Dianabol (Dbol)

By: Juice

Last updated:

SteroidCycle.org is intended for informational purposes only and does not take the place of professional medical advice.

Dianabol is the most well known name in the world of anabolic steroids. It’s ability to promote fast and huge muscle growth and strength is legendary and it has been a staple steroid in bodybuilding for decades.

Dianabol (Methandrostenolone)
Dianabol (Methandrostenolone)

It was the first steroid to be made available in oral form, giving users an alternative to injections and providing swift results within a matter of days. Dianabol is often called Dbol, or by its chemical name Methandrostenolone.

Whatever you call it, Dianabol is a steroid that most of us have wanted to use and many of us have used. But is it a steroid that is still worth using today? You might be surprised to find out what alternatives are available.

Author’s Note: The following guide is based on my personal experience and does NOT promote the illegal use of steroids (PEDs).

Dianabol History and Overview

Dianabol is a simple, basic, powerful steroid. It just does what it does very well, without bells and whistles. Little wonder then it’s been the steroid of choice for bodybuilders for decades and still retains that popularity today. This is a steroid whose benefits and effects are very well known, but Dianabol comes with just as many notorious downsides.

Dianabol History and Effects
Dianabol History and Effects

Unlike most steroids which started their life being developed to treat certain medical conditions, Dianabol’s primary development purpose very early on became to be for performance enhancement. The goal was to create a steroid that could equal or better testosterone’s anabolic properties, while having a less androgenic effect.

In both those areas it is a success, with Dianabol being up to twice as anabolic as regular testosterone, while its androgenic rating is about half that of testosterone. This made it a very popular steroid among professional athletes back in the days prior to the widespread drug testing and strict anti-steroid laws of today.

Up until the 1980’s Dianabol was still being made pharmaceutically, but once it was banned by the FDA it was no longer legally manufactured and that remains the case today.

Just about everything we know about how Dianabol works for bodybuilders – both positively and negatively – comes from personal experiences rather than any type of scientific testing.

Chemical Characteristics and Properties

Dianabol is based on the testosterone hormone, with some modifications to the chemical structure that alters the anabolic and androgenic strength so that it has a more powerful anabolic rating, but less androgenic compared to regular testosterone.

Methandrostenolone (Dianabol) Structure
Methandrostenolone (Dianabol) Structure

Dianabol is an oral steroid, and although it is also made as an injectable compound, the majority of users will take the oral form. You should be aware that both forms are C17-alpha alkylated steroids, which is not common for injectable steroids but is the case for Dianabol. This means if you plan to stack with any other C17-alpha alkylated steroid, which people commonly do, the risks to the liver are multiplied.

The anabolic potency of Dianabol is what gives it its famous effects: massive and fast muscle growth and huge strength through the enhanced processes of protein synthesis and nitrogen retention.

At its core this is a simple process: increased nitrogen retention results in a higher anabolic state in the body and that means growth of lean muscle. It also means faster fat burning, although Dianabol isn’t considered a cutting steroid, it certainly won’t hurt those wanting to drop a few pounds of fat.

Despite its obvious power, Dianabol is much better suited to being used with other steroids in a stack rather than as a stand alone steroid.

Firstly, Dianabol works extremely fast so it’s perfect for kicking off the beginning of a cycle with a bang.

Secondly, being an oral steroid you will want to be limiting the duration of time it’s used and most users who know how to get the best from Dianabol will strictly save it for the first several weeks in a cycle, after which a slower acting steroid is then able to start taking effect midway through the cycle.

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Effects of Dianabol (Dianabol Benefits)

One of Dianabol’s most appealing properties is how fast acting it is. Being an oral steroid you expect a fast response and DBol delivers when it comes to speed. Dianabol is famous for being able to give you impressive muscle gains within a few short weeks. For this reason, bulking is the main use of Dianabol.

Dianabol’s mass gains will not be as clean as some other steroids that don’t aromatize, and water retention will need to be kept under control to maximize the quality of your gains.

