Steroid hormones are a greatly important part of how our bodies function and develop to their maximum potential. Derived from and secreted by steroid (endocrine) glands, both men and women generate steroidal hormones that differ from three major areas: ovaries, testes and adrenal cortex.

Without steroid hormones, our bodies wouldn’t successfully complete the multiple physiological functions crucial for overall healthy development. To learn more about the pivotal action of these hormones and how they bring about their specific effects, keep reading.

What Are Steroid Hormones?

As mentioned, steroid hormones are specialist molecules originating from endocrine glands. Upon their concluded biosynthesis, these hormones are excreted into the bloodstream where they’re able to locate and connect with compatible receptacles, administering their individual mechanism of action.

What Are Some Examples of Steroid Hormones?

All steroid hormones have something in common. They’re comprised of cholesterol, and are fully soluble in lipids. Examples of some of the most well-known steroid hormones are cortisol, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Whilst normally associated with male humans and produced within the testes, testosterone is still present in lower amounts in the ovaries. Both estrogen and progesterone are classed as the primary female sex hormones, and are imperative during all pregnancy stages and for maintaining the monthly menstrual cycle.

Steroid Hormone Synthesis

Steroid hormone synthesis occurs entirely within particular endocrine-based glands. The classification group a steroid hormone belongs to precisely correlates to the area it was synthesized. For example, steroids created in the adrenal cortex are referred to as adrenal steroids, and include blood pressure-regulating glucocorticoids, and mineralocorticoids mainly focusing on the kidneys.

Steroid hormone synthesis heavily involves cholesterol regardless of which hormone is being created, and their lipid-dissolvable nature is essential for them to operate correctly. It’s also important not to confuse their structure with peptide hormones (like insulin), as these are assembled using protein molecules.

How Steroid Hormones Carry Out Their Function

In simplistic terms, their sole job is to regulate genetic expression and trigger gene alterations within certain cells. This is where their lipid-soluble construction is unconditionally vital. This structural design allows them to seamlessly pass through fatty membranes, unlike non-steroid hormones unable to gain access. However, they won’t attempt to pass-through or act upon cells that don’t possess their corresponding receptors. This guarantees the most specific, efficient action for every individual hormone.

Once inside, the hormone immediately recognizes and connects with its compatible receptor, usually located in the cytoplasm or occasionally the nucleus itself. This new bound composition then travels to the cell’s central nucleus (if not there already), and the ‘instructions’ for required cellular changes are released. They’re subsequently de-coded for brand-new protein production, eliciting the required activity.

Steroid Hormone Receptors

For steroid hormones to be effective, they must successfully provoke the appropriate action needed from their intended cells. To accomplish a perfect outcome every time, each steroid hormone has a bespoke, tailored receptor it must securely fuse with. This is often called the ‘lock and key’ analogy because of its exact specificity.

Generally, steroid hormone receptors are separated into five major groups. A concise list of these classifications are as follows: Glucocorticoid receptors (GRs), progesterone receptors (PGRs), Estrogen receptors (ESRs), Androgen receptors (ARs) and Mineralocorticoid receptors (MRs).

Are Steroid Hormones Effective for Growing Muscle?

Absolutely. One of the fundamental mechanisms of testosterone is for muscle growth and general development. This is why adolescent males typically experience a sudden influx of testosterone throughout their bodies, because it’s necessary for puberty to begin and elicit the correct amount of growth required when transitioning into adulthood. In fact, this is one of the most common reasons anabolic steroids can be prescribed by a doctor, because they’re synthetically created to replicate the power of testosterone across the body.

However, it’s no secret that anabolic steroid hormones are regularly abused by bodybuilders wanting to gain excessive muscle. They’re so effective at promoting increased growth, they can cause muscles to build at unusually rapid speeds and enhance physical performance alongside stamina.

What’s the Difference Between Steroid Hormones & Human Growth Hormone?

With what you’ve learnt about how steroid hormones work to elevate muscle growth, you’re probably assuming they’re the same as human growth hormone (HGH), right? Well, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and it’s important to distinguish between the two to avoid making mistakes.

HGH is actually a protein-based hormone produced in the pituitary gland, and is structurally very different to a steroid hormone like testosterone. It triggers increased tissue gain, and has been found to help boost overall lean mass within the body. Because of this, some anabolic steroid abusers may seek to illegally obtain synthetic HGH in an attempt to boost their physique even further.

Are Growth Hormone Steroids for Sale?

Both anabolic steroids and synthetic HGH are currently considered illegal in many countries, especially if being used for professional bodybuilding. If done so, this will be classed as cheating and the individual will likely be banned if caught out. If you wish to increase your muscle growth, it’s highly recommended to opt for natural, safer methods not just for your physical and mental health – but to avoid incurring legal charges too.