Weight loss steroids are either classified as prescription medications or as natural supplements sold over-the-counter at health food stores. Many types of steroids are used to treat health conditions, such as asthma, cancer, and skin diseases. At the same time, one class of drugs, anabolic steroids, is intended for males with hormone problems, but they are often abused by athletes. These types of weight loss steroids are also used to decrease body fat, although such results are usually unfounded. Overall, steroids are generally not effective for real weight loss, and they should only be used as prescribed by a medical professional.
Corticosteroids are the most common types of steroids prescribed, and they work by producing hormones, such as prednisone, that the adrenal glands would normally provide. These drugs are classified as anti-inflammatory medications that are used to treat chemotherapy patients, severe asthmatics, and individuals with inflammatory diseases. Corticosteroids actually carry the risk of weight gain, because they can decrease the metabolism and increase the incidences of fat deposits throughout the body. Patients are often encouraged to follow a diligent exercise program and a healthy diet to ward off such side effects, if possible.
Anabolic steroids are a type of injected medication that contains male sex hormones. These are often used in boys with delayed puberty, but they are sometimes abused by athletes of both sexes as a type of performance-enhancing drug. These types of steroids can help to build muscle, but they do not have any correlation with effective weight loss. The abuse of anabolic steroids can also cause potentially life-threatening side effects, such as a coma.
Natural steroids are sometimes marketed as alternative methods to help to build muscle and burn fat. Such supplements contain herbs and minerals that are not chemically processed, so they can be labeled as being natural. At the same time, these supplements can be just as powerful as medicinal steroids, and can even cause side effects such as baldness, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Natural weight loss steroids have not been proven to directly decrease body fat.
The efficacy of weight loss steroids is questionable because the majority of the drugs and supplements are designed to increase muscle mass rather than directly eliminate fat cells. Patients looking to lose weight will likely find better success with more tried and true methods, such as a reduced-calorie diet and regular moderate-intensity exercise. A doctor should be consulted prior to starting any weight loss regime, especially in patients with ongoing health problems.