Water gains are common at the start of a Dianabol cycle, but most users will see steady muscle gains after this stage. You will notice the muscles filling out quickly, vascularity will increase and your pumps will increase in power substantially.

Strength gains are the other main benefit of Dianabol, and they can be significant gains in strength that come on within the first days of a cycle. Dianabol is thought of as one of the premier strength gaining steroids and it can be easy to get over confident once the additional strength kicks in very quickly, leading to a desire to lift perhaps beyond your current ability, resulting in injury.

But lift heavier you will, and as long as its done right you can expect these strength gains to lead to more and more mass being packed on. A lot of guys report lifting 100 pounds more by the end of the cycle.

Some athletes will still use Dianabol, but many prefer other compounds which don’t add so much mass. Despite this, DBol is still superb for boosting power, endurance and speed so can have its use for athletes looking to enhance performance.

How much mass can you gain using Dianabol? Anywhere from 15lbs and up is achievable, and while a lot of your early mass gains in the cycle will be water weight, as you progress your weight will increasingly be muscle mass.

It’s entirely possible to gain 20lbs of mass within just a few of weeks of using Dbol at 30-50mg per day, as long as you’re eating to gain weight and pushing hard in the gym.

Another lesser known effect of Dianabol is its benefits for athletes. Now this is a steroid that most athletes won’t want to be using, simply because gaining a lot of mass is not desirable for athletes. But Dianabol’s exceptional ability to increase strength also brings about great improvements in speed and power.

Recovery and endurance will also be notably better. While Dbol is unlikely to be a choice for athletes in front of other steroids like Winstrol and Anavar, some users will still stand to gain benefits from Dianabol’s effects on athletic performance.

When it comes to cutting, Dianabol is not likely to be the first or even second or third steroid you turn to for this purpose and not least because of the water retention it causes. But once again, it can have its uses in cutting phases if you know how to get the most from it.

In particular, Dbol can help preserve muscle mass while dieting, and give you a fuller, more vascular look. Generally only those who have very limited access to other steroid compounds will choose to use Dianabol in a cutting cycle.

Dianabol Cycles and Stacks

The primary goal of most Dianabol users is to gain in size and strength, while knowing that water retention and bloating are very real effects of this steroid.

Dianabol, while very powerful, still has quite a narrow beneficial usage simply because it’s an oral aromatizing steroid so once you learn to work within its limitations, only then will its benefits be enjoyed. Bulking cycles will be the primary use for 99% of Dianabol users.

It is rarely used in cutting cycles, but can have a place it other options are limited. As long as water retention can be controlled, Dianabol can provide significant benefits in almost any type of stack.

Beginners, intermediate and advanced users can all gain exceptional results when using Dianabol correctly, such as in these example cycles:

Beginner Dianabol Cycle

A basic beginner’s cycle includes only Testosterone as an additional compound, and makes use of Dianabol’s primary benefit of providing a powerful kickstart to the beginning of the cycle, with a slower acting ester of testosterone then kicking in half way through. Here Dbol is used only for the first 6 weeks of a 12 week cycle.

  • Dianabol: 25mg daily (Weeks 1-6)
  • Testosterone Enanthate: 400 weekly (Weeks 1-12)

Intermediate Dianabol Cycle

The additional of Deca-Durabolin (Nandrolone) takes this cycle up several levels when it comes to mass and strength gains, and which only makes use of testosterone for hormone replacement.

Including Nandrolone in this stack doesn’t necessarily mean you need to increase Dianabol’s dosage, because it is still very potent at low doses.

However some users will want to increase to 50mg/daily and once again, Dbol is used only for the first half of the cycle with Deca taking over for the remainder.

  • Dbol: 25mg-50mg daily (Weeks 1-6)
  • Deca-Durabolin: 400mg weekly (Weeks 1-12)
  • Testosterone Enanthate: 100mg weekly (Weeks 1-12)

Advanced Dianabol Cycle

Advanced Dbol users will often do a short, sharp cycle using other short estered compounds for the most dramatic and rapid results.

