Top 5 Safest Steroids for Bodybuilding (Plus 3 to Avoid)

Disclaimer: The following article is for education purposes only and NOT to promote the use of illegal steroids.

Bodybuilding is on the rise, and consequently more people are taking steroids than ever before. This can be a dangerous situation, as people are taking illegal substances that can potentially ruin their health.

So, this beckons the question: What are the safest steroids? 

People who take steroids in a reckless way will almost certainly decrease their lifespan, whilst jeopardizing their health and quality of life.

People who take steroids in a safe way, are likely to get in the greatest shape of their life; whilst maintaining their health and happiness.

This article will help readers understand how to take steroids in the safest way possible, whilst getting jacked. The following guide is to reduce any potential casualties (from novices), who may take steroids without first educating themselves.

Top 5 Safest Steroids

  • Testosterone
  • Anavar
  • Primobolan
  • Deca durabolin
  • Dianabol

safe legal steroids

Firstly, we should point out that no anabolic steroid is 100% safe, especially when taken without medical supervision.

However, several of these steroids are approved by the FDA, thus are considered to be safe when prescribed to patients.

Secondly, we must define what makes a steroid safe.

The safest steroid is one that first and foremost is not excessively straining to the heart. This is the most important side effect to be wary of when taking anabolic steroids, as sharp rises in blood pressure can be fatal; resulting in heart attacks.

The second most important side effect to be wary of is liver toxicity, with liver failure being a common occurrence when taking (oral) anabolic steroids; and can result in death.

Then there are other side effects which aren’t dangerous, but are often important to users. Such adverse effects are: gynecomastia, water retention, acne and hair loss. Such side effects may affect a person’s quality of life and thus should also be considered when listing the safest steroids (below).

1. Testosterone

Testosterone is the first steroid to ever be synthesized, back in 1935 with the objective of treating depression. However, people soon understood the dramatic effects testosterone had on muscular size and strength.

Beginners are likely to gain 15-20lbs from their first testosterone cycle (taking 200-350mg per day). Future cycles with higher doses (up to 500mg per day) are likely to add another 10-15lbs.

Despite being the oldest steroid, testosterone arguably remains as the most popular compound today. Test is used in almost every steroid stack as a base.

Testosterone is predominantly a bulking steroid, powerful by itself or in a stack; and produces significant gains in mass. It is regarded as the best steroid for the heart, having minimal impact on cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This is due to its route of administration, being an injectable steroid and its aromatizing nature; causing estrogen levels to rise.

When testosterone levels significantly increase, blood pressure often experiences a sharp rise too. However, due to the body converting some of exogenous testosterone into estrogen (via the process of aromatization), blood pressure stays within a normal range on testosterone; due to estrogen increasing HDL cholesterol levels (the good kind).

Research has shown that 300mg of testosterone per week, caused only a 13% decrease in HDL cholesterol levels, during a 20 week cycle (1).

Doses as high as 600mg per week, also didn’t cause excessive cardiovascular strain, with HDL cholesterol levels only decreasing by 21%. (2).

Testosterone’s minimal impact on the heart, is why it’s considered the safest steroid on the market. This is also why a test-only cycle is the most recommended protocol for beginners, minimizing the risk of side effects.

Testosterone also doesn’t seem to pose any risks in terms of liver strain. In one study, participants took a huge dose of 2,800mg per week for 20 days, yet none of them showed any signs of stress to the liver (3). This is roughly 10x the dose a beginner would take.

Side Effects

Although testosterone does not strain the heart (excessively) or the liver in moderate doses, that’s not to say test is free from side effects.

It does have the ability to produce less dangerous side effects, that are still uncomfortable to users. These can be: gynecomastia, acne, hair loss or water retention.

Gynecomastia is possible, due to testosterone elevating estrogen levels. Estrogen is the female sex hormone, that can cause breast tissue to accumulate in males; creating the look of a female chest.

Gyno can be prevented by running an AI (aromatase inhibitor) or a SERM (Selective estrogen receptor modulator). AI’s will inhibit the conversion of testosterone into estrogen, whereas SERM’s block estrogen activity directly in the breast cells.

