Even if you’ve used every other steroid besides Anadrol, it would be hard to prepare yourself for just how powerful Anadrol is and what it does.
Few steroids can pack on such great weight and strength in such a short period of time. But you don’t get results like this without an equally negative outcome on the other side. And that comes in the form of side effects. Yes, you’ve probably heard all about the nasty side effects of Anadrol (or if you’ve used it before, experienced them yourself).
But what I’ve found after years of research is that every single person who uses Anadrol has a different experience. That makes it hard to know what to expect, especially if it’s your first time. Perhaps more than any other steroid, it’s the individual user response of Anadrol that gives bodybuilder a love or hate relationship with it. Read on to find out everything you need to know about Anadrol, and more.
Author’s Note: The following guide is based on my personal experience and does NOT promote the use of illegal steroids (PEDs).
Anadrol History and Overview
Anadrol is one of the oldest anabolic steroids that’s still around today and one which has remained as popular as ever.
It was first used medically in the late 1950s. Today it is still prescribed in some countries to treat medical conditions like anemia and osteoporosis and for some muscle wasting conditions.
Until relatively recently Oxymetholone (the chemical name of Anadrol) was still being prescribed in the US to treat some patients for anemia only. However, this steroid is now listed as discontinued in the US.
Anadrol still has FDA approval despite its current discontinued status. Whether or not it is brought back into pharmaceutical use in the US is unknown at this point in time. In any case, even when Anadrol was still being prescribed in the United States it has never been an easily accessible or cheap steroid to obtain.
Anadrol is still being prescribed in a number of other countries. But with many other drugs and treatments for anemia and osteoporosis now available (most of which have less side effect risk than Anadrol), doctors need a specific reason to be prescribing Anadrol for that purpose. This makes Anadrol a difficult prescription medication to get a hold of for the average person in just about any country.
There are only a handful of anabolic steroids still with FDA approval and prescribed for medical use in the US, and Anadrol was one of them until recently alongside Testosterone, Deca-Durabolin and Anavar.
More and more the medical industry has tried to move away from anabolic steroid treatments where possible because of the harsh side effects that can occur. And when it comes to side effects, Anadrol is one of the more difficult steroids to use as any bodybuilder will tell you.
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Chemical Characteristics and Properties
Anadrol is a DHT (dihydrotestosterone) derived anabolic and androgenic steroid. This puts it into the category of several other very well known steroids which are also modified versions of DHT, including Masteron, Anavar and Winstrol.
The minor yet powerful modifications made to the DHT hormone enable Anadrol to have a strong effect on muscle tissue. This is what made Anadrol of interest to researchers looking for treatments for muscle wasting conditions. But for bodybuilders, it’s obvious that the potent muscle tissue effects of Anadrol makes it of great value.
Compared to Testosterone which has an anabolic rating of 100 and an androgenic rating of 100, Anadrol comes with a massive anabolic rating of 320 but a significantly lower androgenic rating of 45. The very potent anabolic strength as indicated by this rating tells us just how powerful Anadrol can be for muscle growth.
Being a steroid that’s based on DHT, Anadrol does not convert to estrogen through the process of aromatization. This can initially lead new users to assume this does away with ant estrogenic side effects. But as most people are well aware, Anadrol causes some notable water retention and often some gynecomastia as well. In fact, it can cause even more water retention than some steroids that do aromatize.
How and why does this happen if it’s not an aromatizing steroid?
It’s not fully understood, and some have presumed it’s due to progesterone activity but this theory isn’t supported by studies. The most likely explanation is Anadrol being able to directly activate estrogen receptors.
The estrogenic activity of Anadrol is actually quite high and can easily rival that of steroids that do aromatize. This means that unlike other DHT derived steroids that give you very dry, lean gains (like the aforementioned three primarily cutting steroids), Anadrol is quite the opposite.
