Anabolic Steroids Weaken Immune System

Anabolic steroids weaken the ability of the body's immune system to fight infections and cancer, according to researchers at Southern Cross University in Australia.

They found that the drugs reduced the immune system's effectiveness even at doses 50 times lower than the doses commonly used by athletes who abuse the drugs, BBC News Online reported.

"For the first time we've been able to show that androgenic anabolic steroids have a seriously detrimental effect on a specific part of the human body's immune system," lead researcher Dr. Robert Weatherby told the BBC.

"Anyone taking steroids over a long period of time is potentially seriously endangering their health in the long term," he said.

Some athletes use anabolic steroids in an attempt to improve performance.

The six-week study of 24 athletes also found that the anabolic steroids caused personality changes, including reduced empathy for other people.