It’s not only Dianabol kicking off the cycle to great heights in this type of stack, you will add at least one other fast acting steroid that is going to supercharge results in the very early days of the cycle. In this case we make use of the powerful Trenbolone Acetate:

  • Dianabol at 50mg/day (weeks 1-6)
  • Trenbolone Acetate 400mg weekly (Weeks 1-8)
  • Testosterone Propionate 100mg weekly (Weeks 1-8)

Stacking Dianabol

Dianabol is at its best when stacked with other steroids. DBol stacks extremely well with many other compounds and a stack that you’ve planned out well can deliver results that are fast and targeted to a specific goal.

DBol is perfect for kicking off a cycle with its fast acting nature meaning you start benefiting within just a few days. The rapid increase in strength takes your workouts to new levels, allowing additional steroids to take over for the remaining part of your cycle.

Another stacking method is to place Dianabol in the middle of a cycle where it can be used to break through a plateau where gains may slow down or feel like hitting a wall.

Dianabol’s sheer power is like a wrecking ball through a brick wall and you will find your progress is able to continue following Dianabol’s effects.

Dianabol stacks well with most steroids, but the fact it’s a C17-aa in either form means it’s advised not to stack it with any other C17-aa steroids.

Some of the very best compounds to stack Dianabol with are Deca-Durabolin (Nandrolone), Trenbolone (for the most experienced users only), Testosterone, Anavar and Anadrol (also only for the most advanced users due to liver toxicity risks).

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Dianabol Dosages and Administration

Dianabol is a steroid that doesn’t need to be used at very high doses to get maximum benefit. In fact increasing the dosage too high will almost always result in the negative effects far outweighing the benefits.

Back when Dianabol was used medically, adult males were usually prescribed just 5mg with an instruction not to use it for more than six weeks. We can see just how much higher bodybuilding doses are compared to this, and why you face a high risk of side effects even at doses that look low on paper but in reality are very powerful.

Liver toxicity risks, blood pressure increases, and elevated cholesterol are all important factors that will limit how much and how long many of us can comfortably and safely use Dianabol.

Most users will get very satisfactory results at the lower dosage levels, while gradually increasing it if necessary only after evaluating the results (and side effects) at a more moderate dosage.

Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Dianabol Dosages

Dianabol dosage will, regardless of your experience level, tend to stay at or below 50mg for the majority of users. Yes, if you’re a hardcore bodybuilder you might be one of the minority who is happy to take 100mg a day and deal with what will likely be some serious bloat issues.

So what should a beginner be taking? Starting at 25mg and evaluating your response is a good start for your very first time using Dbol. Even intermediate and advanced users will often stick to 25mg, with the key being how long you run the cycle for. Higher doses at shorter cycles (4 weeks or 6 weeks) can work better for many people – and that goes for everyone from beginner to advanced.

Once you have confidence in using Dbol and mitigating any side effects, an intermediate level dosing of 40mg-50mg will for many guys provide the best balance of results compared to side effects. In this case it can be tempting to split the dose into two 20mg doses per day, but most will see best results when taking the entire daily dose as a pre-workout where stable blood levels can be more easily maintained at just the time you need it.

Even advanced users are unlikely to want or need to raise Dianabol’s dose above 50mg. In extreme cases, some will go to 100mg for short cycles to get rapid and extreme results (for a competition, for example). This is unnecessary and it is certain that doses near and above 100mg everyday will place significant stress on your health and side effects are likely to be quite extreme.

A lot of guys will do blood work both during and after a cycle to find out just what impact Dianabol is having, particularly on the liver and cholesterol levels. This can be used as a base to make a decision about whether you should increase the dose.

Female Dianabol Dosage

It is widely recommended that women don’t use Dianabol because virilization is almost certain to occur. Some women can use this steroid at very low doses, but there are certainly other far more suitable compounds for females that don’t cause such pronounced androgenic effects.

If a female is determined to use Dianabol, a starting dose of just 2.5mg daily is ideal. If adverse effects are manageable, an increase to 5mg per day is possible.

Very few women will choose to extend beyond this point, but a small minority of females are known to take 10mg of Dianabol per day and this is considered a high dose where virilization is almost certain to occur.

Very few women will find it beneficial to use Dianabol beyond 5mg at the most, with its anabolic effects being more than powerful enough to deliver extreme results at the dosage.

Proper Administration and Timing

Some people will choose to break the dose up into two or three administration each day. But this can not be as beneficial as it might seem. With such a short half life, most users will find it far more effective to time the entire daily dose into one administration and to do so according to your workout schedule.

The goal is to reach peak blood levels to coincide with your training and by taking the entire dose at once, your daily peak blood level of Dianabol will simply be higher than if you were taking two or three partial doses throughout the day.

When it comes to planning where to place Dianabol in your cycle, as mentioned it is a steroid that is very well placed at the start of a cycle. But it also has a place in the middle of a cycle.

These two strategies take advantage of Dianabol’s big benefit of being a very fast acting steroid. Wherever you place it in a cycle, you know it will start taking effect within the first couple of days.

In a mass gaining cycle, putting Dianabol at the start gives you substantial gains in the early weeks of the cycle. During this time your slower acting injectable steroid or steroids will be building up and ready to take over as the active compounds once you stop using Dianabol at the 4-6 week mark.

The other main strategy we use is to get past that dreaded point in a cycle where your gains are slowing or even stopping completely. Dianabol’s sheer power can kick through a plateau with ease.

Dbol will kick you through this difficult situation (and where you might not have necessarily planned to use Dianabol at all), so that your progress with the other steroids in the cycle can the continue.

Dianabol’s liver toxicity and other health risks will limit you to using it for only one of the above two purposes. It is simply too harsh on the body to be used both at the beginning of a cycle, and through the middle as well.

The exception being the most experienced bodybuilders who are taking on extremely long cycles of 16 weeks or more, where there’s enough room to take a break from Dbol before starting it up again; however these would be rare cases and it is not usual that we will want or need to use Dbol for any more than the usual 4-8 week duration.

Dianabol Risks and Side Effects

Dianabol has a reputation for being a steroid that causes noticeable, rapid and sometimes extreme bloating or fluid retention, especially in the early stage of a cycle. This results in a telltale puffy look, including on the face, and can indicate to other people pretty quickly that you’re using steroids. With experience you should be able to control the Dianabol side effects well enough to keep using it.

There are certainly other steroids that are much more harsh than DBol when it comes to side effects, with this being one of the more manageable steroids.

Some guys will have a harder time, but you’ll find that the side effect profile consists mostly of the standard adverse effects with nothing out in the extremes like we see with something like Trenbolone. You will still want to be alert to Dbol’s side effects and be ready to manage any that appear.

Estrogenic Side Effects

Dianabol brings about quite strong estrogenic side effects, most notably gynecomastia and water retention. Because Dianabol works quickly, the side effects can also appear quickly and you can easily be fine one day, and the next noticing signs of gyno and bloat. It’s not an extreme effect to see a weight gain of 10lbs of just water alone in the first two weeks of using Dbol.

You will notice fullness within days (and many other people will notice too), but water weight will give way to muscle gains further into your cycle. Keeping in mind that increased water retention can lead to high blood pressure, we have more than just an aesthetic reason to minimize estrogenic effects as much as possible.

Androgenic Side Effects

Dianabol was created to have a lower androgenic effect than testosterone, but it is still capable of causing androgenic side effects like acne, hair loss and growth of body hair.

Some people will have zero androgenic side effects, and that’s because they are lucky enough not to be genetically predisposed to these things. But if you have the bad lucky of the DNA draw, acne and oily skin can come on severely (due to increased androgens causing more stimulation of the sebaceous gland cells to produce more sebum) and hair loss can be fast and severe.

If male pattern baldness is in your genes, what Dianabol does is speed up the hair loss process. Higher levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the main cause of this.

