Orals VS Injectable Steroids: Pros and Cons
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.
Every steroid user at some point has asked themselves the same question: “Do I use orals or injectable steroids?”.
We find many beginners are put off by injectable steroids due to a fear of needles, injecting incorrectly, or just being a pain in the bum (excuse the pun).
Are injectable steroids really safer for users?
Are orals really as bad as their reputation suggests?
In this article, we analyse the pros and cons of oral vs. injectable steroids, so you know what to expect and which method of administration is optimal for you.
- Primobolan (Methenolone Acetate)
- Testosterone Undecanoate
Oral Steroids Pros
Oral steroids (pills) are very convenient to take. Just swallow a tablet with water and you’re good to go. You also don’t have to worry about the liver breaking down the substance and making it ineffective, as the most popular orals are c17-alpha alkylated, meaning a large percentage of the compound will survive liver metabolism.
Oral steroids, on average, have shorter half-lives compared to injectables, so we see them kick in faster, giving you results in a matter of days. For example, with Testosterone Undecanoate, serum testosterone levels peak in the bloodstream 5 hours after administration. Consequently, orals require more frequent doses to maintain high levels of sustained exogenous testosterone in the body.
Shorter Detection Time
We have found oral steroids’ detection time to be less than injectables (on average), so if you are trying to avoid getting flagged for a drug test and want all compounds to leave your system as soon as possible, orals are more suitable.
Below is a table comparing the detection time of oral vs. injectable steroids.
|Oral Steroids||Detection Time||Injectable Steroids||Detection Time|
|Winstrol||3 weeks||Winstrol depot||9 weeks|
|Anavar||3 weeks||Testosterone Enanthate||3 months|
|Primobolan||5 weeks||Testosterone cypionate||3 months|
|Andriol||5 weeks||Sustanon 250||3-4 months|
|Dianabol||6 weeks||Trenbolone acetate||5 months|
|Anadrol||8 weeks||Deca durabolin||18 months|
There are, however, exceptions to this rule, with injectable steroids such as Testosterone suspension having a detection time of just 1-2 days.
Oral Steroids Cons
Bad for the Heart
In our testing, oral steroids generally are worse for the heart due to their lowering HDL cholesterol levels more than injectables. HDL is the good cholesterol score that, when high, can lower blood pressure, and when low, can spike BP.
Many orals stimulate hepatic lipase, an enzyme present in the liver that lowers HDL cholesterol.
Anadrol, Dianabol, and Winstrol are among the worst steroids for heart health in our experience, demonstrating detrimental effects on HDL and LDL cholesterol levels.
Thus, if your main concern is protecting your heart when taking steroids and keeping your blood pressure in check, injectable steroids (particularly Testosterone) are a better option.
However, this isn’t to say injectable steroids cannot spike blood pressure to high levels, because they surely can, especially if the compound is powerful enough (such as Trenbolone).
Orals are also hepatotoxic, meaning they will stress the liver, as indicated by ALT and AST liver enzymes shooting up (1). Some bodybuilders aren’t overly worried about this side effect, considering the liver often repairs itself post-cycle and has powerful self-healing properties.
As a precaution, our patients often take TUDCA for liver support when taking orals. Alcohol should also be avoided, and stacking hepatotoxic steroids together, such as Dianabol and Anadrol, is not recommended.
There are exceptions to this rule, however, with some orals not causing significant liver stress, such as Anavar or Testosterone Undecanoate (2).
We have found Anavar’s hepatic effects to be mild due to the kidneys working to process Oxandrolone, taking stress off the liver. Equally, Testosterone Undecanoate poses no risk, completely bypassing the liver and being absorbed by the lymphatic system.
We have seen the biological availability of orals be significantly less compared to injectable steroids if used incorrectly.
For example, oral steroids are not to be consumed with dietary fat because many tablets are fat-soluble. Thus, most oral steroids should be taken without food for maximum results.
The only exception to this is Testosterone Undecanoate (otherwise known as Testocaps or Andriol), which should be taken with a high-fat meal (19+ grams).
Injectable steroids are administered deep into the muscle, known as intramuscular injections. These are typically performed in the buttocks or the outer thigh.
Less Liver Toxic
It’s a myth that injectable steroids do not stress the liver. Injectables do pose some toxicity, and we have even seen them result in liver failure in rare cases of steroid abuse (3).
Although injectables enter the bloodstream immediately, we see them pass through the liver upon exit. However, the strain is far less compared to orals and thus isn’t considered an issue.
Therefore, our patients may not utilize a liver support supplement (such as TUDCA or milk thistle) when cycling injectables.
Better for the Heart
All anabolic steroids will increase blood pressure as they are all variants of exogenous testosterone; thus, LDL levels will rise and HDL levels will drop (4).
However, we find injectable steroids to be less damaging to the heart because they don’t stimulate hepatic lipase, an enzyme (previously mentioned) that significantly decreases good cholesterol. Consequently, we see injectable steroids causing less plaque buildup in the arteries.
Incorrect Injections Could Prove Fatal
If a user injects into the wrong location, septic shock or nerve damage are possible outcomes. These are very serious mistakes, potentially resulting in disability or death. Thus, it’s important that users know how to inject properly if they are to take oil-based steroids.
Common intramuscular injection sites:
- Outer thigh
Below is a diagram and demonstration of Dr. Nabil Ebraheim performing a correct intramuscular injection into the buttocks.
Below is an example of a correct intramuscular injection into the outer thigh.
