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Anabolic Steroid Effect on the Liver : Current Sports Medicine Reports
Back when John Ziegler first introduced Dianabol aka methandrostenolone or metandienone to American athletes, a dose of milligrams per day was cautiously suggested as an effective dose…and this is exactly the dose most athletes took. National and international records in weightlifting were set on milligrams, daily, and for the next few years few if any athletes experimented with higher doses. In fact, ten milligrams was the recommended therapeutic dose for males.
Many athletes feared that using a higher dose would be hepatotoxic liver toxic. When combined with training the gain was over three and a half pounds. A study published one year later in on 24 men with no prior weight training experience showed a five and a half pound body weight gain in just three weeks, using just ten milligrams per day. A study using the same dose, was performed in 18 experienced weightlifters, which netted them an average of eight and a half pounds of body weight, this time over four weeks.
Subsequent research on much higher doses failed to produce proportionately greater results:. Arnold won the Mr. Olympia contest on similarly low doses of Dianabol, and not much else. Fast-forward to the present day and most underground labs produce a 50mg pill, and very few bodybuilders would consider using it alone or at a lower dose.
Back then, the precise effects of oral steroids on the liver were unknown and most users were conservative in their cycles. Hepatotoxicity liver toxicity, remember? So what makes steroids potentially hepatotoxic? To create Dianabol, a double bond is added to the base structure of testosterone at the c position blue and alpha alkylation red is substituted at the 17 position uncreatively known as C alpha alkylation — this is the most common way of making a steroid orally active…and liver-toxic.
In the case of Dianabol, if an undeclynate ester were applied instead of alpha alkylation to make it an injectable, we would be looking at Equipoise.
When I look at methyltestosterone the same structure without that bond , I see a more toxic, less effective anabolic. When you ingest Dianabol or any C alpha alkylated steroid , it travels to the intestines, is absorbed into portal circulation, then transported to the liver. The liver is the primary deactivator and metabolizer of androgens like testosterone. But this is exactly where most oral steroids end up. An exception to this rule is Andriol, which is testosterone with an undecanoate ester, an unusual oral steroid that makes use of a gel cap and avoids the liver through being absorbed into the lymphatic system.
An alternative way to deliver testosterone orally would obviously be to alkylate it at the 17th carbon position thereby creating the aforementioned methyltestosterone and of course, another way to deliver testosterone would be to inject it, perhaps with 17 beta esterification and a propionate ester.
Of note here is that it is not the testosterone itself that can potentially cause problems with the liver — because studies performed on injectable and topical testosterone do not show the same liver enzyme elevation as seen with methyltestosterone in the chart below, L. Another exception to the rule of alpha alkylating steroids for oral use is Primobolan tablets methenolone acetate.
But again, as we saw with Andriol, this is a very weak and very expensive anabolic steroid. This is why C alpha alklyation is the preferred method of making anabolic steroids orally active. Unfortunately, this is also the modification that causes them to stress the liver. But within this set of oral steroids, there is a great deal of disparity in their effect on the liver.
Some users have experienced jaundice, peliosis hepatitis, hepatic tumors, hepatocellular adenomas, and elevated liver enzymes…. However, elevated liver enzymes are simply an indication of the liver performing its function and breaking down the steroids being run through it, not a sign of dysfunction — because good evidence exists to state that simply exercising causes similar changes to liver function in terms of elevating specific enzymes:.
Such reports may have misled the medical community to emphasize steroid-induced hepatotoxicity…. Does the choice of alpha-AAS really make a difference? J Gastroenterol ;35 7: Medical Hypotheses 93 — Anabolic androgenic steroid-induced hepatotoxicity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Lancet Nov 24;2 J Pharmacol Toxicol Methods Aug;33 4: Arch Toxicol Nov;73 Clin J Sport Med Jan;9 1: Int J Sports Med Aug;17 6: Sign Up For Our Newsletter: