Two of the most popular steroids for packing on size and mass are Dianabol and Anadrol. Dianabol, nicknamed the breakfast of champions, was rumored to be Arnold’s favorite steroid in the ’70s.
Whereas Anadrol, nicknamed A-Bombs, is thought to be the culprit in developing the first mass monsters in bodybuilding, such as Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman.
However, these steroids can have serious negative effects on your health which is not as popular information about them.
In this article, we will reveal the health problems that these bulking steroids can lead to and suggest legal alternatives which are safe supplements with natural ingredients.
Anadrol vs Dbol
Anadrol will generally produce slightly better results compared to dbol, with Anadrol being the more powerful steroid. However, Anadrol will also cause more severe side effects.
As a result of its toxic nature, Anadrol’s benefits vs risks ratio is considered less optimal than Dianabol; making dbol the more popular steroid out of the two. A dbol-only cycle is a fairly common beginner protocol, for those wanting big muscle gains fast. Whereas, Anadrol is too powerful for novice users, being one of the harshest steroids you can take and thus should be avoided.
Anadrol is more likely to produce more incidents of acne and hair loss (or thinning), due to higher androgenic effects being observed in users. Dianabol in comparison is not very androgenic, which is why bodybuilders of the 70’s who would commonly take it with deca could retain a lot of their hair. This is a different look compared to bodybuilders today who take more androgenic compounds and go bald quickly.
Powerlifters and strongmen typically prefer Anadrol, due to better strength gains, giving them an edge in competition. However, they will also use Dianabol together with (or in separate cycles to) Anadrol; because it is also very effective for enhancing strength.
In research, women can take high doses of Anadrol without experiencing virilization side effects (1), whereas Dianabol does cause masculinization in females. This high tolerance of Anadrol among women may be due to its direct stimulation of the estrogen receptors, a crucial chemical alteration to dbol. Dbol converts testosterone into estrogen, instead of stimulating the estrogen receptors directly.
Therefore, Anadrol popular amongst women, although in smaller doses (being 12.5mg to 25mg per day).
Anadrol and dbol generally are not stacked together, because blood pressure levels will skyrocket, with the liver also will be excessively strained. Thus, bodybuilders wanting further gains will typically stack Dianabol or Anadrol with an injectable steroid, such as deca Durabolin, trenbolone or testosterone.
Oxymetholone was first introduced to the world in 1959 when a pharmaceutical company named Syntex found it to be successful in the treatment of anemia and various muscle-wasting diseases (2).
Shortly later, it was released in America under the brand name, anadrol, which it is still referred to as today.
During this time bodybuilders could take anadrol via a prescription to help build large amounts of strength and muscle. However, this period was short-lived, with anadrol’s toxicity becoming a concern; and the FDA consequently banning the steroid in the mid 1970’s (with the exception of treating anemia patients).
Anadrol’s benefits are similar to dbol’s, however they are usually more pronounced with users experiencing greater gains in mass and strength.
- Big Mass Gains
- Exceptional Strength
- Oral Steroid
Big Mass Gains
Anadrol is regarded as the best steroid for sheer mass gains, with users gaining a substantial amount of weight during cycles. It is not uncommon for users to gain 30-35lbs during their first anadrol cycle. This weight is largely made up of muscle tissue and water weight, thought to be equally divided in half.
Anadrol’s pumps can also be intense, due to the amount of water retention that collects inside the muscle cells. This results in an excessively pumped/full look outside the gym, which can result in almost skin-tearing pumps during workouts. These can be particularly uncomfortable in the lower back region when deadlifting. Thus, it is recommended to have sufficient rest in between sets, so this sensation doesn’t become too extreme or painful.
Anadrol is also regarded as the king of steroids when it comes to strength, which is why so many powerlifters and strongman religiously cycle anadrol.
Anadrol’s exceptional ability for increasing raw strength and power, is thought to be, because of two reasons.
Firstly, it is DHT-derived, which is a powerful androgenic hormone, 5x more potent than testosterone.
Secondly, because anadrol causes a dramatic increase in weight gain and water inside the muscles, this also helps to increase strength.
Anadrol is so powerful for enhancing strength that some bodybuilders will lift lighter weights on a purpose, to avoid injuries, such as ruptured tendons or muscle tears. This can happen when a person’s strength suddenly increases, shocking the rest of the body, before it can adequately adapt to the extra work load.
Anadrol is an oral steroid, which could be seen as a positive or a negative. It is beneficial in the sense that no injections are needed, so it is easy and safe to administer. However, oral steroids typically are more hepatotoxic, increasing strain on the liver; whilst also causing higher blood pressure (compared to injectables) – which we will cover in more detail in the side effects section below.
Anadrol Side Effects
- High blood pressure
- Liver toxicity
- Water retention
- Shuts down testosterone
- Acne/oily skin
High blood pressure
Oral steroids are worse for cardiovascular strain than injectable steroids, because orals stimulate hepatic lipase, a liver enzyme which breaks down HDL cholesterol (the good kind that lowers blood pressure).
Thus, due to a significant reduction in HDL cholesterol levels, blood pressure inevitably rises (which does not occur nearly to the same extent with injectables). This side effect is particularly harsh on anadrol, due to it being very toxic; and thus one of the worst steroids for heart health.
