Tip: Careful, 'Roids Make You Forget Stuff

We know what performance-enhancing drugs can do for your muscles, but what about your mind? A new study has some answers.

Big Muscles, Bad Memory?

A recent study says that long-term steroid use negatively affects the ability to remember to do things, the ability to plan, and the ability to pay attention.

In the study, researchers found about 100 men, ages 18 to 30, who regularly lifted weights. Half of them were anabolic-androgenic steroid users and half were all natty, bro. The steroid users averaged about a two and a half years of continuous use, using about twice per week.

Both groups took a couple of reliable online surveys about memory and cognitive function. The focus of this study was to test the "everyday remembering" effects of steroid use. That just means they tested the effects on real-world, everyday tasks.

Compared to non-users, steroid users:

  1. Were 39% more forgetful when it comes to prospective memory. That's the process of remembering to do something you had planned to do, like meeting someone at a certain time or paying a bill.
  2. Were 28% more forgetful when it comes to retrospective memory – recalling past memories or previous facts.
  3. Demonstrated a 32% difference in their mental executive function compared to non-users. "Executive functioning" describes all mental processes that help you to pay attention, plan and execute tasks, and coordinate info. When that function is hampered, it basically means your ability to plan is screwed up and you may get confused.

"Our findings suggest that long-term use of anabolic-androgenic steroids has a significant impact on an individual's everyday memory and ability to remember. This could affect many spheres of life, including interpersonal, occupational, educational and health-related aspects, given the ubiquitous nature of everyday remembering," noted researcher Dr. Tom Heffernan.

So, now you know. Just don't forget.

  1. Northumbria University. Gym steroid use has impact on memory. ScienceDaily. 7 July 2015.
Chris Shugart is T Nation's Chief Content Officer and the creator of the Velocity Diet. As part of his investigative journalism for T Nation, Chris was featured on HBO’s "Real Sports with Bryant Gumble." Follow on Instagram