Anavar is not known to produce tremendous gains in muscle mass at the dosages most users ingest, it does however possess a reputation for burning fat and giving the body a more cut look.  Additionally, the muscle mass gained and fat burned tend to be more permanent than with the steroids associated with large muscle mass gains.  Anavar is considered one of the safest steroids available in terms of side effect profile.  Although it is C-17 alkylated, it has actually been shown to improve liver function over time, and negative feedback on the body’s production of endogenous sex hormones is far less pronounc ed than with most other compounds. 

Anavar was the original U.S. brand name for the oral steroid oxandrolone, first produced in 1964 by the drug manufacturer Searle.  It was designed to be an extremely mild anabolic, one that could be used safely as a growth stimulant in children.  Steroids are usually known to stunt growth primarily due to excess estrogen or estrogen metabolites affecting the epiphyseal plates of long bones.  The same hormonal mechanism is the reason why women stop growing sooner and have a shorter average height than men.  Oxandrolone will not aromatize into estrogen, therefore the anabolic effect of the compound can actually promote linear growth.  Women usually tolerate this drug well at low doses, and at one time it was prescribed for the treatment of osteoporosis in women.  As the opinions surrounding steroids began to change in the 1980′s, prescriptions for oxandrolone began to drop.  Lagging sales led Searle to discontinue manufacturing Anavar in 1989, and it has vanished from U.S. pharmacies until recently.  Oxandrolone tablets are again available inside the U.S. by BTG, bearing the new brand name Oxandrin.  BTG purchased rights to the drug from Searle and it is now manufactured for the new purpose of treating HIV/AIDS related wasting syndrome.

Anavar is a mild anabolic with low androgenic activity.  Its androgenic activity is reduced because it is a derivative of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and is already “5-alpha reduced.”  In other words, it lacks the capacity to interact with the 5-alpha reductase enzyme and convert to a more potent “dihydro” form.  Androgenic activity refers to binding affinity with androgenic receptors on target tissues.  In essence, oxandrolone has a balanced level of potency in both muscle and androgenic tissues such as the scalp, skin, and prostate because it does not convert to a “dihydro” metabolite.  The same is noted with both Primobolan and Winstrol, which are also derived from dihydrotestosterone yet not known to be very androgenic substances.  Anabolic steroids such as these are therefore less powerful overall than their more androgenic counterparts but cause far fewer side effects and are targeted much more specifically to skeletal muscle growth.

This steroid works well for the promotion of strength and increasing muscle mass.  However it is mild in overall effect which makes it less than ideal for bulking purposes.  Among bodybuilders it is most commonly used during cutting phases of training when water retention is a concern.  The standard dosage for men is in the range of 20-50mg per day, a level that should produce noticeable results.  It can be further combined with anabolics like Primobolan and Winstrol to elicit a harder, more defined look without added water retention.  Such combinations are popular and can dramatically enhance an already lean physique.  One can also add strong non-aromatizing androgens like Halotestin, Proviron or Trenbolone.  In this case the androgen will significantly harden the muscles, while at the same time making conditions more favorable for fat loss.  Some athletes do choose to incorporate oxandrolone into bulking stacks, usually with standard bulking drugs like Testosterone or Dianabol.  In this instance, strength and size is the main focus coupled perhaps with some cosmetic appeal due to less water retention overall.  Women who fear the masculinizing effects of many steroids are quite comfortable using this drug, as virilization is rarely seen with low doses.  In this case, a daily dosage of 5mg should illicit considerable growth without the noticeable androgenic side effects of other drugs.  Eager females may wish to add mild anabolics like Winstrol or Primobolan.  When combined with such anabolics, the user will notice more pronounced muscle-building effects, but may also increase the likelihood of androgenic side effects.

Studies using low dosages of this compound noted minimal interferences with natural testosterone production.  Likewise when it is used alone in small amounts there is typically no need for ancillary drugs like Clomid, Nolvadex, or HCG.  This is primarily due to oxandrolone not converting to estrogen, which has an extremely profound effect on endogenous hormone production.  Without estrogen triggering negative feedback, a higher threshold of dosage and cycle leng th is afforded to the athlete before inhibition occurs.  However, at higher dosages, a suppression of natural testosterone levels will occur with this drug as with any anabolic/androgenic steroid over time, therefore post cycle therapy to restore the HPTA is required.

Anavar is a 17alpha alkylated oral steroid, carrying an alteration that will put stress on the liver.  While liver enzyme tests will occasionally show elevated values, actual tissue damage as a result of taking this steroid is not often observed.  Bio-Tec hnology General states that oxandrolone is not as extensively metabolized by the liver as other l7aa orals are; evidenced by the fact that nearly a third of the compound is still intact when excreted in the urine.  This means hepatotoxicity is minimal.  One study comparing the effects of oxandrolone to other agents including methyltestosterone, norethandrolone, fluoxymesterone and methandriol clearly supports this notion.  Here it was demonstrated that oxandrolone causes the lowest sulfobromophthalein (BSP; a marker of liver stress) retention among all the alkylated orals tested.  In fact, 20mg of oxandrolone produced 72% less BSP retention than an equal dosage of fluoxyrnesterone.  With such findings, combined with abundant anecdotal evidence, most users bel ieve Anavar to be a safe choice overall.

At one time oxandrolone was considered as a possible drug for those suffering from disorders of high cholesterol or triglycerides.  Early studies showed it to be capable of lowering total cholesterol and triglyceride values in certain types of hyperlipidemic patients.  Initially, this was thought to signify potential for this drug as a hypo-lipid (lipid lowering) agent.  Further investigation found that while use of this drug can be linked to a lowering of total cholesterol valu es, it comprises a redistribution in the ratio of good (HDL) to bad (LDL) cholesterol, usually moving values in an unfavorable direction.  This negates any positive effect that the drug might have on triglycerides or total cholesterol, and in fact makes it a dangerous choice in terms of cardiac risk when taken for prolonged periods of time.  Today we understand that as a group, anabolic/androgenic steroids produce very unfavorable changes in lipid profiles, and are not useful in disorders of lipid metabolism.


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