(By David Steen)
If you are a serious athlete, you probably know much about healthy diet. Still, we would like to remind you about some important issues. Steroids are most often used by bodybuilders and other power-sportsmen. Power-sports require high-protein diets, but the problem with proteins is that when they are metabolized, large quantities of nitrogen must be excreted by liver and kidneys, which places a serious strain on these organs. With the long-term high-protein diet the risk of kidney- or liver-disease increases many-fold. Because these very organs suffer most by steroid-use (especially if you use oral steroids) you may find yourself in a situation when kidney- or liver- disease becomes almost inevitable.
To minimize the impact of high-protein diet and steroids you should strictly avoid any carbonated beverages (soft drinks), fried food (especially all kinds of fast foods), fatty foods and alcohol. Also avoid using aluminum utensils (not common in the rich countries anymore but still widespread in some developing areas).
There are some foods with beneficial effects on liver and kidney, (for instance turmeric, which is found in curry). Make sure you also have your liver and kidney-function evaluated at least once in 6 months the results of liver- and kidney-disease can be serious and sometimes fatal.
To learn more about high-protein diet, you can read this article published by Mayo Clinic: MAYO CLINIC ARTICLE
Another important issue for sportsmen in general and bodybuilders in particular is the use of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are a group of compounds naturally occurring in plants, including edible plants. Because of their structural resemblance of female sex hormone estrogen, phytoestrogens apparently have some similar effects on human body. The extend of phytoestrogen´s effects is still not clear but there is a serious foundation to the opinion that foods containing phytoestrogens should be avoided if you try to increase your muscle-mass. Soy, soy foods (including tofu, soy milk etc.) and flax seed are the most important sources of phytoestrogens in our diet. Especially soy is added to almost every food including meat products today. According to some studies, fermented soy products have lower content of phytoestrogens.
Probably the most important paper on phytoestrogens is Dietary oestrogens and male fertility potential (West M.C.L., Anderson L.,McClure N., Lewis S.E.M.-Queen´s University Belfast, UK).
This is the paper´s abstract in full: Reports of increased incidences of male reproductive abnormalities and falling sperm counts have prompted interest into the nature of these threats to global fertility. Xenoestrogens have been flagged as major culprits but to date, little is known about the effects of dietary phytoestrogens on male reproductive health. These non-steroidal oestrogens of plant origin are potent endocrine disruptors that modulate normal physiological functions. Phytoestrogens have become a major component in the typical Western fast food diet over the last few decades. Soy formula milk is another common source of phytoestrogens, now used increasingly as an alternative to breast or cow’s milk for infants with allergies. This use is of particular concern since the most vulnerable periods for oestrogenic insult are thought to be the pre- and neonatal periods when irreversible damage can be inflicted on the developing germinal epithelium. Studies into the safety of phytoestrogens are urgently needed either to allay fears or increase awareness of the effects of our modern diet on future fertility.