How IPEDs Work



Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are synthetically produced versions of the naturally occurring male sex hormone testosterone. The term “anabolic” refers to muscle-building whilst “androgenic” refers to increased male sexual characteristics; “steroids” refer to the class of drug. Medically, they are prescribed to treat various conditions related to muscle wastage or for hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Male hormones such as testosterone and its metabolite di-hydrotestosterone are responsible for the developmental changes that occur within the male body through adolescence such as increased body mass, facial and body hair, oily skin, acne and mood swings.

Whether AAS are injected or taken orally they work by mimicking testosterone. When they enter the blood stream they attach to specific receptors (a bit like a lock and key) at cell level. This allows them to enter the nucleus of the cell, which in turn helps the cell to create and retain more protein. This process is called protein synthesis. It is this construction of new proteins that is associated with increased muscle size and strength.

Steroids can also support muscle growth by other means i.e. increasing levels of free androgens, increasing human growth hormone production and insulin-like growth factor. They may also stop the body entering a catabolic state where muscle would be broken down and size diminishes.

How SIEDs work - Steroids


Peptide Hormones

Peptide hormones, when naturally occurring, are produced by the endocrine glands (pituitary, thyroid, pineal, adrenal, pancreas) or by various organs such as the kidney, stomach, intestine, placenta, or liver. Synthetic peptide hormones are produced to mimic the effects of naturally occurring peptide hormones.

Peptides are small chains of amino acids that come in a variety of different forms. Human growth hormone, Insulin, Melanotan and HCG are all commonly used for image and performance enhancing purposes. Most peptide hormones come in powder form and need to be reconstituted, by adding sterile or bacteriostatic water, to make them ready for injection. Some (like Insulin) are supplied in injectable preparations. (See “Preparation” section for more detail)

See 'Profiles of commonly used IPEDs' for more detail and specific risks associated with each form of peptide.