Cholesterol: Steroid and Hormone Precursor

Food and drug ads have likely made you anxious about your cholesterol levels but the health of your blood vessels is only part of the story. Did you know that testosterone, progesterone  and performance enhancing steroids are all essentially different versions of cholesterol? You can try to avoid them in your diet all you want but you can’t eliminate them from your body without disastrous consequences.

So What are Anabolic Steroids?

Performance enhancing steroids are in the news this week because of the Olympics and the extent to which Russian athletes, in particular, have used them to cheat.

These steroids are all closely related to testosterone which is made naturally in your body from cholesterol. Both males and females make it but males typically produce 10 times as much.

The purpose of taking steroids is to increase muscle strength, endurance and recovery from injury. The ones recently favored by the Russians are listed in the infographic below.

Here are just some of the steroids that have been used to cheat. Infographic courtesy of Andy Brunning of
Here are just some of the steroids that have been used to cheat.
Infographic courtesy of Andy Brunning of

You can build molecular models of most of these compounds as well as testosterone and cholesterol with our 3D Model Builder but some, like methasterone, were never commercialized so are not in the chemical database we reference.

More Information

You and The Olympics

So, to answer the question, is cholesterol keeping you from being an Olympic athlete? Not likely. If you are unfit and have little athletic ability, that’s a much bigger hurdle.

Article Name
Cholesterol the Essential Steroid
Cholesterol is the chemical starting point for important hormones such as testosterone and progesterone and shares many of the same features as anabolic steroids.
Indigo Instruments

About Stephan Logan

VP Sales & Marketing at Indigo Instruments. Previously sold hi tech science instruments to researchers. B.Sc. & M.Sc. from McGill University.

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