Manipulation of the endocrine system through the abuse of Anabolic Steroids creates greater health risks than just an interruption of the hypothalamus-pituitary- gonadal axis. Prolonged abuse places the user at risk of sever liver distress. Some of this distress is the result of interruptions in metabolic functions of the liver and some of it is related to the toxicity associated with metabolizing complex synthetic hormones. Abuse place the user at risk of hepatic tumors (benign and malignant) as well as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.   

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  1. Our livers are multi-functional organ- from aiding in metabolism to protein synthesis. Arguably one of the most important functions of the liver is filtering and removing toxins from the body, most commonly from drugs and alcohol, but recently steroid abuse has increasingly become a top reason for liver damage, particularly among young athletes. AAS, or androgenic anabolic steroids is a synthetically created version of testosterone helping to increase strength. Although short-term its use may seem beneficial, long-term abuse of this substance and manipulation of endocrine-associated hormones have been found to cause liver damage including hepatitis, hepatic tumors, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Although severity of liver damage caused by AAS use varies amongst cases, the damage is permanent and can potentially lead to greater problems in the future; from more loss of function, tumor growth, and accumulation of fatty liver deposits. Unfortunately, the market for synthetic drugs in not as carefully regulated and can come with significant side effects. It’s important to realize that your body functions and processes just the way it is needed to- synthetic drugs are never the right way to achieve better looks or functioning, as it is proven to do more harm than good. The project above illustrates what a normal liver looks like in comparison to one with hepatic tumors or non-alcoholic liver damage; covered with tumors or fatty deposits, respectively.

    Sarah Elgin

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