Sunday 27 October 2013

Jodie Marsh, steroids and bodybuilding

The interview I did with Jodie Marsh – glamour model, turned reality TV star turned natural bodybuilder  – has finally turned up on TV. I am not sure how easy it is to find, but the TV channel is TLC. Here's the link to the program details: Apparently TLC repeat their shows all the time so if you can access this channel you still might be able to catch it.

I don’t know how the show has been edited, but the director spent most of the interview trying to persuade Jodie to get me to say how dangerous steroids were to health (clearly the “angle” they were taking as she doesn’t take steroids herself). I stuck to the scientific line – the sex side effects (e.g. cliteromegaly for women and gynaecomastia for men) are, at least in part, somewhat manageable by careful regimens and taking additional drugs (e.g. tamoxifen). But the long-term adverse effects are much less easy to control, and potentially far more serious. These include adverse cardiovascular effects and liver cancer [1-3], and for women the sexual side effects may not be readily reversible. The problem is that, perhaps for obvious reasons, it is difficult to get the information to present careful long term follow up studies at the high doses of anabolic steroids bodybuilders use. So we don’t have good data, though what we have certainly does not suggest a sound safety profile.

Actually, bizarre as it was to be discussing enlarged clitorises and man-boobs with Jodie Marsh, she was a charming intelligent woman and much more interested in getting at the scientific truth than her director. The only pain in the interview was that the cameraman thought it was a good idea to have us standing together for the whole one hour pre-record. Normally given the size difference (see attached photo), I would have expected to be perched on a table so we could take face-to-face. Instead I loomed over and cricked my back. Still all for the sake of entertainment!


1. Hardt, A., Stippel, D., Odenthal, M., Holscher, A. H., Dienes, H. P., and Drebber, U. (2012)Development of hepatocellular carcinoma associated with anabolic androgenic steroid abuse in a young bodybuilder: a case report, Case Reports in Pathology 2012, 195607.

2.  Socas, L., Zumbado, M., Perez-Luzardo, O., Ramos, A., Perez, C., Hernandez, J. R., and Boada, L. D. (2005) Hepatocellular adenomas associated with anabolic androgenic steroid abuse in bodybuilders: a report of two cases and a review of the literature, British Journal of Sports Medicine 39, e27.

3. Angell, P., Chester, N., Green, D., Somauroo, J., Whyte, G., and George, K. (2012) Anabolic steroids and cardiovascular risk, Sports Med. 42, 119-134.


  1. Hi blogger. Thanks for sharing interesting information. I have a question from you. Is it good to use body building supplements during early stages of training.?

  2. This is not really my area of expertise. You should seek seek expert advice, but personally I think you need nothing more than protein (and probably not even that if you can manage a high protein diet).