Anadrol is a c-17 alpha alkylated steroid, thus liver enzymes will rise significantly, causing temporary damage to this organ. Such damage commonly reverses back to normal several weeks post-cycle, thus is not an overly troublesome concern for bodybuilders. However, if anadrol is abused or cycled for extended periods of time, users will be at a higher risk of liver failure. Especially if alcohol is consumed with such toxic steroids.
Anadrol does not aromatize and convert into estrogen. However, it remains a highly estrogenic compound, which is due to direct stimulation of estrogen receptors, rather than any conversions taking place.
Therefore, gynecomastia may form in sensitive individuals and remains a risk. Taking a SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator), such as clomid, may help to combat this. Aromatase inhibitor’s such as Nolvadex will not be effective in combating gyno, because anadrol does not aromatize.
Fluid retention and bloating on anadrol is thought to be more prevalent than with other steroids. That is if anadrol is combined with a high calorie diet, containing moderate to high amounts of sodium.
The only exception is when bodybuilders take anadrol before a show and are eating low calorie diets, with super clean food choices and their sodium intake is low. In which case they can come in looking full and dry.
As a general rule, when high estrogen levels are combined with moderate amounts of sodium, it leads to water retention; which is what many anadrol-users report.
Shuts Down Testosterone
All anabolic steroids will decrease natural testosterone levels, however anadrol’s adverse effects on T levels are dramatic. Consequently, the crash from anadrol may be hard, requiring an intensive post cycle therapy.
Anadrol does produce androgenic side effects, despite having a low androgenic rating on paper (45). Therefore oily skin may be experienced, with acne also occurring in genetically prone users.
Dianabol, known as dbol, is very similar to anadrol, being one of the best bulking steroids on the market.
Dianabol was originally formulated by Dr John Ziegler, to help the Americans defeat the Soviet’s in the Olympics. It became known that the Russians were using testosterone, aiding their dominance.
Thus, Ziegler’s goal was to create a compound more anabolic than testosterone, yet less androgenic; in a bid to reduce the prostate enlargement effects of testosterone.
Dr Ziegler achieved his goal, successfully formulating dianabol, a more potent steroid for muscle building and strength (than testosterone). However, dianabol was not enough to put an end to the Soviet’s dominance.
- Big mass gains
- Big strength increases
- Oral steroid
Big Mass Gains
Dianabol, in the dosages it’s typically taken, is slightly less powerful compared to anadrol. The mass gains are exceptional, however the main difference is dianabol will retain slightly less water and possibly built a slightly less muscle. A first cycle of dianabol is likely to yield up to 30lbs of weight gain. Just less than half of this weight is likely to be in the form of water.
Big Strength Increases
Dianabol, like anadrol, is one of the best steroids for strength. Most bodybuilders who have tried both compounds would say that anadrol is slightly more powerful in this regard. However, there are few compounds better than dianabol for breaking PR’s in the gym.
Dianabol is easy to administer like anadrol, being in tablet form. Injectable dianabol is available, although rare.
Dianabol Side Effects
Dianabol’s side effects are also similar to anadrol’s, but are likely to be less pronounced, due to dianabol being more mild in nature.
- Water retention
- Increase blood pressure
- Liver toxicity
- Virilization in women
- Shuts down testosterone
Unlike anadrol, dianabol does aromatize, and thus converts testosterone into estrogen. High estrogen levels will cause a significant amount of water, although less than anadrol.
Gyno is also possible, due to high estrogen levels. This can be combated by taking an AI (aromatase inhibitor), such as Nolvadex. However, nolvadex may exacerbate blood pressure further, with the blocking of estrogen.
Dianabol will spike blood pressure, due to its powerful nature and being an oral steroid; thus stimulating hepatic lipase (causing a negative impact on cholesterol levels). However, this spike in blood pressure may not be as sharp as anadrol’s.
Dianabol poses some liver toxicity being a c-17 alpha alkylated steroid, however this is not generally dangerous, with the liver being a very strong organ, with damage naturally repairing post-cycle.
Virilization in Women
Research suggests that dianabol is not suitable for women to take, due to it forming masculine side effects in users, such as deepened voice and hypertrophy of the clitoris (3).
Thus, only tiny dosages of dianabol are likely to be safe in preventing a woman slowly turning into a man; which is why females generally opt for milder steroids such as anavar.
Shuts Down Testosterone
With dianabol being a form of exogenous testosterone, natural production will shut down, and thus take several months to recover back to normal levels after a cycle.
Both steroids will cause dramatic gains in terms of muscle size and strength. Equally, both steroids will cause significant side effects; although anadrol is the harsher compound, which is why some bodybuilders avoid it. Whereas dbol remains a firm favourite for many lifters.
Note: If you want the gains of dianabol or anadrol, but are concerned about the side effects or the illegalities of using such substances; check out CrazyBulk’s legal steroid alternatives (below). They sell D-Bal and Anadrole, which replicate the effects of dbol and anadrol, but in a safe way, producing few to no side effects. Their formulas have also been approved by the FDA.