Do Steroids Make You Lose Weight? Or Is It Just a Myth? Check It Out!

Steroids (also called corticosteroids) are anti-inflammatory chemicals that regulate essential functions in the body. They are a synthetic version of cortisol hormones that help aid inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, cancer, etc.

This class of organic compounds, steroids, plays a vital role in treating conditions like eczema, hives, sciatica, and tennis elbow. 

Although, steroids are highly effective in anti-inflammation, they also have some agitating and worth-worrying side effects regarding weight concerns. One of them is weight gain, but do steroids make you lose weight? This query has gained immense stardom due to the increasing use of steroids.

Generally, steroids cause weight gain. They alter the body’s internal environment (electrolyte imbalance and water retention).

While they cause weight gain, they also aid in treating obesity. Steroids are great for losing weight when running a cutting cycle, but they won’t do much good without the proper diet and exercise! 

But do steroids make you lose weight fast?

Let’s dive into the debate; do steroids make you lose weight or gain weight?

Prednisone is a corticosteroid drug (an oral steroid) for treating conditions like muscular dystrophy, asthma, etc. Since it is a steroid, its daily dose can lead to adverse side effects of weight gain.

How Do Steroids Work? How Do They Make You Gain Weight?

Steroids work by altering the body’s mechanisms. In general terms, steroids function in weight gain. They increase your appetite and thirst, but why do steroids make you hungry and thirsty?

 Steroids change the body’s mechanism of absorbing lipids, proteins, carbs, and glucose, among other things. It results in weight gain by increasing appetite and modifying the body’s fat storage locations.

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Steroids also cause water retention, so do steroids make you gain water weight? The answer is an absolute yes! They cause a salt imbalance that leads to sodium imbalance, causing water retention. In this way, steroids make you gain weight!

All the above factors lead to weight gain, which can sometimes be frustrating. Don’t worry, as you’re not alone. Do steroids make you lose weight? Or this weight loss trait is just a myth? Generally, it’s a myth, but rarely under certain conditions, it could be a truth.

Let’s get into the details of how to not gain weight on steroids?

How Long Does Steroid Weight Gain Last?

Usually, weight gain due to steroids depends directly upon the quantity of dose and the time since you’re on it. The longer you’re on it, the higher the chance of getting encountered by weight gain. However, low doses won’t bring you much trouble!

Behold, as we have some encouraging news for you!  Steroid weight gain doesn’t continue after the dosage has been stopped. The weight usually comes off within six months to a year after the body has readjusted.

However, sometimes low-dosage steroids taken in the long term can also result in weight gain. Some obesity-related case studies revealed that prednisone (low dose over two years) resulted in a 4-8% weight gain.

Some well-prescribed steroids apart from prednisone include:

  • prednisolone
  • cortisone
  • hydrocortisone
  • budesonide
  • methylprednisolone
  • fluticasone
  • beclomethasone

Since prednisone is a prescription steroid, it is a frequently asked question: Do prescription steroids make you lose weight?

Let’s see how prednisone helps in weight loss.

Prednisone and Weight Loss: Do Steroids Make You Lose Weight?

Prednisone is a corticosteroid drug (an oral steroid) for treating conditions like muscular dystrophy, asthma, etc. Since it is a steroid, its daily dose can lead to adverse side effects of weight gain. Yet, according to recent research, its weekly doses also aid muscular dystrophy effectively, without the risks of obesity.

Experiments were done on mice having a high-fat diet. The following studies came out:

Although these observations were on mice, they still reveal that prednisone could lead to weight gain and loss depending on the frequency of intake, even in the human body. Here’s the answer to its effects in different doses!

Will 20mg of Prednisone Cause Weight Gain?

Know that weight gain is a customary side effect of prednisone: the higher dose, the more chance of getting fatter. According to intake, 20mg of prednisone is likely to cause weight gain. More prolonged treatment leads to more significant changes.

prednisone-20mg

Why Am I Losing Weight on Prednisone?

Sometimes on a prescribed dose of prednisone, you must wonder why am I losing weight on Prednisone? Or do oral steroids make you lose weight?

Researchers have found that a weekly prednisone dose had the opposite effect, upgrading muscle strength and promoting weight loss. It is because a weekly dose of prednisone boosts energy expenditure, thus aiding obesity.

Can You Lose Weight on 5mg of Prednisone?