This makes it quite unique among DHT steroids in that if you’ve used DHT-derived steroids previously and assume that Anadrol will be similar, you will find it to be a world of difference.
Although it’s not necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms in this estrogen activity, what Anadrol users should know is that aromatase inhibitor drugs (AIs) obviously won’t be effective in addressing these estrogenic side effects. Instead, SERMs should be used which act as anti-estrogens.
Anadrol is an oral steroid of the C17 Alpha Alkylated type. This gives it a short half life, although not as short as most other oral steroids with its half life being in the 8 to 9 hour range.
It also means Anadrol comes with liver hepatotoxicity which will be more pronounced at higher doses. Many people believe that the hepatotoxicity of Anadrol is overstated, especially at low doses, but this isn’t an area to be complacent about when using any 17-alpha alkylated steroid.
Effects of Anadrol (Anadrol Benefits)
The benefits of Anadrol need little introduction. It’s known purely as one of the best bulking steroids for a good reason and it does these things better than just about any other steroid.
Muscle mass and weight gain
Promoting big weight gains is Anadrol’s primary benefit. After all, this is one of the core reasons it was developed for medical use to assist those who are underdeveloped, malnourished, or suffering with muscle wasting conditions.
When it comes to bodybuilding, Anadrol’s ability to help you make big gains very quickly are legendary. Unfortunately much of the weight gain will be water, and you do lose a lot of weight following a cycle but with a careful strategy the muscle you maintain should still be substantial.
Anadrol is popular with powerlifters because they need maximum strength to lift the highest possible weight in a single lift. For the average gym rat you’ll see your weight lifting capability increase dramatically and quite quickly – within just a few weeks you’ll be adding 30-50lbs or even more to your previous maximum weight. Expect to maintain about half this strength once you come off Anadrol.
Anadrol can speed up your muscle recovery by promoting muscle repair, allowing you to get back in the gym sooner for another workout. Ultimately this leads to quicker, bigger Anadrol results and less chance of injury caused by overworking damaged muscles.
A bonus benefit of Anadrol is its potential to help lubricate the joints which will be coming under much more pressure as you start lifting heavier weights. It’s also a useful benefit when stacking Anadrol with a drying steroid like Winstrol which is known to cause joint pain.
Anadrol Cycles and Stacks
Regardless of how you use Anadrol and what you stack it with, you can expect your results to include dramatic gains in strength and mass, even at lower doses.
Stacking it with any other bulking or strength steroids will multiply these gains. Short Anadrol cycles are very effective and you can expect substantial gains running a cycle of just a matter of weeks.
Beginner Anadrol Cycle
Anadrol can be considered a more advanced steroid to start with, so if you’ve never used any other anabolic steroids previously you would be better off starting with a milder steroid such as a standard testosterone cycle, before moving up to a harsher compound like Anadrol.
But if you’re not a beginner to steroids in general, but are now wanting to use Anadrol for the first time then it can either be used on its own or in a basic stack with injectable testosterone. This is a powerful mass gaining and strength stack, with Anadrol kicking you off to a quick start, and testosterone contributing to more gains as the cycle progresses.
Many people will swear by only using Anadrol with a testosterone base, but using it alone is also a viable option at a dose of 50mg per day for your first cycle which can be split into two to three doses daily.
Intermediate Anadrol Cycle
Once you’ve gained confidence using Anadrol on its own or perhaps with a moderate dose of testosterone in a simple stack, you might be considering adding another steroid compound to really boost results to another level.
A basic testosterone and Anadrol stack is a bulking powerhouse and few of us will ever need any more than that combo. Anadrol at 50mg weekly for 4-6 weeks and Testosterone (choose your own preferred ester) at 500mg weekly for 12 weeks will deliver superb results.
Advanced Anadrol Cycle
Advanced users will be using Anadrol as a small but powerful part of a cycle that includes several other compounds. Anadrol, Trenbolone and Testosterone is a very advanced cycle with Trenbolone being an extremely powerful steroid only suitable for experienced users.