Many people ask whether it’s possible to lose hair even if it’s not in your genes, and the answer is likely yes: high doses or prolonged use of Dianabol could potentially resulting loss of head hair in any male user but is virtually guaranteed in those with male pattern baldness in their DNA.

Liver toxicity

Being a C17-aa steroid, Dbol comes with high risks to the liver and your liver will suffer with some level of stress while using Dbol. Liver support supplements can be of use, especially after your cycle to help the liver recovery.

But most importantly is the limitation of Dbol cycles ideally to no more than 6 weeks. This reduces the risk of permanent liver damage and should ensure that your liver enzyme values return to normal. A suitable break in between C17-aa cycles is essential to allow liver recovery.

Cardiovascular Side Effects

This includes cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which Dianabol will negatively impact. Potentially the worst and most concerning side effect of Dianabol involves its impacts on cholesterol.

This steroid is capable of causing substantial negative changes in cholesterol levels where LDL levels are increased while HDL levels decrease.

To add to this, many DBol users will choose to use an aromatase inhibitor while using this steroid, and that itself can also alter cholesterol, bringing about extra stress. All of this means that monitoring your cholesterol and eating a cholesterol friendly diet is absolutely critical.

Anyone with existing cholesterol problems should steer clear of using Dianabol completely. If Dianabol is regularly used without sufficient breaks, or used at high doses, you run the risk of the arteries developing a build up of plaque; this can heighten your risk of stroke and heart attack.

The development of water retention as androgenic side effect of Dianabol is common and when this is allowed to progress you run the risk of increasing blood pressure. Dianabol is quite famous for raising blood pressure, and since the problem of water retention can appear very suddenly, you should be ready to deal with any rise in blood pressure.

The best way to reduce the risk of raised blood pressure is to keep fluid retention under control by controlling estrogen, and to help maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol a diet containing omega-3 fatty acid containing foods is important, as is avoiding saturated and trans fats foods, and including cardiovascular training in your workouts.


A lesser known Dianabol side effect is its possible impacts on the thyroid and more specifically, the amount of circulating thyroid hormones. Studies have shown even low doses of Dbol (10mg daily) resulted in a quick and significant decrease in thyroid function.

Testosterone Suppression

Dianabol is one of the more suppressive steroids. You will always want to run some exogenous testosterone alongside Dbol, regardless of your dosage. Generally this means testosterone dosed at 100mg to 200mg weekly. Without this, you will suffer with low testosterone and all its associated debilitating effects.

PCT is also required following any cycle containing Dianabol. The SERM drugs Nolvadex and Clomid are recommended, and many users will also add HCG.

How to Buy Dianabol?

Like all anabolic steroids, Dianabol is listed as a controlled substance and is illegal in just about every country to buy, sell or have in your possession. This means we all take a risk when purchasing Dianabol.

Despite this, Dianabol is still considered one of the lowest cost and widely available steroids to buy. This is simply due to its long standing popularity over many decades in the bodybuilding world. Everyone knows what Dianabol is, and millions of people have chosen to buy and use it.

Buying Dianabol is not difficult on the underground market once you are familiar with sources. All suppliers will have Dianabol available because it’s always in high demand.

Anabol is the most common brand names of Dianabol and a bottle of 100 x 50mg tablets can cost you $100 or less. Other dosages available are 10mg, 25mg, and some sellers have 50mg tablets.

Capsule form is available from many sellers, but tablets are deemed the most reliable and highest quality so there’s no reason not to stick with Dianabol tablets considering their low cost.

Even though Dianabol is a widely used and manufactured steroid, it is still an illegal substance and with that comes question marks about what you will get when you buy it from any particular source.

What Alternatives Are Available?

Is there a way to get the same or similar Dianabol results, but without the side effects and without breaking the law? There are now quite a few products out there claiming to be equal alternatives to Dianabol, but very few can live up to expectations.

I’ve checked out all the possibilities and I keep coming back to one formula: D-Bal.