Low doses of prednisone can also lead to weight gain if taken in the long term. However, they may not cause as much trouble as high doses.

Nonetheless, a lean protein diet is an excellent way to help regulate your appetite during treatment with prednisone compared to a high-carb diet. It is a perfect way to manage your weight while on prednisone.

prednisone-5mg

So till now, you must have gotten your answer: Do steroids make you lose weight? Although it’s a bit contradictory, the conditions are still in front of you. It’s up to you now how to use it!

Can Steroids Affect Weight Loss?

Steroids can affect weight loss in both ways;

  • By enhancing it
  • By resulting in its opposite effect

Remember that you can only transform your body with the help of proper diet plans and exercises while on low doses of steroids, but do steroids prevent weight loss? The answer is quite evident since steroids affect the body’s metabolism, increase fat deposits, and lead to weight gain. Only proper training and the right diet choice can aid this weight gain.

In some situations, steroids enhance weight loss. It might be due to fluid excretion or loss of appetite, which is against the actual action of steroids. So do steroids make you lose water weight?

Please don’t get fooled by it, as steroids can never cause loss of water weight but only gain. Only proper exercise and diet can help in weight loss with steroids.

Anabolic Steroids: What Are They?

Anabolic steroids are strictly prescription-only medicines. If taken without medical advice, they are considered illegal, as their addiction can cause many undesirable and harmful side effects.

They are different from corticosteroids and are used mainly by athletes as performance-enhancing drugs since they help build muscle mass and decrease calories and fat.

anabolic-steroid

However, long-term use of anabolic steroids can cause many adverse effects.

In men:

  • reduced sperm count
  • infertility
  • shrunk testicles
  • erectile dysfunction
  • hair loss
  • breast development like women
  • increased risk of prostate cancer
  • severe acne and stomach pain

In women:

  • facial and body hair growth
  • loss of breasts
  • swelling of clitoris
  • a deepened voice (low pitch)
  • an increased sexual urge
  • menstrual problems
  • hair loss
  • severe acne and improper cramps

Do Anabolic Steroids Make You Lose Weight?

Still, despite many side effects, people use anabolic steroids to overcome their insecurities. One of the most frequently asked questions is, do anabolic steroids make you lose weight?

The answer is a yes!

But how do steroids make you lose fat?

While proper dieting, you can lose weight through anabolic steroids as they shed extra calories from the body by reducing body fat.

Anabolic steroids directly act against fat deposition in the body. But remember, any technique that goes out of the box in one’s natural system always has adverse circumstances!

FAQs:

Do steroids make you gain weight or lose weight?

Steroids alter the body’s actual mechanism by disturbing the electrolytes and nutrient absorption sites. It could lead to increased appetite, and electrolyte imbalance causes fluid retention. So generally, steroids make you gain weight!

Somehow, under different conditions, it can also help you lose weight, but that is very rare.

Can you still lose weight while taking prednisone?

Prednisone is an oral prescription steroid that aids in inflammatory conditions like arthritis, asthma, etc. Since it is a steroid, prednisone causes weight gain.

However, a lean protein diet instead of a high-carb diet can help patients overcome obesity and lose weight while still on prednisone. Weekly doses with a good exercise program are preferred over daily doses if you want to lose weight!

Final Verdict:

Obese people usually hate their bodies. For the lust for perfection, they start looking for artificial means to lose those extra pounds. Trusting steroids for this purpose is one of them.

Steroids generally cause weight gain. However, they might be used in low doses for weight loss when taken with regular exercise and a proper diet for a cutting cycle. Don’t forget to consult your doctor before taking any prescribed steroid, as it could also adversely affect your health.So the answer to your query, “Do steroids make you lose weight?” is a bit conflicting. Generally, it’s a no, but occasionally it’s a yes!

Minahil Laraib Asif

Minahil Laraib Asif

Hi, This is Minahil Laraib Asif, an MBBS student from Karachi Medical and Dental College (KMDC) in Pakistan. Studying medicine is my passion, and the desire to live my life in service to humanity has led me to pursue my career in medicine. As a medical student, it's essential to know how to balance projects and work while maintaining a healthy social life. Investigating and exploring newer disclosures has always been a source of gratification for me. For this reason, I have developed my career in writing articles as well, since it brings me great delight while researching various projects, and presenting such information to people, that they may otherwise never come across.

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