Risk of HIV
One of the most prevalent causes of people contracting HIV is through sharing needles.
When a person injects themselves, some of their blood will remain in the syringe (and needle). Thus, such precautions are needed with this method of administration, compared to simply popping a pill.
Certain steroids can be painful to inject, such as Testosterone propionate, while other steroids are administered more smoothly. Muscle soreness is also common, which can be experienced deep within the muscle and can last for hours or days.
A violent dry cough is common when injecting steroids, particularly when administering Trenbolone, a sensation known as ‘Tren cough’. This reaction occurs when the oil hits a blood vessel, immediately resulting in several seconds of intense coughing. This is a common reaction when injecting, occurring roughly 20% of the time in our experience. This is not a dangerous side effect, despite being a scary experience for beginners.
When the oil hits a vessel, foreign metabolites enter the lungs; thus, the body coughs as a self-defense mechanism to expel such substances. This results in a metallic taste in the mouth.
The reason why this is more commonly experienced when injecting Trenbolone is because it’s an irritant to the lungs, similar to how cayenne pepper is an irritant to the skin.
Do Injectable Steroids Produce Better Gains?
In theory, injectable steroids may produce better gains as they don’t need to bypass the liver; thus, their biological availability is higher than orals.
However, in practice, we see a different outcome, with orals being just as powerful (if not more so in some examples).
Research has shown that, despite orals having less biological availability, they can alter how the compound is utilized by the body. For example, orals have the power to alter tissue selectivity and hepatic IGF-1 release, which completely change the compound’s chemistry, and consequently, users’ results can be more or less.
Also, anabolic, androgen, progesterone, and estrogen scores can also change depending on the method of administration, as well as the half-lives and detection times (as already discussed).
What is the Safest Oral Steroid?
We have found Anavar, Primobolan (Methenolone Acetate), and Testosterone Undecanoate to be reasonably safe oral steroids.
However, these three compounds also have something in common: they’re expensive.
Testosterone undecanoate is the safest oral steroid when bulking and trying to pack on mass.
Anavar and Primobolan are the safest oral steroids when cutting and trying to reduce your body fat percentage while gaining some lean muscle.
Blood pressure will not rise excessively when taking any of these steroids; testosterone suppression will be mild (except in the case of Testosterone Undecanoate); and liver damage is unlikely with all three.
Can You Stack Orals With Injectables?
Yes, of course. Some of the most popular cycles are a combination of orals and injectables, such as:
- Dianabol/Deca Durabolin
However, some bodybuilders who are comfortable injecting (having done so for years) may naturally steer away from using orals due to the potential liver toxicity.
Despite this preference, orals should not be considered dangerous when used in the short term.
We see orals typically becoming a problem when used in excessively high doses or when users do not allocate enough time off in-between cycles. As a rule of thumb, the duration you spend on-cycle should be matched by the time you spend off steroids. And for optimal health, the latter should exceed the former.
Orals vs Injectable Steroids
Injectable steroids aren’t ‘better’ than orals, and the same applies vice versa.
Each compound must be assessed individually in terms of results and side effects to see if it’s worth taking.
For example, someone wanting to avoid liver problems could take Testosterone (injectable) or Andriol (oral) with no issues.
However, we do see injectable steroids being healthier for the heart and liver (on average). Despite this, Trenbolone is possibly one of the harshest steroids you can take and is injectable.
Equally, if your objective is to take steroids to improve athletic performance and you have a drug test coming up, it would be wise to use orals, as they have a shorter detection time.
Which steroids you opt for, whether oral or injectable, will depend on your personal goals.
Thus, do your research, and if you’re going to take orals, make sure your liver and heart are in good condition prior to a cycle. Also, take TUDCA and fish oil for maximum protection.
We have found it is generally not a good idea to stack orals together, as this will place additional strain on the liver.
Unless you have a sugar daddy who can pay top dollar for regular Anavar/Test Undecanoate cycles.
Safe Oral Steroids
If you’re interested in taking oral steroids but want to minimize damage to your heart and liver (and can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars running Anavar or Testosterone Undecanoate), Crazy Bulk’s legal steroids may be for you.
Crazy Bulk produces compounds that mimic anabolic steroids. For example, their D-Bal product mimics the muscle-building effects of Dianabol in the body.
Here is a list of their full product range:
- Anvarol (Anavar)
- Winsol (Winstrol)
- Anadrole (Anadrol)
- Trenorol (Trenbolone)
- Decaduro (Deca Durabolin)
- Testo-max (Sustanon 250)
- D-Bal (Dianabol)
- Clenbutrol (Clenbuterol)
- HGH x2 (HGH)
All of Crazy Bulk’s products are FDA-approved, so you can safely buy them online without a doctor’s prescription.
They do not pose any side effects, unlike anabolic steroids sold on the black market. Thus, you can take their orals without compromising your heart or liver. There’s also no risk of gynecomastia, acne, hair loss, water retention, prostate issues, or testosterone suppression (all side effects associated with traditional anabolic steroids).
Their formulas are also affordable, with each legal steroid costing roughly $50–$60. Further savings can also be made when buying in bulk, with every third item free.
Crazy Bulk has finally provided a solution for the toxicity of orals, where bodybuilders can make the gains they desire safely without having to regularly inject themselves.
Note: We find supplements typically taken to treat the side effects of anabolic steroids (such as fish oil, milk thistle, TUDCA, Nolvadex, etc.) are not needed when taking Crazy Bulk’s products. A PCT is also not necessary, as we have found endogenous testosterone levels to stay within normal levels.