Winstrol vs Anavar: Which One is Better?

Dr George TouliatosDisclaimer: 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.


Winstrol (stanozolol) and anavar (oxandrolone) are two popular anabolic steroids, predominantly used by bodybuilders for cutting purposes; enabling them to burn fat and to gain lean muscle tissue.

Beginners can wonder how these two compounds differ, often asking: which one is better?

Below is everything you need to know regarding the pros and cons of these two compounds, how they compare and which you will prefer (based on your goals).

Similar Chemical Structure

The chemical structure of winstrol and anavar are similar, with both compounds being modified forms of dihydrotestosterone. They also possess a methyl group at the carbon 17-alpha position, helping to preserve biological availability upon administration.

A distinct difference structurally between the two is how they are effectively anabolic (causing significant muscle-building), whilst maintaining low androgenicity.

Winstrol’s impressive anabolism is due to a pyrazol attachment group to the A-ring, whereas anavar’s is due to a substitution in the A-ring — specifically carbon-2 being replaced by an oxygen atom.

In terms of administration: anavar comes as an oral (tablet) like winstrol. However, winstrol is sometimes used as an injectable.

Which is the More Powerful Steroid?

When it comes to the winstrol vs anavar debate, some bodybuilders prefer anavar and others winstrol (for various reasons that we will cover). However, when it comes to the benefits of each compound, most agree that winstrol is more potent.

Winstrol will build more lean muscle and burn more fat than anavar, simply because it is a more powerful compound. On paper anavar should produce greater changes in body composition, due to its anabolic rating being 630 vs 320 (for winstrol).

However, in real life terms, winstrol has the edge. The difference is not huge, however such results are mildly noticeable for most bodybuilders.

Fat Loss (Subcutaneous & Visceral)

Users taking winstrol or anavar aren’t just going to notice a reduction in subcutaneous fat, but also visceral fat (which is a unique characteristic among anabolic steroids).

Most anabolic steroids cause a reduction in subcutaneous fat (resulting in more visible six pack abs), but simultaneously increase visceral fat; producing a bloated looking midsection (often referred to as a ‘steroid gut’ in the bodybuilding community).

However, anavar and winstrol do not cause such a protruding effect, keeping the waistline as tiny as possible. This makes both compounds ideal for bodybuilders prioritizing aesthetics over mass.

The reason why anavar and winstrol do not increase visceral fat, can be attributed to their weak estrogenic effects (lack of aromatization).

This lack of conversion into estrogen can also cause a drying effect to the muscles, as high estrogen levels cause water retention and low levels produce a diuretic effect. Thus, winstrol and anavar, will maximize muscle definition and vascularity, unlike other anabolic steroids, due to less extracellular fluid volume.

Measuring fat loss via scales may not be wise, due to simultaneous muscle gain. Thus, although users may observe a notable reduction in body fat in the mirror, the scales can still go up instead of down on both of these steroids.

Muscle Gains

Anavar users typically gain 10lbs of lean muscle from a conservatively dosed first cycle.

However, winstrol users are likely to gain a few pounds more in comparison, being closer to 15lbs.

Winstrol and anavar’s muscle building power may not equal powerful bulking steroids, such as dianabol or anadrol, however their effects are still visually dramatic; particularly due to their synchronous muscle building and fat burning properties.

The lean muscle gains associated with anavar/winstrol is why competitive bodybuilders run them in cutting cycles close to a competition, as they know water and fat retention won’t be an issue.

They are also popular steroids among athletes, wanting to gain an advantage in regards to muscular strength/power and endurance; without their weight fluctuating dramatically.

Muscle Fullness/Pumps

This is possibly the only area where anavar beats winstrol, in regards to the benefits of each steroid.

One disadvantage with winstrol is that it can cause excessive intracellular water depletion, causing the muscles to appear flat.

However, fluid distribution with anavar is dissimilar, with extracellular fluid being flushed out and intracellular fluid increasing (shuttling inside the muscle cell).

