Steroids are naturally produced by the body in small quantities, and are used to help fight stress and to promote normal growth and development. Anabolic steroids are synthetic male-sex hormones, the most powerful being testosterone, which promote the growth of muscle and enhance strength.
Anabolic steroids are a prescription-only medication, and can be used to treat conditions such as delayed puberty in boys, breast cancer, and osteoporosis. Taken outside of a warranted medical use, it is illegal. Steroids can be taken orally, applied as a cream, or administered intravenously.
Steroidal supplements (also referred to as steroid precursors) such as androstenedione (andro) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) are converted by the body into anabolic steroids. Although the supplements are weaker than the steroids themselves, when taken in large doses, can prove equally harmful. Although most steroid supplements are also now prescription-only, DHEA is still readily available over the counter.