In body building, people will often take Anabolic Steroids or PEDs to enhance their lifting experience. Often, these people aren't taking steroids to gain an unfair advantage in some competitive sport. Their sole intention is just better results and a better looking body. In cases like this, assuming the drug is legal, is it okay to use Anabolic Steroids for an enhanced physique and greater workout power?

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    Does this answer your question? What is the Catholic Church's position on the drug DMT?
    – Grasper
    Jul 10, 2022 at 23:00
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    @Grasper not even close! DMT is a hallucinogen used recreationally. Anabolic steroids are testosterone boosters that manipulate your growth hormones to improve your workout potential. Completely different kind of drugs.
    – Luke Hill
    Jul 11, 2022 at 3:32
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    These drugs are harmful to your body. According to the Catholic's teaching we are to take care of our body. Do you know any anabolic steroids that don't cause any health issues? So far I didn't find any.
    – Grasper
    Jul 11, 2022 at 20:48
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    @Grasper Advil and many other drugs are harmful to your liver. X-rays give you radiation. All modern medicine is tradeoffs.
    – Luke Hill
    Jul 11, 2022 at 21:54
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    @Grasper sigh. I’m well aware anabolic steroids have negative side effects. Every drug in modern medicine does. That’s my point.
    – Luke Hill
    Jul 12, 2022 at 14:25

1 Answer 1


According to a Catholic Answers Q&A article Is Taking Steroids a Mortal Sin?:

If the steroids are being taken for a legitimate therapeutic purpose, there is no sin. If they are being taken for an immoral or illegal purpose, such as to cheat at sports, then that would be grave matter and one of the conditions necessary for mortal sin (the others being full knowledge and deliberate consent).

Based on natural law principles, the moral determination also needs to take into account:

Every drug, even Tylenol, has potential side effects. The moral question is whether

  • the purpose if justified morally
  • the risk is offset by the potential gain
  • all available information pertinent to risk is sought for from truthful and competent sources (i.e. doctors, not unscrupulous gym body builder coach)
  • the drug itself is manufactured ethically (ex. not tainted with misuse of embryos)
  • the deliberation is rational, not succumbing to the reverse decision to NOT taking a necessary drug, examples:
    • avoiding vaccine thinking it is mostly harmful or not needed
    • avoiding life-saving cancer treatment, opting for alternative approach (as a result Steve Jobs died prematurely because he didn't heed medical advice)



  • it is not against competition rules
  • it is obtained legally (through prescription)
  • it is not medically necessary
  • it is not needed for one's job (such as professional bodybuilder)

if taking even the prescribed dosage can cause long term health issues for the individual, and if after discernment it is being taken for vanity, then it may be is a venial sin.

  • This is a good answer. I am curious how the Catholic Church would view steroids in the view of body building - where steroids are used to compete on greater physiques. Would this be considered “vain”? It doesn’t seem so, because then all sports are vain (due to being in the public limelight).
    – Luke Hill
    Sep 4, 2022 at 11:26
  • @LukeHill Good question, I'll have to improve the answer from the angle of sport, and secondly from body building (if it is found to be different from regular sport from moral standpoint). Sep 4, 2022 at 14:32
  • to clarify, steroids are allowed and widely used in bodybuilding. So it isn't at all cheating.
    – Luke Hill
    Sep 5, 2022 at 3:09
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    @LukeHill Yes, when I start reading about bodybuilding it seems that way; it's up to the board that oversees the competition. Also, their scoring mechanism borders on art form, different than a typical sport where strength / speed is measured, so steroid use is irrelevant here. It seems if one is into it professionally the consideration will be very different than casual body builder. I also notice a stark difference between bodybuilder and strength competition and weigh lifting. Are you specifically asking for bodybuilding? Sep 5, 2022 at 3:21
  • My general bent of the question was for body building, I probably should have Clarified that. I myself partake in bodybuilding, but don’t plan on doing steroids. I was just curious if the church would view steroid use as sinful if it was merely for a BB competition or if it was for personal gains.
    – Luke Hill
    Sep 5, 2022 at 15:23

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