Q: I’ve been on and off steroids for years. I respond well to them even at pretty low doses (300-600mg/week), but always crash afterwards no matter what I do. Lately I’ve been trying something different. For the past 12 weeks I’ve been taking 100mg of orals (Winstrol, Dianabol, Anadrol) per week, and have slowly been gaining size (about 5 pounds of lean mass) and strength.
I am hoping this will produce more permanent gains; less estrogen conversion to worry about and it shouldn’t suppress my natural testosterone. Do you have any knowledge of the efficacy of low-dose long-term use of anabolics?
A: Given that most of the oral anabolics have less estrogenicity than the standard of reference (testosterone), you should find that size is better maintained at the conclusion of a cycle compared to injectable testosterones, as you are holding, and as a result will be excreting, less water weight. When all is said and done, you’ll seem to hold more of the weight you gained on oral anabolics simply because more of what you gained was quality muscle (not water bulk) in the first place.
Anadrol is an exception among your list as it is highly estrogenic. Given the doses you are using, however, I suspect you will not notice this trait much, and (in line with what you stated) should be noticing some modest but measurable gains in strength and lean muscle mass. In the end you’ll probably gain more lean mass on a formidable dose of testosterone, but again, the difference between your on-cycle bulk weight and your off-cycle retained mass weight will be more noticeable on a cycle like this too.
If my math is correct, you are taking about 15 milligrams of oral anabolics per day. I don’t want you to be mistaken into thinking this is a “very low” dose. O.K., by some of the standards of excess today it may be considered low, but in a clinical sense it most certainly is not. Winstrol is given at a dose of 6 milligrams per day or less most commonly. When Dianabol was widely prescribed in the U.S., the common application was 5 milligrams per day. Aside from Anadrol, the doses you are taking are outside of the therapeutic range, and enough to present significant gains in lean tissue, as you have noticed. In fact, during the 1960’s and ‘70s fifteen milligrams per day was a common dose for athletes and bodybuilders.
This level of use is also more than sufficient to suppress natural testosterone production, so you still going to have to deal with some type of crash at the conclusion of this cycle, even if it is less pronounced due to less water retention. As such, a proper PCT (Post-Cycle Therapy) program is probably a good idea to look at.
The main concern I have with this practice is the fact that you are applying a sufficient dose of c-17 alpha alkylated oral steroids each day, and it is continuing for a significant amount of time. The usual cutoff point is 6-8 weeks. Immediately, I would question what your serum lipids are doing. How are you HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels responding to this cycle? As you may know, oral c-17 alpha alkylated steroids present much more toxicity to the body than injectable testosterones (and related non-alkylated steroids).
They tend to greatly shift the HDL:LDL balance in an unfavorable direction (increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease), and place some strain on the liver. While I wouldn’t be go so far as to say this type of practice is outright dangerous to your immediate health, I would most certainly recommend that you take caution. With any oral cycle, especially one going on for a prolonged period of time, you should be getting periodic checks on your lipids, liver enzymes, blood pressure, and general markers of health. If you find the drugs are placing too much strain on your body, they probably aren’t worth it.
If you find such is true in your situation, you’d likely be much better off looking back at the old standby injectables liketestosterone and nandrolone, which present no significant liver stress and have a much lower negative effect on serum lipids – crash and water retention be damned.