AI’s are not recommended to combat gyno when taking testosterone, as blood pressure will rise as a result. Thus, by taking effective SERM’s, such as Nolvadex or Clomid, estrogen levels will remain high; yet the possibility of developing gyno will be significantly reduced. And more importantly, blood pressure will not spike from using clomid or nolvadex (4).

Note: SERM’s will not reduce water retention, thus it’s advised to use testosterone in the off-season as a bulking cycle, when trying to add mass.

Oily skin, acne and hair loss are all possible when taking testosterone. These are not dangerous side effects, however such implications may be off-putting to users. These are common effects due to testosterone being androgenic, having an androgenic rating of 100.

However, these side effects are often genetic and are difficult to avoid. Men can take medications such as finasteride to help them combat hair loss, however the blocking of DHT may significantly reduce their gains on a cycle. It’s also common for any hair thinning, or recession to be reversed post-cycle, when hormones regulate back to normal (5).

Testosterone is not suitable for women to use, due to its androgenic nature. Women who use test will experience amazing muscle gains, but can also turn into a man.

The other main issue when taking testosterone, is that a person’s natural testosterone level will become suppressed. Thus, users are likely to experience low testosterone levels post-cycle, taking several months for their normal test levels to return.

Testosterone is an FDA approved steroid for the treatment of testosterone replacement therapy (low testosterone in men) and delayed puberty in boys; demonstrating its safety (6). 

2. Anavar

anavar

Anavar is one of the most sought-after steroids on the market. This is mainly due to three reasons:

  1. It’s an oral steroid
  2. It’s suitable for men and women
  3. It has very weak side effects

Anavar is generally seen as a cutting steroid, as it does not aromatize; thereby creating a dry and lean look. Anavar produces noticeable increases in muscle size and strength; whilst simultaneously stripping fat.

Anavar’s fat burning effects are significantly greater than testosterone’s, although its muscle-building effects are more mild.

Users will gain roughly 10lbs of muscle on anavar, with men taking doses of 15-20mg per day for 6 weeks.

If someone is looking to lose fat and get a bit bigger, anavar will do the job. However, if someone is looking for huge gains in mass, testosterone is the better steroid.

Women are often very limited, when it comes to which steroids they can use (without turning into a man). Anavar, is one of the few compounds females can safely take, without experiencing any masculine effects. Women will also experience significant fat loss and noticeable muscle gains, yet typically take half the dose of men (5-10mg per day) and in shorter cycles (4-5 weeks).

anavar steroid alternative

Users will rarely notice any side effects when taking anavar, as it doesn’t cause any water retention; plus there is no chance of developing gyno, as it doesn’t aromatize. Consequently, anavar is in high demand by gym-goers who want to take their body to the next level without having to worry about jeopardizing their health.

Despite being an oral steroid, anavar does not pose much stress to the liver. This may be due to the kidneys also helping to process the compound, in effect taking the work-load off the liver. In research, 20mg per day does not seem to affect the liver (7), whereas 40mg per day increases liver enzymes by 30-50%. Male bodybuilders will typically take a maximum dose of 20mg.

 

Side Effects

Anavar will cause some testosterone suppression. Such reductions are likely to be mild to moderate, taking several weeks to return to normal levels. As test levels will not be shut down fully, a post cycle therapy is deemed unnecessary by some users.

Anavar does have a negative effect on cholesterol levels, worse than testosterone, yet is considerably safer than other injectables and oral steroids. In the previous study, which monitored users’ liver enzymes on anavar, they also monitored their cholesterol levels. They found users who took 20mg of anavar for 12 weeks, experienced a 30% decrease in HDL (good) cholesterol. In the 40mg group, they decreased by 33% and on 80mg they decreased by 50%.

30% is a moderate decrease in HDL cholesterol, however their cycle was lengthy, with it lasting 12 weeks. Bodybuilders typically will only take anavar for 4-8 weeks.

To combat changes in cholesterol, thus affecting blood pressure, anavar-users are recommended to regularly perform cardio. This will help to accelerate fat loss, maximizing gains from their cycle; as well as keeping their heart healthy.