50mg daily of Anadrol for the first 6 weeks, alongside Testosterone at 500-600mg weekly and Trenbolone at 150mg weekly for 12 weeks will not only produce amazing strength and bulking gains, but it will be a harsh cycle when it comes to side effects.
Anadrol will often be stacked with testosterone, with the dose dependent on your goals. A 500mg weekly of testosterone will boost your gains considerably.
Trenbolone and Masteron can also stack well with Anadrol. If you want to bulk up fast with Anadrol then later eliminate water retention and achieve a defined, dry physique then drying steroids like Winstrol and Masteron can work very well for this purpose.
You will see some talk out there about stacking Anadrol with Dianabol. These are both oral c17-alpha-alkylated steroids that have negative effects on the liver. Advanced and adventurous users might stack these two orals, but it’s not a wise choice and not one I would ever recommend.
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Anadrol Dosages and Administration
Anadrol is a very potent steroid at low doses. You don’t need to jump into mega doses of this steroid when you’re starting, or indeed ever. Even then most experienced users will still often be using just 50mg and enjoying very satisfactory results. They’ve learned that higher doses just exacerbate side effects and that the trade off isn’t worth it.
Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Anadrol Dosages
If you’re brand new to Anadrol then utilizing a low dose in your first cycle is the best way to avoid the possible shock of side effects that can appear at higher doses. This gives you a more gentle introduction to Anadrol. But don’t be fooled: low doses are still very powerful and side effects aren’t unheard of.
Starting at 25mg daily can still deliver some nice gains in strength and size. Even a dose of 50mg can be suitable for beginners, with everyone responding differently. Few will ever need to extend the dose past that point because gains will be substantial, while avoiding the worst possible side effects in most cases. If you’re liver or cardiovascular sensitive or have existing issues in those areas, even a low dose could be high risk.
Intermediate and advanced users will use Anadrol at 100mg most commonly. Even some women can use 100mg daily and find side effects are manageable. Some users will find the water retention too extreme, or other side effects like headaches, mood changes or appetite changes are too difficult to manage at 100mg – it simply comes down to each individual.
The most advanced users are known to take 150mg of Anadrol daily. At that point you would need to have a good amount of experience using Anadrol at lower doses, and be familiar with how your body responds and how well you deal with fluid retention and other side effects. Few people would have a need to be using 150mg of Anadrol, so you’d want a specific reason to be doing so.
It’s important to note that being an advanced steroid user doesn’t always translate to using high doses. Advanced users of Anadrol are often very happy to use just 50-100mg and never going beyond that level.
Advanced users will generally be stacking Anadrol with several other steroids or other types of compounds, and knowing how to structure an effective cycle and how to put the different compounds together to compliment each other is what will define an advanced user.
It should not be assumed that a higher dose of Anadrol will equate to bigger gains and more benefits. This is a steroid that has been in use for decades, and it’s widely accepted that at doses above 100% you enter the realm of diminishing returns and a greater misbalance between benefits and side effects.
In other words, there’s not going to be a viable reason for the majority of bodybuilders to take any more than 100mg each day of Anadrol unless you have a very specific reason to do so.
Medical Anadrol Dosage
We can look at medically prescribed dosages of Anadrol to see just how powerful it is. When used for muscle wasting conditions, Anadrol is often prescribed at just 2.5mg per day. At that dose, this steroid still promotes weight gain very well. And issues like water retention should be almost non-existent, as well as significantly reduced stress to the liver and cardiovascular system.
Yes, those using Anadrol medically are not out to bulk up, but they do need to put on weight quickly and it’s testament to Anadrol’s superb mass gaining effects that such a minimal dose can be so effective.
When used for anemia (as a result of Anadrol’s ability to increase red blood cells) Anadrol is usually dosed on body weight, with 1mg to 2mg per kilogram being standard. At 1-2 mg/kg/day this can result in quite high doses that rival those that bodybuilders use and thus, side effects can be expected.
