You’ve likely heard the two terms before. However, you may not know the difference between peptides and steroids. And before the topic of bodybuilding is brought up, steroids are also used for other purposes, too.
To begin with, there are several different types of hormones present in the body, all of which are separated into three categories based on their structure. These categories include peptide hormones, lipid-derived hormones, and amino acid-derived hormones. However, for the purpose of this article, we’ll just be focusing on the first two, not the latter.
The main class of lipid-derived hormones is steroids, with examples of these hormones including estradiol and testosterone. Testosterone is likely the one you’re most familiar with, a steroid that many bodybuilders and gymgoers use to gain a competitive edge, effectively allowing them to grow muscle much faster while simultaneously recovering from each workout quicker, too.
Peptides, on the other hand, are messenger proteins which are used to send signals between glands, with these signals including the need to up the testosterone or other hormones in the body.
Peptides vs. steroids
The use of steroids and the injection of hormones such as testosterone can produce adverse effects in the body, for example, the shrinking of testicles and other fertility issues in both men and women. Conversely, as peptides are only focused on signals, e.g., increasing the natural production of testosterone, this does not have as adverse effects, therefore, is much safer and, of course, natural.
Peptides promote a longevity approach, whereas steroids are much more short-term and more un-safe, despite the widespread usage surrounding the popular hormone used mainly in bodybuilding and other power sports.
Peptides and steroids are both similar yet polar opposites. The main difference, however, is that steroids increase testosterone levels unnaturally in the body whereas peptides simply increase the signal allowing the body to create more of this hormone naturally.
So, peptides are the much safer option, even though many athletes and bodybuilders still use steroids instead. However, it should be mentioned that both steroids and peptides have different roles and purposes too; but this article used the example of testosterone and muscle building to simplify things down to the basics.