Anavar is the trade name for the oral anabolic steroid Oxandrolone, which is the generic chemical name. Anavar was developed and marketed during the height of anabolic steroid research between the 1950s and the 1980s. It is the apex of the never-ending quest to discover and develop an anabolic steroid that could be considered perfect. With this being said, Anavar is perhaps the closest that science has come to developing what would be considered the perfect anabolic steroid. It is renowned for its remarkable safety profile and side effect-to-benefit ratio – so much so that it is one of the few anabolic steroids deemed suitable as a medication for females and children (two patient types that are known for responding quite negatively to anabolic steroid therapies to begin with).
Anavar’s history begins in 1962 as Oxandrolone. Not long afterwards, it was released onto the prescription medication market under the trade name Anavar by G.D. Searle & Co. Laboratories, which is today known as Pfizer Inc. Other trade and brand names have been utilized for Oxandrolone by other pharmaceutical companies. These names include: Protivar, Anatrophil, Antitriol, Lipidex, and Lonavar. Anavar was one of the pharmaceutical industry’s biggest successes on the prescription market due to the plethora of medical reports indicating a vast amount of patients that tolerated the drug quite well.
Anavar is a modified derivative of DHT (Dihydroteststerone), and possesses several modifications that alter its activity in different ways. It is C-17 alpha alkylated in order to allow for oral administration, and a substitution of its second carbon atom with an oxygen atom, granting it stronger anabolic capabilities. In comparison with Testosterone, studies have demonstrated Anavar to have a minimum of 3 times and a maximum of 6 times the strength of Testosterone.
Chemical Characteristics of Anavar
Anavar is a DHT derivative anabolic steroid, falling under the family of DHT derived anabolic steroids. As such, Anavar is essentially Dihydrotestosterone with a methyl group attached to the 17th carbon (known as C17 Alpha Alkylation), which is the chemical structural modification that allows the anabolic steroid to survive the first pass through the liver when ingested orally, and allows the anabolic steroid to be more resistant to hepatic metabolism. It also contains a modification at the 2nd carbon of the first cycloalkane ring, whereby the 2nd carbon is removed and replaced with an Oxygen atom. This is what structurally makes Anavar extremely unique among all anabolic steroids, as it is the only anabolic steroid to possess a direct modification (the complete replacement of a carbon atom with a different atom) in its ring structure. It is this modification that is believed to increase the anabolic strength of the hormone in comparison to its parent hormone DHT. One of the methods by which this modification increases Anavar’s anabolic strength (in comparison to DHT) is believed to be an increased resistance to the enzyme 3-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, which is the enzyme highly abundant in muscle tissue that is responsible for the conversion of Dihydrotestosterone into a non-anabolic inactive metabolite. Hence this is the reason as to why Dihydrotestosterone is not anabolic in muscle tissue, as it is essentially deactivated by 3-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase before it can act on androgen receptors in muscle tissue.
Properties of Anavar (Oxandrolone)
Anavar is an anabolic steroid belonging to the Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) family of anabolic steroid derivatives/analogues. Other compounds that belong in this ‘DHT family’ of anabolic steroids include Winstrol, Primobolan, Masteron, as well as several others which are all derivatives of the parent anabolic steroid DHT. The common factor among all of these anabolic steroids is that they are, in one way or another, modified forms of DHT and thus DHT could be considered the ‘parent’ hormone of these anabolic steroids. Anavar itself possesses a distinct favor of anabolic strength over its androgenic strength (as seen by its anabolic rating of 322 – 630 in light of its androgenic rating of 24). In comparison with Testosterone, which has an anabolic:androgenic ratio of 100:100 respectively, it is easily seen that Anavar is far less androgenic and possesses a stronger anabolic strength of at least 3 times the strength of Testosterone, and studies have demonstrated anabolic strength as high as 6 times that of Testosterone with very little accompanying androgenic activity. Anavar does not possess any measurable estrogenic activity (due to its nature of being a DHT derivative), nor does it hold any Progestogenic activity.
It can be easily seen how these characteristics make Anavar a favorable compound among athletes and bodybuilders wishing to increase athletic performance, muscle gain, and strength gain where the additional water weight gain is undesired. It is also an anabolic steroid used extensively by bodybuilders wishing to shed body fat and maintain as much muscle as possible during a caloric deficit, where once again extra water weight and possible fat retention/gain is not desired. As one may be able to easily see, Anavar is quite a versatile compound in terms of its uses. For an anabolic steroid commonly touted as being ‘mild’, it actually possesses some very impressive anabolic strength as we can see from Anavar’s anabolic rating of 322 – 630 versus Testosterone’s rating of 100; and when compared to the other popular ‘mild’ anabolic steroid Primobolan, with its anabolic rating of 88, we can see how Anavar is not as ‘mild’ in the sense of anabolic strength as many have made it out to be. In regards to its reported anabolic rating of 322 – 630, the reason why it is given this range as opposed to one solid number for its anabolic rating (such as Trenbolone’s rating of a solid 500 or Testosterone’s rating of a solid 100) is due to Anavar’s nature as an oral anabolic steroid. It is understood that anabolic steroids display a very poor percentage of survivability through liver metabolism when ingested orally. As we know that oral anabolic steroids are modified at the 17th carbon (known as C17 Alpha Alkylation) in order for the anabolic steroid to become more resistant to breakdown in the liver, this grants a very high percentage for anabolic steroids to pass through the liver into the bloodstream, but this does not ensure that 100% of the anabolic steroid makes it through. Some percentage will still be unfortunately lost, and therefore that is the reason why instead of a solid number, a general range is given for many anabolic steroids (mostly oral compounds for the reasons stated, as strength can vary due to liver metabolism).