Proper Administration and Timing
The half life of Anadrol is about 8 hours. This means you need to take it at least twice per day to maintain peak blood levels. Some users will split the daily dose into three administrations. Others will strictly use it as a once daily pre-workout compound taken about 45 minutes before training. Because Anadrol is a fast acting oral, this strategy provides a massive benefit for your workout when it comes to strength.
Whether you choose to split your daily dose or not will also depend on how much you’re taking. At 100mg you’d almost certainly want to be splitting it into at least two administrations. At 25mg a once daily dose is the more practical option.
If you workout in the evenings, taking Anadrol once a day early in the morning won’t be the best strategy as you’ll be getting at or beyond its half life. Simply timing your Anadrol doses in line with your workout times is going to allow you to take advantage of its maximum effects. Some users won’t even take it everyday if they aren’t working out everyday. It comes down to what works best for your routine and your goals, rather than sticking to any rigid plan.
Anadrol vs. Dianabol
Anadrol and Dianabol have a lot in common. They’re both oral steroids. Both are very powerful bulking steroids. So if you have the option to take either of them, which one is better and why? Or will you get very similar results using either Anadrol or Dianabol? Let’s look at a comparison of the two:
Firstly, side effects are usually more pronounced with Anadrol. Not that Dianabol is side effect friendly by any means. But Anadrol is more likely to cause more stress to the liver and increase blood pressure.
Some will argue that this is simply because it’s more common for Anadrol to be used at higher doses than Dianabol. It’s certainly true that you can reduce the risk of severe side effects with either of these steroids by taking the lowest dose possible.
Both steroids will deliver size gains up to 30lbs in a cycle. When it comes to strength, Anadrol has the edge but Dianabol is no slouch in the strength department and either steroid will see you lifting up to 50lbs more than normal.
Both Anadrol and Dianabol can impact appetite. Anadrol often suppresses it, while Dianabol often increases the appetite.
Finally, out of the two Anadrol is considered better suited steroid for women to use. Dianabol is not recommended for use by females at all. Females can usually use Anadrol at low to moderate doses without virilization issues.
With Dianabol you can usually get away with less severe side effects than Anadrol. But size gains are often higher with Anadrol, but you’ll also be dealing with some potentially extreme water retention.
In the end they are both very powerful steroids that can deliver big gains, so whichever one you select is unlikely to disappoint. Just make sure it is one or the other: it’s definitely not recommended to stack these two oral steroids due to the extreme risk it would cause to the liver and cardiovascular system.
Anadrol Risks and Side Effects
Anadrol seems like the dream steroid, until you check out some of the side effects people deal with. Most people willing to use Anadrol do so because they feel the potential results outweigh the adverse effects.
Some users can get away with minimal adverse effects, but most of us will have some difficulty with using this steroid. This can be things you can see – like acne and bloating – and effects that are more serious like increased blood pressure and liver toxicity.
High blood pressure
Anadrol puts a lot of stress on the cardiovascular system and this can cause a rise in blood pressure because of the changes caused to cholesterol (Anadrol will increase your LDL levels, sometimes substantially and also reduce HDL levels).
Increased water retention can also raise your blood pressure so it’s critical to try and keep fluid retention under control and not just for aesthetic reasons.
A notorious side effect is the water weight you’ll gain with Anadrol. You can take steps to minimize or even prevent fluid retention by keeping sodium in your diet to a minimum. This means cutting out fast food, processed foods, and any food that has added salt in it.
Some Anadrol users find they can prevent water retention almost completely just by minimizing foods with sodium.
Not everyone will get headaches on Anadrol, but it can become a problem for anyone who’s unlucky enough to suffer with this side effect. Along with headaches can come nausea.
Some people just won’t respond well to Anadrol even at lower doses, and these side effects can be debilitating enough to lead some to stop using Anadrol.
