6 Best Oral Steroids (Used by Bodybuilders)
Disclaimer: The following article is for educational purposes only and NOT to promote the use of illegal steroids. If you have any questions or concerns, Dr. Touliatos is currently available for consultations.
Injectable steroids are well-known for their instant delivery of exogenous testosterone into the bloodstream, whilst preventing excessive strain to the liver.
However, not every bodybuilder is fond of needles and if AAS are incorrectly administered via intramuscular injection, it can result in paralysis or death.
Furthermore, there are oral steroids on the market that do not pose great risks in regards to hepatic (liver) damage, thus providing a more convenient method of entry.
- 1 1. Superdrol
- 2 2. Anadrol
- 3 3. Dianabol
- 4 4. Testosterone Undecanoate (Andriol)
- 5 5. Winstrol
- 6 6. Anavar
- 7 FAQs
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Below are the 7 best oral steroids used in bodybuilding today, for both bulking and cutting purposes. These are ranked approximately in relation to anabolic (muscle-building) power.
Superdrol (methasterone) is one of the most potent anabolic steroids in the world, causing tremendous increases in muscular strength and hypertrophy (size). This is a compound that truly lives up to its name.
It has been described as the oral equivalent of trenbolone, causing rapid changes in body composition and ‘dry’ muscle gains.
Superdrol does not aromatize into estrogen, making it a unique bulking oral steroid. Thus, almost all of the weight gained on superdrol will be kept post-cycle, as it doesn’t cause increases in extracellular water retention.
Superdrol is used by advanced steroid-users to take their physique to the next level, whilst keeping maximum muscle definition.
However, superdrol is one of the most toxic steroids, causing excessive strain to the liver and unrestrained elevations in blood pressure.
Superdrol has been likened to dropping a bomb on your liver and almost certainly causing some degree of hypertension. Thus, beginner steroid-users should strictly avoid using superdrol,
Seasoned steroid-users who take superdol for the first time are often shocked by its ability to add lean muscle tissue and cause monstrous improvements in strength.
The odds of injury occurring on superdrol are high in comparison to other anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), due to strength levels increasing drastically in a short space of time. Thus, bodybuilders should be cautious in regards to lifting as heavy as possible on superdrol, with some users reporting ruptured hernia’s, requiring emergency medical surgery.
Superdrol is rarely stacked with other steroids, due to its severe adverse effects. Thus, a superdrol-only cycle is often utilized by bodybuilders attempting to overcome plateaus.
Note: Stacking steroids together often leads to more pronounced side effects, due to higher levels of exogenous testosterone in the bloodstream.
Caution: Superdrol shut downs endogenous testosterone levels, causes liver toxicity and significantly increases the risk of arteriosclerosis.
Anadrol is estrogenic, unlike superdrol, thus causing significant amounts of weight gain in the form of lean muscle and water retention.
Users often gain up to 30lbs of weight on anadrol, with strength levels also soaring.
Anadrol, like superdrol, is very hepatotoxic; causing high AST (aspartate transaminase) and ALT (alanine transaminase) levels. These two enzymes are markers of liver stress, thus users may often take a liver support supplement such as TUDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid) to minimize hepatic damage.
Note: TUDCA supplementation is advised when taking any oral steroid that compromises optimal liver function.
Anadrol is surprisingly cycled by Men’s Physique athletes briefly before a competition to dramatically increase muscle fullness. They are able to keep extracellular fluid retention at bay, preserving maximum definition, by adopting a low sodium diet. The combination of high estrogen levels and sodium-rich diets are known to cause bloating.
Anadrol like superdrol, will have a deleterious effect on the heart, causing cardiac hypertrophy and notably higher blood pressure.
However, anadrol should not be taken with any other hepatotoxic compounds to prevent further liver damage.
Advanced steroid-users can take dosages as high as 100mg/day and extend their anadrol cycle to 8 weeks.
A SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator) is recommended when taking anadrol, to prevent any expansion of breast tissue (gynecomastia) in the chest region.