3. Primobolan

Primobolan is very similar to anavar, being a mild, cutting, oral steroid.

Primo is a safe steroid, that has even been given to infants who were underweight (8), without any negative interactions. It’s role in medicine is to help patients gain lean mass, bringing them up to a healthy weight. Primo’s been prescribed to people who have suffered from muscle-wasting diseases, infections and those recovering from surgery.

Like anavar, primobolan does not aromatize, thus keeping water retention at bay. Primo adds small amounts of lean muscle, whilst stripping away fat during a cutting phase.

It is believed that Arnold and other bodybuilders from the golden era frequently used primobolan when cutting, to help them appear extra ripped on stage.

As primobolan is not an androgenic steroid, it is generally very well tolerated by women, when taking doses of 50-75mg per day.

Side Effects

Primobolan will shift cholesterol levels to a similar degree as anavar. Thus, cholesterol and blood pressure will fluctuate more than on testosterone or deca durabolin; but less than other anabolic steroids.

Testosterone suppression is almost certain on primo. How much test levels decline will depend on your dose and the duration of your cycle; however natural test levels are likely to return within several weeks post-cycle (like anavar). A PCT is considered as optional, due to primo’s mild nature (not causing a dramatic crash).

4. Deca Durabolin

Deca durabolin is the safest steroid for bulking, after testosterone.

Like testosterone, deca is also an injectable steroid; although a slow-acting compound that takes several weeks to build up in the body.

Deca durabolin can add significant amounts of muscle and strength in the off-season, however its effects are limited when taken alone. Unlike testosterone which can produce massive gains by itself, deca is often stacked with other bulking steroids to produce dramatic muscle gains.

It’s often cycled with testosterone, dianabol or anadrol for further gains.

Deca durabolin is currently FDA approved in medicine for the treatment of anemia, helping to increase lean mass and red blood cell count in bone marrow. It has also been used in the past to treat HIV-patients, dwarfism and osteoporosis.

Deca durabolin is not androgenic, thus users are not at risk of developing hair loss or acne.

Deca is tolerated among women, when taken in short to moderate cycles. Research suggests that a dose of 100mg, injected every other week for 12 weeks is safe for women. (9). However, long cycles even on smaller doses are likely to cause virilization effects.

Side Effects

Deca’s ability to increase estrogen is deemed to be 20% of testosterone, thus there is very little aromatization activity. However, users may still experience high estrogen-like side effects, due to deca raising progesterone; which can stimulate breast tissue in the mammary glands.

Deca will shift LDL/HDL cholesterol, causing an increase in blood pressure (however this effect is not significant). Research has found that 600mg of deca durabolin per week, caused a 26% reduction in good HDL cholesterol (10).

The dose for deca is usually 200-400mg per week for male bodybuilders, thus the 600mg dose in the study was high. Therefore, cholesterol levels are only likely to worsen slightly. This effect on cholesterol is deemed to be more than testosterone, but less than all other steroids.

The worst part about deca durabolin is the testosterone suppression experienced by users. Research shows that 300mg of deca can decrease testosterone levels by 70% in just 6 weeks (11). Suppression is likely to be worse than this, with deca cycles lasting as long as 14 weeks. Thus, a PCT will be needed on deca to help endogenous test levels come back.

5. Dianabol

arnold

Dianabol is the only steroid on this list which we wouldn’t class as safe, as it’s not FDA approved in medicine.  However, it is more tolerable than several other steroids, such as anadrol, trenbolone, winstrol, superdrol etc.

This is why dbol-only cycles are still a common protocol among novices as a first steroid cycle.

Furthermore, dianabol was widely used 50 years ago, when bodybuilders not only looked better, but were also much healthier. They could have their blood work done and everything could be in the normal range, whereas today bodybuilders are literally destroying their bodies with more powerful compounds; causing many to have heart attacks and drop dead prematurely.

Many bodybuilders from the golden era who used dianabol have gone on to live long lives, such as Franco Columbu who recently died at the age of 78. Others classic bodybuilders such as Arnold and Frank Zane and more are currently in their 70’s and also in good health as elderly men.