D-Bal is known as the top legal alternative to Dianabol. With D-Bal you get most of the benefits of Dianabol, with the focus on fast and big muscle gains, strength boost, fat loss, better recovery and increased levels of free testosterone.

Because D-Bal doesn’t use hormones, you don’t get the water retention or any other side effects. Unlike Dianabol which runs an extremely high risk of increasing your cholesterol to dangerously high levels, D-Bal does not elevate cholesterol at all. It also causes no stress to the kidneys or liver.

Because D-Bal is designed from the ground up to mimic the effects of Methandrostenolone, you can expect very similar outcomes. And this is without the worry about buying and using an illegal substance, because D-Bal is legally bought over the counter and not at some questionable online dealer from an unknown lab in a faraway country.

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Dianabol FAQs

How much muscle can I gain on Dianabol?

Your gains will depend on your dose, cycle length, and your diet and workouts but it is entirely possible to gain in the realm of 20lbs of muscle within several weeks of starting Dianabol because this is a very fast acting steroid.

How much Dianabol can I take a day?

Your Dianabol dosage will depend on a lot of things, including if it’s your first time using it and what other steroids you plan to stack it with. A lot of guys find that 10-20mg a day is enough to get amazing gains in strength and excellent results, while others will boost the dose to 50mg. The lower you can keep your DBOL dosage while getting great results, the less severe side effects you’ll have to deal with.

How long does it take for Dbol to kick in?

When you take oral Dianabol, which is the most popular form, it starts working very quickly. You will see strength gains in the first few days of a cycle, in fact many users will notice changes on the first day. That’s how fast Dianabol starts to kick in, particularly if you take your dose a few hours before a workout. You’ll notice greater pumps and overall better performance during training.

How long does Dianabol stay in your system?

Even though it has a half life of just eight hours, Dianabol has a detection time in drug tests of up to 6 weeks after your last dose. There are now even methods of detecting steroid use in hair, rather than just urine and hair detection can potentially extend the window of detection time substantially.

Can women use Dianabol?

Dianabol is not a good steroid for females to use because of its potency which results in severe virilizing effects. There are several other milder steroids more suited for female use, such as Anavar and Winstrol.

In some cases women have purchased what they believed was Anavar, but a suspect lab has substituted it with the cheaper Dbol.

Some women will take 10mg of Dbol and report no side effects, but it is considered a high risk steroid for females and not one that’s recommended unless a woman is not concerned with her voice deepening and other likely androgenic effects.

Dianabol is a banned substance in the US, listed under Schedule 3 of the Controlled Substances Act. If you’re convicted under the Act, you can face a fine of up to $2,500 or up to 12 months in jail.

What’s better Dianabol or Anadrol?

Anadrol is known as a powerful oral steroid, but it can’t match Dianabol’s potency when it comes to power and strength. Dianabol is simply a more powerful steroid than Anadrol on a milligram to milligram basis but some users will still swear by Anadrol giving them better strength gains. This comes down to personal preference and responsiveness.

When should I take Dianabol?

The best time in a cycle to use Dianabol is in the first few weeks. This very fast acting steroid gives a cycle a massive kick start and allows you to start seeing results fast while other steroids take longer to kick in. Ideally this will be for the first 4 weeks of your cycle with the focus being on bulking and strength gains.

Final Thoughts

Dianabol is an amazing steroid, there’s no doubt about that. Nothing stays popular for over 50 years unless it really works. Dianabol delivers exceptional mass and strength gains – those are its biggest benefits.

But despite all its benefits, Dianabol’s negatives can not be ignored. The effects it has on cholesterol are easily ignored by users who have rose tinted glasses on and only want to see how big they can get with little regard to the health impacts. The risks to the liver are real, and everyone should be concerned about what Dbol can do to blood pressure.

About the Author
Juice Lewis, Author of SteroidCycle.org
Juice Lewis

Real-life Experience, not Theory

I don't claim to know everything; what I talk about here is something I've done. From anabolic steroids to HGH, to peptides, insulin, and supplements, I've done it at some point in my life, and I can relate.