Are anabolic steroids considered supplements? Can you please provide where you found the definition of a supplement.

  • Anabolic Steroids are synthetic hormones. Supplements "supplement" something such as a food/meal supplement (kind of a "instead of"). If you think that anabolic steroids "supplement" the naturally occurring hormones in your body, then you're over thinking the problem. Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 14:02
  • Why was this downvoted? Totally valid question. +1
    – Josh
    Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 17:14
  • I downvoted because I feel that this is off topic to physical fitness - good question or not. fitness.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 17:28
  • Im not sure why this question is off topic because steroids are used in combination with physical fitness - legal or not. I am trying to understand whether steroids are considered supplements because they are very closely related if they are not supplements.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 0:33
  • They don't directly relate to any exercise in your question.
    – Freakyuser
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 4:31

1 Answer 1


There is a big difference between anabolic steroids and supplements both from a regulatory standpoint and from potential risk to your body.

By definition, a supplement is taken orally and contains at least one dietary ingredient, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals or amino acids.

They are regulated as food. However, anabolic steroids are hormones and are considered drugs. Drugs are regulated much more stringently, and excessive doses typically are much more damaging to the body.

The best resource to see available studies and the have a good summary of the quality of the study and affect of the supplement you are considering, I highly recommend looking at http://examine.com.

A couple additional points:

  • Not all supplements have been thoroughly studied with truly independent verification.
  • Some unscrupulous supplement vendors will include dangerous or banned chemical compounds, lying about what's inside. Only buy from reputable vendors who are forthright about the contents of their supplements.
  • Always find independent verification for the safety and efficacy of a supplement before you buy. This includes clearly understanding what is the recommended and safe dosage.
  • I would say "harm" instead of "risk". I've never seen any one who has used steroids not suffer from some side affect be it cycstic acne, aggressiveness, baldness, or, a host of other problems.
    – rrirower
    Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 15:08
  • The US considers them controlled substances. I am not sure that I would label steroids as "drugs" any more so that I would food by this definition: a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body. Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 17:25
  • So if steroids are categorized as drugs and supplements are categorized as food, does this mean they really belong in these categories? (I know you can take steroids orally and I'm not sure if they include dietary ingredients) Also What category does creatine fall into? The article was interesting but I don't like that they focused on steroid abuse.... if you abuse anything there is going to be negative side effects period.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 0:47
  • Cartico-steroids (typical medicinal steroids) and and anabolic steroids have the pill medium mixed with the steroid itself. Creatine is a supplement (see examine.com). If you are looking for pro-anabolic steroid material, you are on your own. Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 2:01
  • @Berin Good answer but I believe in europe, maybe one day in the US, some basic supplements are heavily regulated by dosage etc. Even vitamins that have never been shown to do harm. I don't think regulation is a good basis for distinguishing one thing from another the legal system and regulatory agencies sometimes defy logic.
    – hortstu
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 5:11

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.