The use of anabolic steroids makes Candida fungi even more aggressive
Users of anabolic steroids suffer more often than non-users from the extremely annoying fungus Candida albicans. Thanks to an in vitro study that Brazilian researchers from the Pontifical Catholic University of Parana published in Steroids, we now understand why. Anabolic steroids make Candida albicans more aggressive.
Candida on steroids
There is an association between the use of anabolic steroids and inflamed gums - or, as dentists prefer to call it, periodontitis. Periodontitis can be the result of a chronic infection with fungi such as Candida albicans in the mouth.
In a recent study, Argentine researchers found Candida tropicalis, Candida spp. and Candida parapsilosis 4.3, 5.6 and 14.8 times more often in the gums of steroids users than in the gums of non-users. [Clin Oral Investig. 2014 Jul;18(6):1579-86.]
Fungi like Candida albicans have receptors for sterols. One theory is that anabolic steroids alter Candida fungi by interacting with these these receptors.
The researchers experimented with 3 strains of Candida albicans - with the strains ATCC90028, SC5314 and 15A2. The Brazilians determined the growth of the fungi on the basis of their biomass, and their ability to degrade proteins in their environment - their proteolytic capacity. Because of this proteolytic capacity, Candida albicans can cause so much health problems. The fungi destroy the tissues on which they grow.
The researchers studied their fungi in an environment without hormones [Ctrl], in an environment with as much testosterone as in a normal human being, and with 10 and 100 times that concentration. Such concentrations may be present in the body of steroids users.
The Brazilians did the same with nandrolone and a few other anabolic steroids.
The higher the concentration of testosterone or nandrolone in the test tubes of the researchers, the greater the proteolytic capacity of the Candida fungi. The figures below refer to all the strains studied.
The results of those experiments hardly differed from the results of the other experiments.
"Anabolic steroids concomitantly increased biomass and proteolytic activity with dose-dependent characteristics," the researchers write.
"The combination of these two factors may be considered upsetting or even a harmful side effect on users and it increases the possibility of local destruction and the persistence of the fungus in infected tissues."
Steroids. 2019 Sep 20:108501. doi: 10.1016/j.steroids.2019.108501. [Epub ahead of print].
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