What are Anabolic Androgenic Steroids?
Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) are a type of steroid hormone developed to promote anabolism; the process of building and synthesizing molecules in the body. All AAS are derivatives of the steroid hormone testosterone. AAS were designed to improve upon testosterone’s anabolic effect while minimize unwanted androgenic effect in treating patients with catabolic medical conditions. The anabolic effect of AAS are to promote protein synthesis through the efficient use of amino acids, prevent protein breakdown, retain nitrogen and build skeletal muscle. Androgenic effects are those related to puberty such as male pattern baldness, deepening of the voice, facial hair growth, increase sebaceous gland excretion. AAS, such as Anavar, have a high anabolic activity (high anabolic: androgenic ratio of 10:1) compared to testosterone (anabolic: androgenic ratio of 1:1).
What is Oxandrolone (Anavar)?
Oxandrolone a unique oral anabolic steroid hormone that is also known as Anavar. Anavar was first synthesized in 1962 and has been used in the medical treatment of catabolic disorders for over 30 years. Anavar is unique because it has great oral bioavailability (can be taken my mouth) and is resistant to liver metabolism. Anavar also does not get aromatized into estrogen compared to testosterone. The primary use of Anavar is to prevent frailty and the loss of muscle mass due to aging (sarcopenia) and other related catabolic clinical disorders such as HIV -related muscle waiting, severe burn injuries, trauma after surgery and hepatitis.
Anavar has been shown to:
- Decrease visceral fat and total body fat
- Increase protein synthesis in skeletal muscle
- Increase dietary energy and protein intake
- Increase nitrogen retention
- Increase muscle function, growth, strength and physical activity level
- Substitute for the natural loss of androgen and estrogen hormones
How does Oxandrolone (Anavar) work?
Anavar increases muscle mass in three ways
- Inducing protein synthesis in the body
- Up regulating the androgen receptor in skeletal muscle.
- Increasing IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor)
Anavar given to healthy men, has been shown to increase protein synthesis by as much as 44% and improve effects of resistance training.
What are the indications and usage for Anavar (Oxandrolone)?
Anabolic Androgenic Steroids are indicated in patients chronic wasting conditions (the loss of muscle mass) to prevent frailty. Such conditions include sarcopenia, AIDS related muscle wasting, severe burn injury, trauma following surgery and other catabolic disorders. Anavar is approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with prolonged use of corticosteroids to prevent protein catabolism and has been used to promote weight gain after extensive surgery, during chronic infectious states, or after severe trauma.
How is Oxandrolone (Anavar) absorbed?
Anavar is an oral medication that is absorbed across the gastrointestinal tract. Peak serum concentrations of Anavar occur within 1 hour after ingestion. In the body, Anavar is 95% bound to protein, which may contribute to the steroid’s stability and resistance to breakdown by the liver.
How is Oxandrolone (Anavar) metabolized (broken down)?
Unlike other anabolic steroids, Anavar is rather resistant to liver biotransformation. Approximately 28%of Anavar is excreted in the urine unchanged.
What is the difference between Testosterone and Oxandrolone (Anavar)?
Anavar has a much higher potential to promote anabolic effects on the human body such as an increase muscle size, strength, nitrogen retention, reduce fat deposition and induce protein synthesis compared to testosterone. While testosterone will also promote androgenic affects, Anavar was designed to lessen the unwanted androgenic effects and promote more anabolic properties.
Anavar has much higher anabolic activity compared to testosterone. Anavar has an anabolic: androgenic ratio of 10:1 and a higher steroid protein activity level (SPAI) of 2.8. Testosterone on the other hand has an anabolic: androgenic ration of 1:1 and an SPAI of 1.
How does using Oxandrolone (Anavar) effect Testosterone production?
Anavar usage will decrease the natural pituitary axis necessary to maintain testosterone production. Men who use Anavar will experience a decrease in LH, FSH, SHBG and total and free testosterone. More commonly in men with chronic muscle wasting conditions or HIV wasting, Anavar is combined with testosterone.
Anavar usage has been shown to reduce sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Reduction in SHBG reduction increases the amount of free testosterone (active) in the body.
What are the side effects of Oxandrolone (Anavar)?
The most common side effect of all AAS is liver toxicity and cholestatic jaundice, among others. Such adverse effects on the liver are demonstrated in patients utilizing high dosages of Oxandrolone for greater than 1 yr and concomitant use with other anabolic agents. No evidence suggests that short term use of Oxandrolone had led to the development of liver function impairment.
Other side effects of Anavar in males include:
- Inhibition of testicular function (infertility)
- Testicular atrophy
- Impotence (Erectile Dysfunction)
- Priapism (Prolonged Erection)
- Bladder Urgency and Frequency (worsening of lower urinary tract symptoms)
- Bleeding in patients currently on anticoagulant therapy
- Decreased glucose tolerance
Oxandrolone (Anavar) and Hepatotoxicity
All Anabolic Androgenic Steroids will impart a hepatic affect. Hepatic dysfunction has been shown to occur in men who have taken Anavar for greater than one year continuously. Hepatic dysfunctions as a result of Anavar use can include elevations in liver function enzymes, Peliosis hepatis, adenomas and concerns have been made for hepatocellular carcinoma. There has not been sufficient evidence to suggest that short term, less than 3 months of use of Anavar, will lead to serious forms of hepatotoxicity.
What is Peliosis Hepatis?
Peliosis Hepatis is a condition in which blood-filled cysts present in the liver and sometimes the spleen as a result of Anavar usage. The cysts can grow and accumulate within the liver, replacing normal hepatocytes that can lead to liver failure and dysfunction. Withdrawal of the medication can halt cyst growth and cyst regression.
Who should not take Oxandrolone (Anavar)?
- Any male with known history of or suspected prostate cancer or male breast cancer.
- Renal Dysfunction
What medications are contraindicated with Oxandrolone (Anavar) use?
Anabolic steroids, such as Anavar, can increase the activity and sensitivity of oral anticoagulants (blood thinners).
Oral Hypoglycemic Medications
Adrenal Steroids or ACTH