Most people know that using steroids is not good for their health, but until now their effects on the kidneys have not been known, steroids and effects on kidneys. This new study shows that anabolic steroids can increase the risk of kidney damage.
Scientists from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of California, Davis, studied the effects of using anabolic steroids over two years for 30 people without kidney disease. The investigators studied the use of these steroids and the relationship between the number of doses taken and the development of kidney damage.
In three short years, the study found that one of two major types of oral anabolic steroids (doped and un-doped) increased the risk of developing kidney damage from 10 to 20 percent. Anabolic steroid use can also lead to a rise in urine volume, which is seen in about one-fourth of the men taking steroids.
Researchers also noted that the use of anabolic steroids in men of both genders led to an increase in the risk of developing kidney damage.
“There were significant differences among men in terms of their oral steroid use and the risk of developing kidney damage and, importantly, the risk of developing kidney damage in men was substantially different from the risk of developing kidney damage in women,” says lead author Dr. Robert Sesso, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at UC Davis. “This reinforces the findings of previous research on the effects of steroids on the kidneys and suggests that more research is needed to determine the cause of the different risk factors in men and women.”
The study’s findings are published online first in the Journal of the American Medical Association and will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology and Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine this evening.
According to Dr. Sesso, the findings suggest that anabolic-androgenic steroids, the active ingredient in anabolic steroids, could interfere with the natural function of the kidneys—a process that is important to the function of the body.
Steroids and effects on kidneys
“Because the anabolic androgenic steroids we studied increased the risk of kidney damage by almost 20 percent, clinicians should consider carefully whether anabolic-anabolic steroids are an appropriate treatment. We hope our findings will contribute to the growing number of people who have reported that taking oral steroids leads to renal failure, a condition that can lead to kidney failure if left untreated,” Dr. Sesso says.
The study authors note that the risk of developing kidney damage in women increases with the length of oral anabolic-anabolic steroid use, possibly by increasing the dose taken. However, overall the risk in women was not
The findings indicate that the habitual use of steroids has serious harmful effects on the kidneys that were not previously recognized,” the authors write. “We propose that the adverse effect of steroid use is a result of direct renal damage, instead of an indirect loss of renal function due to the direct effects on the underlying and vascular tissues of the lungs and heart.”
That suggests, the researchers write, that steroids might have a role to play in heart attacks and stroke. But, as is often the case with such findings, it remains unclear exactly what those effects might be.
“Because steroids are widely used, and many patients are unaware of their potential importance, they could contribute to a greater prevalence of these diseases than previously suspected,” says Dr. Mark C. McKeon, the study’s senior author and a professor of medicine and of health services research at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.
Still, he adds, “We did find a definite positive association between exposure to chronic steroid use and the occurrence of end-stage renal disease. Now our goal is to see if the risk of end-stage renal disease is increased among patients on lifelong therapies, steroids and effects on kidneys, steroids and on kidneys effects.”
Researchers also found that patients on steroids were more often using high doses of the drug, which makes up part of the steroids’ benefits. In the study, those on steroids consumed more than 100 mg per day of diuretics, which have long come to represent the use of steroids to prevent kidney damage and provide relief from kidney symptoms such fatigue, constipation, and bloating.
For the study, the researchers analyzed information provided by more than 6,500 adults recruited from the health insurance records of more than 17 million adults in the United States.
The researchers adjusted for factors like smoking, diabetes, alcohol use and lack of exercise, along with baseline data on sex, age, race and marital status as well as information on cardiovascular risk (such as hypertension and heart disease) and socioeconomic status.
The investigators also evaluated whether cardiovascular disease, which is often linked with steroids, might be linked to the high intake of diuretics.
“We found that there was a significant positive association between end-stage renal disease and the use of chronic diuretics,” McKeon says.
More than one-third of those who developed end-stage renal disease were on drugs called triclosan, a chemical used to treat infections, including strep throat, or other urinary tract infections such as UTIs. And the patients on such drugs were more likely to have heart disease.
Other medications included in the study, such as
Most people know that using steroids is not good for your health, but until now, their effects on the kidneys have not been known. A team of researchers in Canada led by Dr. Jodi Schindler in Toronto have discovered that anabolic steroids affect the way the kidneys work and whether they work optimally. They report in PloS one that anabolic steroids not only increase the likelihood of kidney stones, but they also decrease calcium absorption in the kidneys.
It’s a very common belief that anabolic steroids increase muscle mass. They work by affecting the body’s hormone system. The body’s hormones include testosterone, anabolic steroids or cortisone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) which are used to build more muscle and fat cells. These hormones are the body’s way of telling you what you need to be making, as well as building more muscle and losing bodyfat. This includes anabolic steroids because a person’s body naturally makes testosterone and other hormones. However, when you use anabolic steroids you also make anabolic androgenic steroids, called androgen receptor modifiers (ARMs), which block the body’s natural way of telling androgenic steroid (CNS) from androgenic steroid (AR). As a consequence, your testosterone levels increase dramatically and you can build more muscle mass than before. Androgens are very important in body building. They have a significant impact on blood pressure, body composition and the way hormones work. The effects also have an impact on the metabolism and on how a person can function. For example, an increase in the concentration of cholesterol in the blood increases the risk for heart disease, but increasing anabolic steroid use also increases this risk. People that use anabolic steroids can also suffer with symptoms of a condition called “metabolic bone syndrome” which is characterized by an increased risk to the bones.
The results from this new study show that using anabolic steroids (as well as GH and its metabolite, androgenic steroids) to build a larger muscle mass can result in an increase in the risk of kidney stones. In addition, they also show that, while it is possible to reverse this effect if it is detected earlier, it is more difficult to do so with many people because these steroids can also reduce kidney function.
Dr. Schindler’s research has found that anabolic steroids also make people vulnerable to a condition called metabolic bone syndrome, a condition that affects the way the body stores calcium (calcium deposits are found in bones). This is a condition that is associated with increases in calcium levels in bones and can cause the bones to calcify. The problem is