SERMs work by inhibiting estrogen’s effects directly on a receptor level, which is crucial as anadrol does not aromatize (converting testosterone into estrogen). This is precisely why AI’s (aromatase inhibitors) are ineffective in managing estrogen-related side effects on anadrol.
Dianabol (methandrostenolone) is the most commonly used oral anabolic steroid in the world today.
This is also true throughout history, with its use being rife among classic bodybuilders in the 70s, helping to add incredible amounts of mass in the off-season.
A certain “Austrian bodybuilder” was believed to have used dianabol, in combination with deca durabolin, enabling him to dwarf his opponents and dominate the Olympia stage.
Dianabol is similar to anadrol in terms of its effects, being a powerful muscle-building agent, that also displays hepatotoxic and estrogenic traits.
However, dianabol does not cause significant androgenic effects, due to the 5α-reductase enzyme being notably less; decreasing the conversion of testosterone into DHT.
Thus, dianabol causes less incidents of prostate enlargement, androgenic alopecia (hair loss) and acne vulgaris.
Dianabol can be cycled by itself, among intermediates, or stacked alongside other bulking steroids by advanced-users. Dianabol should never be taken with another hepatotoxic oral steroid (such as anadrol, superdrol or winstrol).
Dianabol does aromatize, thus to prevent the onset of gynecomastia, a SERM may be taken (such as tamoxifen).
A SERM may be a better choice than an AI (aromatase inhibitor) as the latter will worsen blood lipids; increasing the risk of hypertension.
Legal Dianabol Alternative
4. Testosterone Undecanoate (Andriol)
Testosterone is typically administered via intermuscular injection, however it is also available in oral form, known as testosterone undecanoate or andriol (testocaps).
Testosterone undecanoate is very unique compared to other oral steroids, due to it being suspended in an oil-based capsule. This esterification allows testosterone undecanoate to be absorbed through the lymphatic route, avoiding the liver and signifcantly reducing hepatotoxicity.
With oral testosterone, 20 grams of dietary fat should be consumed with each dose for maximum absorption. Its bioavailability is extremely low when taken on an empty stomach.
This is contrary to other oral steroids, that are c-17 alpha alkylated and need to be consumed on an empty stomach for full effects. This is due to most orals being fat-soluble and thus are susceptible to reduced absorption via the gastrointestinal tract.
Testosterone is one of the safest steroids on the market, with it being FDA approved today in the treatment of hypogonadism (low testosterone).
Due to its mild nature, a testosterone-only cycle is often utilized by beginners, promoting large increases in mass.
The reason why bodybuilders often inject testosterone is because of its significantly cheaper market price, available at a fraction of the cost of undecanoate.
However, if bodybuilders can afford it, undecanoate may produce equal results to injectable esters; being 20-30lbs in muscle mass.
Another benefit to oral testosterone vs injectable testosterone, is the rapid effects; with serum testosterone peaking in the blood stream just 5 hours after the first dose.
In comparison, cypionate and enanthate are the two most popular injectable options but are slow-acting; with both of their half lives being approximately 8 days.
Oral Testosterone Cycle
Large dosages (2,800mg of testosterone per week) are required for significant positive effects on mass and size, due to testosterone undecanoate’s low bioavailability.
Winstrol (stanozolol) is the second most widely used oral steroid (after dianabol); and is predominantly used as a cutting agent.
Winstrol is able to enhance fat burning, whilst simultaneously adding lean muscle tissue; due to its profound ability to decrease SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) levels.
Testosterone bound to SHBG becomes inactivated, thus the less SHBG, the higher free testosterone levels will be.
Free testosterone is the crucial testosterone score, that is utilized by the body for many physiological processes; including the facilitation of new skeletal muscle tissue and reduction of adipose tissue (fat stores).
Winstrol is considered a beach body steroid, with it rapidly lowering a user’s body fat percentage, whilst also possessing diuretic effects (due to a lack of aromatization).
