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 (1).
Furthermore, there are oral steroids that do not pose great risks in regard 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
- 8 Co Authors :
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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.
Our patients have described Superdrol 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.
We often see Superdrol being utilized 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 (2) and unrestrained elevations in blood pressure.
Superdrol has been likened in the bodybuilding community to dropping a bomb on your liver. This is also what we find in our testing, combined with high levels of cardiotoxicity. 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 typically increasing drastically in a short space of time. Thus, bodybuilders should be cautious in regards to lifting as heavy as possible on Superdrol, with a few of our patients experiencing ruptured hernias — 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 shuts down endogenous testosterone levels, causes liver toxicity and significantly increases the risk of arteriosclerosis.
Anadrol (Oxymetholone) is a powerful DHT-derived compound and arguably the best steroid for sheer mass gain.
Anadrol is estrogenic, unlike Superdrol, thus causing significant amounts of weight gain in the form of lean muscle and water retention.
We typically see users gain up to 30 lbs 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 in our liver function tests (3). Our patients have successfully decreased hepatic damage by supplementing with TUDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid).
Note: TUDCA supplementation is advised when taking any hepatotoxic oral steroid.
Anadrol is surprisingly cycled by Men’s Physique athletes briefly before a competition to dramatically increase muscle fullness. We find 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 is what actually causes bloating.
Anadrol like Superdrol, will have a deleterious effect on the heart, causing cardiac hypertrophy and notably higher blood pressure.
Anadrol can be cycled by itself, or stacked with other bulking steroids for maximum mass/strength gain, such as Trenbolone, Testosterone or Deca Durabolin.
However, Anadrol should not be taken with any other hepatotoxic compounds to prevent further liver damage.
We have treated advanced steroid users taking dosages as high as 100mg/day and running Anadrol cycles up to 8 weeks.
We have found SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators) to be effective when taking Anadrol, as they prevent the 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 AIs (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 in our experience, being a powerful muscle-building agent, that also displays hepatotoxic and estrogenic traits.
We find that 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 fewer 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).
We have found that a SERM may be a better choice than an AI (aromatase inhibitor) as the latter can worsen blood lipids; increasing the risk of hypertension.
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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 significantly reducing hepatotoxicity (4).
With oral Testosterone, 20 grams of dietary fat should be consumed with each dose for maximum absorption. We have found its bioavailability to be extremely low when taken on an empty stomach.
This is contrary to other oral steroids, which 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 in our testing, and it remains FDA-approved today for the treatment of hypogonadism.
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. We see serum testosterone levels peaking in the bloodstream just 5 hours after the first dose (of oral testosterone).
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
We have found that large dosages (2,800mg per week) of Testosterone Undecanoate are required for notable gains in mass and size, due to its 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.
We have found testosterone to be the crucial testosterone score, with it utilized by the body for many physiological processes; including the facilitation of new skeletal muscle tissue and the 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 in our experience is less muscle fullness, due to decreased glycogen and intracellular fluid inside the muscle cells.
Rapid improvements in body composition, without significant weight gain, also make Winstrol a popular steroid among athletes in our experience.
The disadvantages with Winstrol are the same as other toxic oral steroids, being hepatic strain and hypertension.
We have found that 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. We see Winstrol commonly produces virilization side effects in women. However, we have also seen female patients prevent such physiological changes by utilizing very 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 stripping 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 the regulation of adipose tissue and metabolism.
We do not see Anavar producing 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, powerlifters and fighters under our care have commonly cycled Anavar, enabling 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.
We find that 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, based on our tests, exacerbating cardiovascular strain. This occurs 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, we have found Testosterone Undecanoate, Anavar and Primobolan to be 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 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 in our experience. The only possible exception to this is Deca Durabolin).
However, there are multiple oral steroids that women can use safely, without compromising their femininity (such as Anavar, Primobolan and Anadrol).
What is the Most Powerful Oral Steroid?
The most powerful oral steroids we have seen, 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 of our patients.