Aggression and anger are often reported. This is another very individual dependent side effect with some people experiencing a drastic shift in moods and mental well-being. If you’re already prone to anger or anxiety issues, Anadrol can potentially make it worse.
On the flip side, some users find their mental health becomes more positive on Anadrol. This is a difficult side effect to predict as it affects everyone differently, and some people not at all.
Changes in appetite are noticed by a lot of Anadrol users. But it’s not always an increase in appetite (which is considered a good benefit when you’re bulking), with some users noticing an appetite decrease. This appetite suppression can cause havoc with your mass gaining plans, especially if it gets severe and you’re really struggling to eat enough calories everyday.
It’s thought this suppression happens because of stress to the liver. Lowering your Anadrol dosage should help with improving your appetite. Usually this side effect will happen when taking 100mg or more, but some individuals might have problems at 50mg – every person responds differently.
This is an expected side effect with Anadrol. The level of suppression will depend on your dose and other compounds being used. PCT should be planned for when using Anadrol to restore normal testosterone function and help retain your muscle gains and strength.
Anadrol can be very hard on the liver, but at lower doses its toxicity may be overstated according to some people. We should always assume that Anadrol is going to place considerable stress on the liver, and accordingly only use it for short cycles of preferably no longer than 6 weeks.
How to Buy Anadrol?
Anadrol has been used pharmaceutically in the US as a treatment for anemia, but it was a very expensive drug even when being bought for medical use. In other countries where it’s prescribed, without a legitimate prescription from your doctor it’s not legal to use or buy Anadrol for any other purpose.
Most bodybuilders will have difficulty finding pharmaceutical grade Anadrol to purchase. That means the only other option is to buy it from underground black market labs. These labs work unregulated (and not legally) so there’s no oversight of their manufacturing practices, hygiene and quality of the Anadrol and other steroids they’re producing.
This does make it a gamble when you’re trying to buy high quality Anadrol, and anyone who has been unlucky enough to purchase and use poor quality steroids will know that not only the results are disappointing, but the side effects can be even worse than you’d get with pure Anadrol. Sadly, the manufacture and sale of low purity Anadrol isn’t uncommon so you need to be very aware of who and where you’re buying from.
Real pharma grade Anadrol will usually be very expensive, if you can find it. That’s another reason why the vast majority will only be able to buy from black market sources. High pricing on the black market doesn’t indicate higher quality so you should base your purchase decisions on being as informed as possible through word of mouth with other more experienced users.
Whichever method you choose to buy Anadrol, it should always be remembered that purchasing and using it is illegal for bodybuilding and performance purposes. It’s a prohibited substance and banned by doping authorities. Anadrol can be detected in urine tests for three to four weeks after taking your last dose.
What Alternatives Are Available?
With such a long list of harsh side effects, it’s little wonder that many people decide not to use Anadrol. But how else can you get the supersized mass and strength gains?
There are certainly other steroids that are very good for bulking and strength, but none of them come without their own serious side effects. No matter which steroids you use, they will impact your health in one way or another.
Outside the world of steroids, research and development has come along in leaps and bounds in recent times and with more and more people leaning towards a more natural lifestyle, steroid alternatives have become an attractive option.
Anadrole is a direct alternative for Anadrol. Anadrole is not a steroid and contains no hormones, so it doesn’t cause any of the side effects that you get with Anadrol. It does deliver much of the same benefits, including big muscle gains, strength gains, and improved recovery.
An Anadrol alternative should be able to give you similar results, and you should be able to feel confident using it without the stress of liver and heart health risks.
Very few alternatives will be able to match the power of Anadrol. Anadrole is as close as I’ve found, and by eliminating all the side effects it simply makes sense to use Anadrole instead if you care about your short and long term health but still want awesome results.
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What is Anadrol used for in bodybuilding?