Dianabol is a similar compound to testosterone, however it is more anabolic, less androgenic and an oral steroid. Thus, on dianabol you’re likely to gain more muscle than on testosterone, whilst experiencing less androgenic side effects, such as oily skin, hair loss and acne. This is why many of the classic bodybuilders also kept their hair; because they were cycling less androgenic steroids (compared to harsher compounds used today).

A dianabol-only cycle is likely to produce 30lbs of mass, when taking a moderate dose of 15-20mg per day (for 6 weeks). Dianabol is one of the best bulking steroids, that is guaranteed to blow up a user’s muscles.

Side Effects

Dianabol is an C-17 alpha alkylated steroid, so it is going to pass through the liver and cause a notable amount of strain. However, unless someone abuses dbol, this strain is only going to be short-lived, as the liver self-restores itself post-cycle; causing AST and ALT enzymes to return back to normal. However, it is recommended to take a TUDCA supplement for extra liver protection during a dbol cycle.

The worst side effect on dianabol is the rise in blood pressure. This due to dbol being an oral steroid, thus having a greater negative effect on HDL cholesterol levels. Also dianabol is estrogenic, causing noticeable amounts of water retention and bloating when combined with a high calorie diet; adding to further spikes in blood pressure.

To reduce substantial increases in blood pressure, it is recommended to eat a clean diet; full of unsaturated fats whilst limiting sodium. Also cardio should be performed to reduce any cardiovascular strain that’s commonly experienced on dianabol.

Gyno is a possible side effect from taking dianabol, due to a high level of aromatization (conversion of testosterone into estrogen). Thus, a SERM can be taken to avoid any breast tissue forming in the chest region, such as clomid. Taking an AI will also be effective in preventing gyno, although blocking estrogen from a hormone level, will further increase blood pressure.

Testosterone levels will become suppressed when taking dianabol, thus an effective PCT protocol involving hCG, Clomid or Nolvadex will be needed to elevate natural test levels back to normal quickly. Generally, testosterone levels will return to normal levels within 1-4 months; however a PCT will shorten this process significantly.

What Are the Most Dangerous Steroids?

Anabolic steroids such as anadrol, trenbolone and winstrol are considered the least safe to use.

Anadrol is an oral steroid, like dianabol, however its effects on cholesterol, testosterone suppression and the liver are more significant.

Trenbolone is an injectable steroid, that was never approved medically for humans, but is used as a lean bulking agent for cattle. Although tren doesn’t cause much strain to the liver, it is very harsh on the body. This is due to it being 5x more androgenic than testosterone; thus blood pressure and testosterone suppression are likely to be severe. Bodybuilders use tren in bulking and cutting cycles to add large amounts of lean muscle.

Winstrol is an oral steroid, that poses great risks in contrast to a user’s gains when on it. Winstrol is very liver toxic and has a dramatically negative impact on cholesterol. It’;s also very androgenic causing hair loss, acne and testosterone suppression. In return, winstrol users can only expect to build moderate amounts of muscle, in conjunction with some fat loss. Its ability to build muscle size is notably inferior to compounds such as testosterone and dianabol, which are also safer. The only plus with winstrol, is that it doesn’t aromatize and thus gyno is not going to be a problem for users.

Summary

For 99% of people there’s no need to take any steroids that aren’t on this list.

Testosterone, anavar, primobolan and deca durabolin are the safest steroids you can take. We aren’t stating that dianabol is safe, as it’s not FDA approved and poses some strain to the heart and liver. However, it is one of the least dangerous steroids users can take, so it makes the list.

We hope this guide will enable steroid-users to make big gains, whilst keeping their health intact.

Although some of the steroids in this article are relatively safe, hence how they’re used in medicine; side effects are still possible. Also all anabolic steroids are illegal to use for bodybuilding purposes.

Thus, we do not encourage any of our readers to break the law, but instead to opt for legal steroid alternatives; which are designed to replicate the muscle-building and fat-burning effects of steroids (but without any negative effects). These are much safer than dangerous steroids, and even the steroids mentioned in this article.

Crazy Bulk are the leading producer of legal steroid alternatives worldwide, and you can save 20% on all of their products by clicking on the banner below. 

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Ernst Peibst
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