This creates a ripped and full look on anavar, whereas on winstrol a ripped appearance is common; but with less of a pump to the muscles.

Full muscles can help you to appear bigger than you are in and out of the gym, whilst also encouraging further growth due to stretching of the muscle fascia.

Fuller muscles are also advantageous in competitions where size is rewarded. Muscle pumps on anavar can be extreme, particularly in the lower back, which some bodybuilders understand to be a painful sensation when performing deadlifts.

This can disrupt workouts, in which case bodybuilders often supplement with taurine (due to its diuretic attributes), to reduce muscle fullness and ATP levels in the muscle cell.

However, it is worth noting that the muscles won’t significantly deflate on winstrol, despite a reduction of water volume, due to it simultaneously adding muscle hypertrophy (size) during a cycle.

After someone comes off winstrol, their muscles may look slightly bigger due to normal levels of muscle fullness returning and an increase in overall water retention.

Side Effects: Which is the Safer Compound?

Although winstrol is more powerful in terms of results, anavar is the more suitable choice when it comes to harm reduction.

Generally with anabolic steroids: the better the results, the worse the side effects.

This is also true with winstrol and anavar; with winstrol having more devastating effects on cholesterol values, liver toxicity and testosterone suppression.

Anavar only has mild side effects, hence how it has been used successfully in medicine to treat men, women and children. However, with excessive dosages or prolonged cycles — anavar is still potentially harmful.

Anavar on the Liver

Anavar’s weak hepatoxicity in regards to the liver is unique, with it being an oral c-17 alpha alkylated steroid, which are notorious for causing jaundice, peliosis hepatis or liver failure.

Anavar’s mild toxicity is due to the liver only partly metabolizing the drug. Instead, it is believed the kidneys share the work load, evidenced by over 1/3 of oxandrolone still being present in urine (1).

Thus, ALT and AST markers, symbolizing potential liver stress/damage are not likely to rise excessively high on anavar. However, they should be checked regularly on winstrol (due to stronger hepatotoxicity).

Research has shown that anavar does not worsen liver values, at a dose of 20mg/day for 8 weeks (2). However, the same research concluded that high dosages of 40mg and 80mg/day will cause liver stress.

Liver support is often taken by bodybuilders during winstrol cycles, in the form of TUDCA, which is a bile acid that has shown to minimize stress to the organ (3). It is strongly advised not to stack winstrol with any other oral steroids, preventing further hepatic damage.

Winstrol on the Liver

In contrast to anavar, Less research has been conducted on winstrol in regards to the liver. However, we do know that very small dosages (12.5mg/day) have little effect on ALT/AST enzymes (4). Whereas high dosages of winstrol have the power to cause severe hepatotoxicty — even in healthy bodybuilders (5).

It is important to note that such adverse hepatic effects also occur with injectable winstrol.

Anavar on the Heart

In the previous reference cited (2), Anavar’s effects on LDL and HDL cholesterol levels are seen to be moderate; causing approximately a 30% reduction in HDL and a 30% rise in LDL, when taking 20mg/day for 12 weeks.

Thus, anavar will cause a notable increase in blood pressure whilst on-cycle, when taking a moderate dose.

According to this same study, the difference in cardiovascular strain on anavar when taking 20mg/day and 40mg/day is very slight, being only a 3% further deterioration in cholesterol for double the dose.

However, on a mega dose of 80mg/day, HDL cholesterol levels can drop by 50%.

Winstrol on the Heart

Winstrol’s effects on the heart are significantly worse than anavar, with research showing that a tiny dose of winstrol at 6mg/day for 6 weeks can cause a 33% drop in HDL cholesterol (6) — the equivalent of taking 20mg/day of anavar.

However, bodybuilders typically take 25mg/day of winstrol, thus we can conclude a moderate dose of winstrol will have a far more devastating effect, versus a moderate dose of anavar.

To combat the spike in blood pressure, bodybuilders on winstrol can increase the frequency of cardiovascular workouts or/and supplement with 4g/day of fish oil, which has shown to improve cholesterol ratios (7).