Anavar Side Effects
As previously touched upon, Anavar is hailed with praise among bodybuilders, athletes, and the medical community for its incredible side effect-to-benefit ratio and its general lack of negative side effects in comparison with many other anabolic steroids.
Estrogenic side effects are completely nonexistent with Anavar due to the fact that it is a derivative of DHT, which is an androgenic hormone that is already unable to convert into Estrogen. As such, Anavar retains this characteristic. In other words, the side effects typical of Estrogen (such as water retention, bloating, fat retention/gain, and development of gynecomastia) are completely unseen. In addition to a total lack of Estrogenic activity, Anavar also completely lacks any Progestogenic activity as well, thus negating any potential negative effects there too.
Although Anavar is comparably less androgenic than Testosterone by a great deal, side effects here can still surface especially in those individuals who may be sensitive to androgenic side effects. These can include increased oily skin, acne, hair growth increases in the face and body, and risks involving male pattern baldness (MPB) as well as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Despite what is commonly touted about Anavar being “mild on the endocrine system”, there is evidence to the complete contrary where studies have demonstrated almost 40% suppression of endogenous Testosterone production and testicular function after only 5 days of use at 15mg per day in healthy young men. Therefore, Anavar should not be taken lightly in the area of suppressed and disrupted hormonal function. If it can suppress the HPTA (Hypothalamic Pituitary Testicular Axis) after a mere 5 days of use at 15mg per day, it can and will induce complete shutdown over weeks of use at higher ‘bodybuilding doses’.
In comparison with other oral anabolic steroids, studies have demonstrated that Anavar expresses the least amount of hepatotoxicity and strain on liver function of all of them. It should be noted that Anavar still expresses a degree of toxicity in this area, so it is still advisable not to utilize Anavar for an 8 – 10 week period at reasonable dosages. Proper supplementation with good liver support compounds is also always essential when utilizing oral anabolic steroids, no matter how mild they may be claimed to be.
Anavar Cycles and Uses
Although Anavar has gained popularity as being a ‘cutting agent’ or ‘cutting steroid’ throughout the past, its capabilities are not limited strictly to this. Although it can perform and assist quite well in the area of achieving fat loss and physique definition, it is an excellent compound for mass gaining, strength, and bulking. Being that it is 3 – 6 times the anabolic strength of Testosterone, Anavar cycles can indeed be bulking cycles without issue.
However, because Anavar does impose some strain and toxicity in the area of liver function, it cannot be utilized for the same length of time as those core injectable compounds can. Therefore, it is often included at the beginning of any cycle for the first 6 – 8 weeks before it is discontinued. Anavar cycles can be extended to a maximum of 10 weeks at a reasonable dosage, however, due to its lower degree of liver toxicity than other oral compounds. For the purposes of bulking, Anavar cycles are normally run with similar compounds used for bulking, such as a long-estered Testosterone (e.g. Enanthate) and possibly a compound such as Deca-Durabolin (Nandrolone Decanoate).
For its use in fat loss and cutting, Anavar cycles are often shorter and utilized with compounds used for achieving similar goals. These can be anabolic steroids such as Testosterone Propionate, Trenbolone Acetate, Masteron (Drostanolone Propionate), etc. These compounds generally hold the same characteristics as Anavar and promote very little to no water retention or bloating that is often not desired during cutting and fat loss phases where it is important for the bodybuilder to observe changes in physique definition.
Anavar Dosages and Administration
The vast majority of medical applications called for an Anavar dosage in the range of 2.5 – 20mg per day, which was of course heavily dependent on the type of sickness, disease, or disorder that Anavar was intended for. Within medicine, Anavar has been utilized as an example in AIDS patients within the range of 20 – 80mg per day in order to combat and/or reverse muscle wasting. The same has also been demonstrated with burn victims. This is a solid indication of the general dosage range that would be effective for muscle growth and athletics. As Anavar is a drug with plenty of experience with different ages of patients, the effects of Anavar are also not dependent on age.
Although Anavar has been wrongfully touted as being a ‘mild steroid’ in the area of anabolic capability, studies have shown otherwise, and as previously mentioned thus far, it is a compound that is 3 – 6 times the anabolic strength of Testosterone. Therefore, in the athletics and bodybuilding world, Anavar dosages for beginners tend to start and stay in the 25 – 50mg per day range and should provide great results whether bulking up or trimming down the fat. Advanced users tend to venture between 50 – 80mg per day, and there is usually no need to exceed this range due to the dramatic results that such an Anavar dosage can provide. Very rarely, however, experienced advanced Anavar dosages venture within the 80 – 100mg per day range.
Being that Anavar is a great anabolic steroid for the female athlete and bodybuilder that wishes to minimize and eliminate androgenic virilization side effects as demonstrated in studies, most females will utilize an Anavar dosage within 5 – 10mg per day. Advanced female users that may want to push the envelope tend to rise up to 20mg per day, though it is recommended that any and all female use of Anavar for bodybuilding or athletic purposes be limited to no longer than 4 – 6 weeks at a time.
There is also something to be said about combining an Anavar dosage with caffeine. One study has demonstrated that just 300mg of caffeine administered alongside Anavar increased subjects’ blood plasma levels of Anavar by 15 – 20x compared to baseline levels.