Steroids are not only anabolic steroids and corticosteroids. In fact, a group of these substances include many other hormones. Some of them play a very significant role in the human body, while others have a very weak effect, nevertheless their lack or excess leads to health problems.
Testosterone and other male hormones (androgens)
Testosterone is the main hormone of the male body. It is thanks to testosterone that a concept of masculinity that is characterized by both external manifestations and behavior of male persons has been formed. As shown in multiple research works of scientists, from the age of 30, the concentration of this hormone in the male organism gradually but steadily decreases. Possible consequences of this process are known to all. These are deterioration of potency, loss of muscle mass, etc. Therefore, many men are interested in how to boost the level of testosterone naturally.
Testosterone belongs to the so-called androgen group. Other steroid androgenic substances are the following hormones:
1) Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This is a biologically active form of testosterone, formed by the action of the enzyme 5α-reductase. Excess DHT leads to the prostate enlargement and an increased risk of prostate malignant tumors occurrence. A decreased or zero formation of dihydrotestosterone from testosterone is associated with weak sensitivity of tissues to testosterone. This leads to feminization (the development of female traits).
2) Androstenedione. It is a weak androgen which is a precursor for testosterone and some other hormones. Also, researchers believe that it has some estrogen-like action.
3) Androstenediol. It is also a weak androgen, which is the mediator in the synthesis of testosterone.
4) Androsterone. It belongs to both steroid & neurosteroid groups. It is also believed that it’s a pheromone.
5) Androstane. This is a little-known steroid hormone, which is supposed to have androgenic activity.
Estradiol and other women hormones
Estradiol is the most powerful estrogenic substance, which causes all the stages of the developing and functioning of the women bodies. This hormonal substance guarantees the formation of reproductive organs by the female type, the development of female secondary sexual characteristics in the puberty period, the formation and regulation of menstrual function, the growth of the egg, the enlargement of the uterus during pregnancy. The hormone is responsible for the psychophysiological characteristics of sexual behavior. Estradiol provides the formation of subcutaneous fat by the female type. Reducing the resistance of the vessels of the uterus, it increases the blood flow in it and activates hyperplasia of the endometrium. A necessary condition for estradiol effects is its correct ratio to the rate of testosterone. Estradiol has an anabolic effect, enhances the exchange of bone tissue and speeds up the maturation of the bones of the skeleton. It promotes the retention of sodium and water in the body, decrease cholesterol rates and increases blood’s clotting activity.
In women, estradiol is synthesized in the membrane and granulosa cells of the follicles, to a lesser extent in the reticular zone of the adrenal cortex and during the peripheral transformation of testosterone. Normally, up to 90% of estrogen in male persons is formed as a result of peripheral conversion of testosterone by aromatization.
Estrone is the second important estradiol after estradiol. Studies in which patients were given increased doses of this hormone showed that it led to increased sensitivity of the breast, endometrial hyperplasia, increased lubrication in vagina, etc.
Estriol is a secondary women sex hormone with non-pronounced action. Of the three natural estrogens of the human body, estriol has the shortest half-life and the lowest biological activity.
Progesterone – “father” of steroid hormones
The main task of progesterone in female persons is the preparation of the woman’s internal organ for the forthcoming conception, the favorable attachment of the fertilized egg, as well as the further course of pregnancy in general and the full development of the fetus. It also performs important functions in men.
In scientific works as well as in practical medical settings, the terms progestin, progesterone & progestogen are sometimes used interchangeably, however they are different substances. Being structural analogues progesterone & progestin have different properties.
As you could understand, the main progestogen in the body is of course progesterone.
Other progestogens include the following hormonal substances:
List of corticosteroids
Corticosteroids are hormonal agents produced by the adrenal cortex. They regulate mineral metabolism and metabolism of carbs, proteins and fats. Corticosteroids are divided into two main groups:
- Glucocorticoids. These are hormones that affect all kinds of metabolism: protein, fat and carb ones, have anti-inflammatory action, anti-allergic effect, suppress immunity, as well as take part in the formation of the necessary indicators of arterial pressure. They include cortisol, cortisone, and corticosterone. These are the main hormones. Additional hormones include 11-Dehydrocorticosterone, 11-Deoxycorticosterone, 11-Deoxycortisol, and others.
- Mineralocorticoids. The key agent of this subclass is aldosterone. Its function is to increase the sodium content in the kidneys, remove excess potassium ions and chlorides through the renal tubules, Na⁺ with fecal masses, the distribution of electrolytes in the body. It can be synthesized to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the needs of the body. Deoxycorticosterone is a minor mineralocorticosteroid hormone of the adrenal cortex in humans. In some animal species, deoxycorticosterone is the base natural mineralocorticoid. But in the human body, deoxycorticosterone is relatively inactive.
Synthetic corticosteroid meds are commonly used in medicine to treat a wide range of diseases. They are capable of suppressing the inflammatory process for a while, but they do not have an effect on the infectious origin, the causative agents of the disease. After the corticosteroid drug’s effect ceases, the infection resumes. Eliminating inflammation corticosteroids have an analgesic effect. Corticosteroids are produced in the form of tablets, capsules, steroid injections, ointments, and steroid creams.
Neurosteroids – specific class of steroids
Neuroactive steroids or neurosteroids are a class of endogenous steroids synthesized in the brain, adrenal glands and organs of the reproductive system. Neurosteroids have a neuroprotective effect (i.e. they protect nerve cells from various injuries), regulate synapse functions, myelination processes of nerve fibers and apoptosis (programmed death) of nerve cells. Recent research shows that there are no neurosteroids in the brain of patients with multiple sclerosis. These substances include 3α, 5α-Androstanediol, 3α, 5β-Androstanediol 3α-Dihydroprogesterone (3α-DHP), 5α-Dihydroprogesterone (5α-DHP; allopregnanedione), 5β-Dihydroprogesterone, Allopregnanediol, Allopregnanolone, and others.