8 Anadrol Side Effects (and How to Combat Them)
Disclaimer: The following article is for educational purposes only and does not promote the use of illegal steroids. If you have any questions or concerns, Dr. Touliatos is currently available for consultation.
Anadrol (Oxymetholone) is one of the most potent anabolic steroids a bodybuilder can take to build significant amounts of muscle and strength. However, it is also one of the most toxic steroids, so caution must be exercised if users want to keep their health intact.
Below are the eight most common anadrol side effects we see in patients under our care and the methods we use to combat each of them.
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels will increase significantly on anadrol, increasing the risk of myocardial infarction (MI).
Anadrol is more cardiotoxic than other anabolic steroids due to its sheer potency, its water-retaining attributes, and the fact that it decreases hepatic lipase upon entering the bloodstream.
We have found it to be among the worst anabolic steroids for cardiovascular health, and thus we have several methods we use to combat excessive rises in blood pressure.
Our patients who adopt a ketogenic diet often experience a notable reduction in blood pressure due to lowered blood sugar levels.
We also see that users who perform cardiovascular activity (>20 minute workouts) 3–4 times per week experience greater vasodilation and more stable blood pressure scores.
Furthermore, taking 4 grams of fish oil a day has also helped to lower LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL (1), offering further protection to the heart.
2. Testosterone Suppression
With anadrol being a form of exogenous testosterone, it will cause a reduction in endogenous testosterone. Thus, it can cause low testosterone levels for several weeks or months following cycle cessation.
This can leave users feeling tired and fatigued while having low libido and overall well-being.
Implementing a post-cycle therapy protocol is an effective way to accelerate recovery of the HPTA (hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis).
We have found the following medications to be effective at raising endogenous testosterone levels:
Clomid or Nolvadex may be taken alone if users have taken anadrol in a standalone cycle. However, all three may be utilized together if anadrol has been stacked with other anabolic steroids (and the patient is clinically hypogonadal).
3. Liver Damage
Anadrol is hepatotoxic, being an c-17 alpha-alkylated steroid that passes through the liver upon entry into the bloodstream.
Consequently, we will see high ALT and AST levels during patients’ LFTs (liver function tests), indicating inflammation and damage to the organ.
Typically, we will see such enzymes drop back to a normal range post-cycle. However, hepatic peliosis and liver failure are possible in users with compromised livers.
We have found tudca (tauroursodeoxycholic acid), a naturally occurring bile acid, to be a very effective supplement for inhibiting excessive rises in ALT and AST levels. 500 mg/day, anecdotally, has been an effective dose for our patients.
Also, intermittent fasting and avoiding alcohol are further measures a user can take to protect their liver during an anadrol cycle.
Acne vulgaris is a side effect of anadrol that can occur in genetically sensitive individuals. This is due to anadrol’s strong androgenic properties, which increase sebum production, causing excessive oily skin and blocked pores.
This is rarely a troublesome side effect; however, if such acne becomes painful, users can be prescribed benzoil peroxide, isotretinoids, or retinoids. These medications all have inhibitory effects on bacteria and thus improve bouts of acne.
5. Hair Loss
Hair loss, like acne, is another androgenic side effect of anadrol. The thinning, loss, or recession of hair on the scalp is caused by significantly higher DHT (dihydrotestosterone) levels.
There are drugs such as finasteride that can block DHT levels; however, this is not optimal for bodybuilders as DHT is a potent anabolic hormone, and thus, by inhibiting it, you may experience less results from Anadrol.
Bee propolis is a natural supplement we have found to be useful in reducing hair loss in some of our patients as it induces hair keratinocyte proliferation (2).
However, genetics will typically play a major role in determining the severity of hair loss from any steroid cycle. Thus, anabolic steroids rarely cause someone to go bald who already has thick hair and a low hairline. AAS will merely accelerate the balding process.
Androgenetic alopecia can be avoided by taking less androgenic anabolic steroids, such as dianabol or deca durabolin.
Anadrol does not cause aromatization (the conversion of testosterone into estrogen). However, gynecomastia remains a possible side effect of anadrol due to direct stimulation of the ER (estrogen receptors).
Thus, an aromastase inhibitor such as Arimidex will not be effective for preventing gynecomastia on anadrol. However, a SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator) such as Nolvadex or Clomid will be effective, as it blocks estrogen at the receptor level.
Due to its estrogenic properties, water retention becomes an inevitable anadrol side effect.
This is due to higher estrogen levels increasing sodium retention (3).
Thus, if a user’s diet remains the same, they will almost certainly experience some bloating. However, if a person were to lower their sodium intake, it is possible that they could take anadrol and not retain any additional water.
This is why men’s physique competitors can cycle anadrol leading up to a competition and yet still appear full and dry onstage because their sodium intake remains low.
8. Prostate Enlargement
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or prostate enlargement, is another androgenic side effect of anadrol, which may result in difficulty urinating.
In our experience, saw palmetto has been useful in reducing prostate inflammation (4).
Does Anadrol Cause Side Effects in Women?
Anadrol produces the same side effects in women as it does in men, in terms of cardiotoxicity, liver inflammation, and testosterone suppression.
In terms of masculinization, research has shown that women tolerate anadrol very well, even in megadoses.
In one study, women were given 150 mg/day for 30 weeks, and none of them experienced virilizing side effects (5). We have also found that anadrol rarely causes virilization in female patients, and if this does occur, it is always the result of anadrol being stacked with other anabolic steroids.
Anadrol’s side effects should be considered highly toxic in modern-day bodybuilding doses. If an individual is thinking of taking anadrol but does not have excellent cardiac and hepatic health, they should rethink this decision.
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