This can result in a dry-looking physique, coupled with prominent vascularity. One downside to the water loss on winstrol is that users can experience less muscle fullness, due to decreased glycogen and intracellular fluid inside the muscle cells.
Rapid improvements in body composition, without significant weight gain, also makes winstrol a popular steroid among athletes.
The disadvantages with winstrol are the same as other toxic oral steroids, being hepatic strain and hypertension.
Winstrol’s diuretic effects can also increase joint inflammation, resulting in considerable discomfort or pain in some individuals.
The above dosages are commonly taken by intermediate steroid-users. Winstrol commonly produces virilization side effects in women, however they may be able to prevent such physiological changes by taking small dosages (5mg/day).
Anavar (oxandrolone) is a mild anabolic steroid, mainly used in cutting cycles.
Anavar, like winstrol, is one of the few oral steroids that can produce lean muscle gains, whilst simultaneously shredding fat.
One unique advantage of anavar is that it decreases visceral and subcutaneous fat levels. In contrast, other anabolic steroids typically lower subcutaneous fat but increase visceral fat; often leading to a bloated appearance (despite being lean).
Anavar’s ability to burn VF is due to its positive effect on insulin sensitivity and increasing T3 levels (triiodothyronine), a hormone crucial in regulation of adipose tissue and metabolism.
Anavar may not produce exceptional mass gains compared to other oral steroids, such as anadrol or dianabol.
However, its mild nature and high tolerance among men and women, make it a popular steroid from a safety perspective.
Despite anavar producing only moderate increases in lean mass, and acute weight gain; it is exceptional for boosting muscular strength. Consequently, athletes and powerlifters commonly cycle anavar, helping them to become stronger without having to go up a weight class.
The above dosages are tailored for male users; 5-10mg is recommended for females.
Women generally do not experience masculinization with anavar when taken in conservative dosages, making it the most popular steroid among females.
Where to Buy Oral Steroids?
All anabolic steroids are schedule III controlled substances and thus illegal in many countries (including the US and UK).
Although some are FDA approved (such as anavar and testosterone) they can only be legally obtained via a prescription from a doctor.
Thus, bodybuilders hoping to use oral steroids for cosmetic purposes buy them through the black market.
This involves finding a trustworthy dealer at a gym where there is an exchange of cash, or a website that takes online transactions.
As you can imagine there are many scams and under-dosing of products, making it difficult to find a reliable source.
Are Oral Steroids More Dangerous Than Injectable Steroids?
Oral steroids are not inherently more dangerous than injectable steroids, despite this common stigma in the bodybuilding community.
There is a common notion that oral steroids are bad because they damage the liver and injectable steroids are good because they bypass the liver.
Although it is true that oral steroids generally cause more liver stress, due to slower clearance; the safety of any steroid needs to be evaluated on an individual basis.
It is true that oral steroids generally have a worse effect on cholesterol levels, exacerbating cardiovascular strain; due to their stimulating effect on hepatic lipase in the liver.
Thus, as a general rule: injectable steroids are a more optimal method of administration for protecting the heart and liver.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, testosterone undecanoate, anavar and primobolan are just some oral steroids that pose little to no hepatic (liver) strain.
Also trenbolone is one of the most potent injectable steroids, that will cause a exceedingly worse side effects, in comparison to mild oral steroids, such as anavar, primobolan or testosterone undecanoate.
Furthermore, there are extremely few injectable steroids that women can take and safely avoid virilization side effects (with the possible exception of deca durabolin).
However, there are multiple oral steroids that women can use safely, without compromising their femininity (such as: anavar, primobolan, anadrol).
What is the Most Powerful Oral Steroid?
The most powerful oral steroids, in terms of building muscle, are: superdrol, anadrol and dianabol. However, the most powerful oral steroid for cutting is: winstrol.
What is the Best Oral Steroid for Beginners?
Anavar or testosterone undecanoate are the best oral steroids for beginners, due to their mild nature; causing few side effects.
However, these are very expensive steroids and often counterfeited, thus injectable testosterone is the preferred choice for many novices.