Also eating a diet high in unsaturated fat, whilst restricting saturated fat, may help to reduce cardiovascular strain on winstrol.

Anavar & Testosterone Suppression

In trials, anavar dosed at 20mg/day and 40mg/day has provoked a 45% decline in testosterone levels (in HIV patients). This is a relatively mild effect, compared to other AAS, that completely shut down the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis (HPTA).

It is also important to note that this daily dosage was administered for 12 weeks, which is excessive for an anavar cycle, which only typically lasts for 6-8 weeks (and even less for women, being 4-5 weeks).

Thus, when anavar is taken in a moderate dosage, in a reasonable cycle, the drop in testosterone is set to be mild. Therefore, some bodybuilders do not experience a severe ‘crash’, relating to decreased energy, motivation and libido; and can consequently recover their endogenous testosterone levels in a matter of weeks (without even utilizing a PCT).

Winstrol & Testosterone Suppression

Research has shown that just 10mg/day of winstrol, when taken for 14 days, can suppress endogenous testosterone levels by 55% (8).

Thus, a bodybuilding dose of 25mg/day of winstrol for 6 weeks is going to almost certainly shut down the HPTA axis, taking several weeks or months for testosterone levels to recover back to normal levels (depending on the person’s PCT protocol).

Winstrol and anavar will not cause gynecomastia as they do not aromatize or directly stimulate the estrogen receptors in the mammary glands. In terms of hair loss and oily skin, these are possible side effects on anavar and winstrol, albeit less severe compared to highly androgenic compounds such as testosterone or trenbolone

As winstrol is destructive to the heart and liver, such side effects can be exacerbated when stacking it with other AAS; thus making anavar a safer choice when running multiple compounds together.

Price Difference

Anavar is significantly higher priced than winstrol, due to it previously being monopolized by Bio-Technology General Corp, which led to a 1,200% increase in market price.

100 x 20mg tablets of anavar costs around $230 on the black market.

Whereas, 100 x 25mg tablets of winstrol can cost just $90.

There is risk when purchasing any anabolic steroid on the black market, however it could be argued that anavar is particularly risky, due to its high market price.

Consequently, a common scam is to dilute or substitute oxandrolone for methandrostenolone (dianabol), the most popular oral which can be manufactured at a fraction of the price.

Thus, bodybuilders should be wary of cheap anavar vendors, whilst also testing the products to see if the active substance is actually oxandrolone.

Suitability for Women

Many anabolic steroids cause virilization side effects in women, with winstrol too falling into this category.

Some female bodybuilders take winstrol for greater muscle definition, fat loss and muscle retention whilst cutting; however they also experience the following side effects:

  • Deeper voice
  • Breast reduction
  • Enlarged clitoris
  • Hair loss (on scalp)
  • Hair growth (on body)
  • Laryngeal prominence (Adams apple) growth

Thus, winstrol is not a suitable choice for women wanting to avoid masculinization.

However, anavar is a popular choice among women, hence it being nicknamed ‘the girl steroid’. That is not to say men don’t take it, as many do (including elite bodybuilders and powerlifters).

Anavar has a low risk for causing virilization in women, when taken in sensible cycles. 

10mg/day of anavar in cycles lasting 4-5 weeks is very unlikely to cause any issues in regards to masculinization.

A more common side effect when taking anavar is menstruation irregularities or amenorrhea (cessation of monthly period).

If a woman is intent on using winstrol, yet does not want to experience virilization, taking a very cautious dose of 5mg/day for up to 8 weeks, is likely to leave her unscathed.

Summary

Winstrol vs anavar: which one is better? The answer depends on your personal objectives.

If you only have $100 and you’re willing to risk your health to get in the best shape possible — winstrol may be more appealing (and the only affordable option).

Whereas if you’re concerned about liver values shooting up and want to make gains in the safest way possible — anavar is the superior steroid.

Equally, if you are preparing for a contest and you are prone to losing muscle fullness onstage, anavar may be the better choice, giving you a bigger pump/fuller muscles.