterone boosters are vitamins, minerals and organic extracts which promotes the activity of the leydig cells that lead to natural testosterone production.
Testosterone Boosters vs. Steroids: Legality Considerations
Testosterone boosters are perfectly legal since they are commonly a combination of vitamins & minerals and plant extracts. They are not performance enhancing drugs (PED). Steroids on the other hand are synthetic controlled substances that may be illegal depending on where you live.
In addition, some T-booster supplements may be spiked with steroids, a highly questionable practice of unscrupulous manufacturers. Avoid cheap or sketchy-looking testosterone boosting supplements.
- Check out our best testosterone booster supplements list to get a better idea of which supplements are safe, quality and effective.
What is the Strongest Non-steroid Testosterone Booster?
D-Aspartic Acid as D-Aspartic Acid Calcium Chelate (D-AA-CC)
From a long list of testosterone boosters, D-Aspartic Acid (DAA) as D-Aspartic Acid Calcium Chelate (D-AA-CC) stands out as the best non-steroid testosterone booster.
DAA provides support for:
- Increased T-synthesis for optimum T production within the leydig cells
- The release of human growth hormone (HGH) from the pituitary gland
- Continuous anabolic state for optimum muscle growth and strength
A research-backed T-booster supplement, DAA has been shown to increase testosterone levels by about 42% in only 12 days.
Some of our top-rated T-booster supplements that supply DAA include:
- Prime Male (uses the enhanced-potency D-AA-CC form of DAA)
- Nugenix Ultimate Testosterone
- RSP Prime T
Testosterone boosters have plenty of health benefits with the least amount of side effects compared to Performance enhancing drugs (PED) and designer steroids. Testosterone boosters are legal and safe to use even during competitions.
On the contrary, steroids are illegal and life-threatening. Steroid may offer the best results for a short period of time, but it can easily lead to steroid addiction and potentially death when the substance is abused.
For the sake of your long-range health, avoid steroids and consider a high-quality, intelligently formulated testosterone booster supplement. An effective T-booster can increase T, increase prohormones, activate anabolic muscle growth and more — all while working in harmony with your overall masculine health.
Hartgens F, Kuipers H. Effects of androgenic-anabolic steroids in athletes. Sports Med. 2004;34(8):513-54.
Stanworth R, Jones TH. Testosterone for the aging male; current evidence and recommended practice. Clin Interv Aging. 2008 Mar; 3(1): 25–44.
Dr. James Tolliver A Guide for Understanding Steroids and Related Substances 2004 March
P. Frati et al. Anabolic Androgenic Steroid (AAS) Related Deaths: Autoptic, Histopathological and Toxicological Findings 2015 Jan; 13(1): 146–159
Kicman, AT. Pharmacology of anabolic steroids. Br J Pharmacol. 2008 Jun; 154(3): 502–521.