Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormonal substances that behave like testosterone. They help build skeletal muscles (anabolic effect) and develop male characteristics (the androgenic effect). In fact, the exact name for these is anabolic-androgenic steroids. Doctors prescribe these for people with testosterone deficiency or with low red blood cell count. They are also used to treat adolescents experiencing delayed puberty or patients with breast cancer, aside from treating tissue wasting among people AIDS. 1 They must also not be confused with corticosteroids, a cortisone-like steroidal medication that controls inflammation and is used to treat a range of health problems.
Anabolic processes tend toward "building up" organs and tissues . These processes produce growth and differentiation of cells and increase in body size, a process that involves synthesis of complex molecules . Examples of anabolic processes include the growth and mineralization of bone and increases in muscle mass. Endocrinologists have traditionally classified hormones as anabolic or catabolic, depending on which part of metabolism they stimulate. The classic anabolic hormones are the anabolic steroids , which stimulate protein synthesis, muscle growth, and insulin . The balance between anabolism and catabolism is also regulated by circadian rhythms , with processes such as glucose metabolism fluctuating to match an animal's normal periods of activity throughout the day.