Anadrol is used to promote massive gains in mass, muscle and strength and to improve recovery. Anadrol can also provide support for the joints.
Many bodybuilders use Anadrol as a kick starting compound to get a bulking cycle off to a rapid start with fast strength and weight gains within weeks before a slower acting injectable steroid is then used for the remaining of the cycle.
Are Anadrol gains keepable?
A lot of your Anadrol gains will be water weight and with such fast gains being achievable with Anadrol, you will lose a lot of the weight just as quickly after stopping this steroid.
Most of this lost weight will be water, but keeping your muscle gains can be helped by quickly restoring testosterone function and avoiding a catabolic state when testosterone is low and muscle is lost. Up to half your gains could be water if fluid retention isn’t controlled with a low sodium diet.
Can Anadrol make you tired?
Anadrol can have different effects on different people. For many it will increase energy, but others will suffer with fatigue along with flu like symptoms.
This can be down to individual response, but it can also be caused by purchasing poor quality Anadrol from black market sources. Depression and mood changes caused by Anadrol in some users can also bring on a fatigued feeling.
Should I take Anadrol with food?
The medical advice is to take Anadrol with food if it causes stomach upset. For bodybuilding, it will depend on your dose schedule.
If taking it twice daily, your first morning dose might be on an empty stomach, but your second dose will be after you’ve eaten at some point.
Most Anadrol users prefer taking it with food to help with absorption and to reduce stomach discomfort.
Should you split your Anadrol dosage?
Anadrol has a short half life so it’s recommended that you break up your dosage and take it twice daily, especially if you’re taking 50-100mg.
Users taking low doses will often take it within an hour of a workout and find this gives the best results. Experimenting with different dosing schedules is the best way to determine what will work for you.
Can Anadrol be used for cutting?
Anadrol is not an ideal cutting steroid because of the amount of water retention it causes. This is the opposite of what you want in a cutting cycle where the goal is to usually achieve a very defined and vascular physique. Anadrol can be useful in between cutting cycles to put on mass, but would rarely if ever be used in a dedicated cutting cycle.
Why does Anadrol kill appetite?
Anadrol’s effects on appetite will be different for each person. Some users find it increases their appetite, while others find Anadrol does kill the appetite. Then there are some who find no changes to their appetite when using Anadrol.
You won’t know what Anadrol does to your appetite until you’ve tried it, and this effect can also vary depending on your dose.
Does Anadrol shut down testosterone?
Anadrol does cause testosterone suppression and you will need post cycle therapy after using this steroid.
Since most people will follow up Anadrol with injectable steroids, your PCT would then only be implemented when you cease all other suppressive compounds.
Without PCT, it will be difficult to maintain muscle gains made with Anadrol as low testosterone causes catabolic activity (loss of muscle mass).
Can you use Anadrol on its own?
Anadrol can be used on its own, but many will use it with a testosterone base. Whether you use it alone or with one or more other compounds, Anadrol will provide substantial gains. One of its best uses is at the start of a cycle to kickstart your strength gains quickly, followed up by slower acting injectable steroids.
Can Anadrol cause gyno?
Anadrol can cause gynecomastia to develop in some users. This isn’t because of estrogen conversion, but via other ways Anadrol stimulates estrogen receptors.
A SERM like Nolvadex might help controlling gyno, but aromatase inhibitors will not be effective with Anadrol. For most Anadrol users, the appearance of gyno is not as pronounced as the water retention this steroid notoriously causes.
My Conclusion and Recommendation
Anadrol has legendary status on the bodybuilding and powerlifting world for good reasons. Many stand by it as the strongest steroid in use today, and it’s been used for many decades for this reason.
Anadrol has never gone out of fashion, but as the bodybuilding community has grown and interest in natural and safer options has expanded, more people are looking for alternatives – including me.
Anadrol is a stressful compound to use. Much of the time is spent feeling awful, worrying about water retention, and planning how to keep some gains once you stop using it.