There are two main types of anabolic steroids; orals and injectables, both of which function by way of the same end goal (synthesis of proteins leading to muscle growth), yet each type has its own unique advantages, disadvantages, side-effects and application.
It is more than possible that some readers will be more familiar with one type over the other; perhaps having dabbled in one form before moving on to another at some point in time. But for those who remain confused as to what exactly separates these two forms, hopefully this article will serve not only to inform but also educate.
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So, let’s get started…
Oral steroids are simply any injectable steroid that can be taken via the mouth. Oral anabolic steroids can be broken down into three main categories: 17-alpha alkylated (most popular), 19-nortestosterone, and 18-methyl.
As their classification suggests these substances are altered at the 17th carbon position in order to survive oral ingestion and the first liver pass, which is a common method of clearance for orally ingested drugs. The alteration enables them to remain strong enough during this first pass through the liver to make it into circulation and eventually produce results at their target site (muscle tissue).
Though they may sound like some hideous experiment gone wrong, don’t be fooled or frightened away just yet. These alterations actually serve 3 separate purposes:
- They allow the drug to survive the first liver pass.
- They reduce the potential for aromatization (conversion to estrogen).
- They bind to the SHBG receptor site more effectively than their non-17aa counterpart.
There are various advantages to using an oral steroid over the injectable version. These include:
Ease of use – An oral compound can be taken in pill form and simply swallowed, no need for injections or syringes. For some (especially children and the elderly) injecting a substance such as Testosterone might prove too daunting, but swallowing a pill is always much easier.
Discretion – Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of preparing and injecting a substance into the body, let alone doing so in public or in front of others. If discretion is key, then an oral might be your best option.
Ease of travel – Travelling to some countries can be extremely difficult if you are carrying syringes/needles or vials of injectable compounds. Even if you have a doctor’s note saying the substance is for personal use, there is still always the possibility of being searched at customs.
Faster results– Oral steroids are generally considered to be superior when compared to injectable versions. This is especially noticeable in terms of gains in mass and strength in comparison to Testosterone Enanthate for example.
Shorter detection window– Oral steroids are rapidly metabolized so they will clear your body much faster than injectable steroids, in fact oral steroids clear the body within a day or two. That’s why you don’t need to worry about their detection time in any kind of drug tests.
There are always going to be some potential side effects associated with any compound, and orals can be no different. Some possible negative implications of using an oral steroid might include:
Estrogenic – Liver toxicity and elevated estrogen levels due to aromatization cannot be underrated here. It should be noted that 17-alpha alkylated substances will not promote such conditions but even so, all compounds carry this risk. For those sensitive to estrogenic side effects these can be quite unpleasant if not intolerable (gynecomastia for men and persistent water retention/slight bloating for women).
Negative cholesterol changes – Changes in HDL/LDL cholesterol levels is a major concern when considering anabolic steroids. Oral steroids are responsible for this concern more so than injectables, as they tend to have a much greater impact on cholesterol levels. This can be combated with the use of OTC supplements such as fish oil and vitamin B complexes, but for some this might not be enough to counter the negative effects.
Bypass liver toxicity – Liver damage when using oral compounds is always a possibility; especially when considering 17-alpha alkylated (17aa) orals such as Anadrol 50. These substances in particular carry a high risk due to their methylation at carbon 17; however, it should be noted that all oral steroids come with some risk here. For those who find themselves sensitive to hepatic/liver complications, injectable steroids such as Testosterone suspension can be a better choice.
Increase in blood pressure – Some oral compounds (especially those with 17aa) will increase blood pressure which could cause problems for those who are already at risk of hypertension. Of course, this is also dependent on other factors such as dosage and total cycle length; however, it should always be taken into consideration. Blood pressure monitors can serve as an excellent tool to ensure that changes (or potential changes) go unnoticed and thus remain safe.
The best will always be the ones that meet your specific needs and goals, but we can give you a general list of recommendations.
- Trenbolone (Finaplix-H pellets) – These are used primarily in veterinary science to increase muscle mass and output when livestock is required for slaughter; also known as Fina pellets. Trenbolone is actually an altered form of Nandrolone which produces fast results when bulking/gaining lean body mass thanks to strong androgenic properties. Side effects can occur however if this steroid is abused and or misused, so caution should be taken even though it remains one of the most effective steroids on the market today.
- Testosterone (undecanoate)- Has long been the most popular steroid of all time (and for good reason). Testosterone is equally effective regardless of whether it’s injected or ingested, which means that oral versions can be just as strong. Organon has produced perhaps the best on the market; known as Ora-Testryl (undecanoate) and features a full release mechanism giving users 12 hours worth of effects per tablet!
Stacking is also possible so users can combine their favorite injectable with an oral to maximize benefits while minimizing side effects/risks.
- Anadrol 50 – belongs to a family called 17aa steroids which are considered by many to be the most powerful oral compounds in existence. Anadol 50 possesses massive popularity for its incredible ability to promote rapid mass/weight gain although it comes with a price; namely liver toxicity and elevated blood pressure.
- Trenbolone – Although Tren is not an oral it remains one of the most effective steroids ever developed; in fact this compound has become so popular that many people do not even refer to it as an oral steroid but rather just “tren”. Many elite bodybuilders including Jay Cutler have made heavy use of this drug for its rapid, almost immediate effects which can easily turn into muscle within just weeks. The downsides are very real, however (liver toxicity, increased blood pressure) which can make Anadol 50 or Testosterone undecanoate better choices for some athletes depending on their needs and goals.
- Dianabol – Although Dianabol is not necessarily the strongest steroid on the market, it’s an excellent mass/weight gain compound that can help many athletes increase their overall size and strength. This steroid was popular for decades in both oral and injectable forms; however, its current popularity has declined due to safer alternatives with similar effects. The benefit here is that there are no injections required; users only need to take one pill per day with 10mg being the standard daily dose (many will increase this dosage by 50mg or 100mg when stacking).
As far as oral steroids are concerned, there is one indirect negative implication that should always be taken into consideration. The longer you use an orally ingested steroid, the more likely it will be that its effects will reflect on your mind as well as your body. This does not mean that a first-time user who has only taken a compound for a short duration will experience no mental changes; only that the individual will have to stop taking the compound before any noticeable change can take place. Whether this is positive or negative depends on the individual and his/her goal(s). For those looking to steer clear of any possible harmful mental implications, injectable options such as Testosterone suspension might be better suited for personal use.
Injectable steroids are also known as “intra-muscular” steroids. These compounds can be oil based or water based. Almost all injectable steroids are administered in the same way; subcutaneously (under the skin via pin prick) although there are some that can be administered intramuscularly (via needle). Such examples of the latter include Testosterone propionate and Trenbolone acetate.
- Testosterone suspension
- Trenbolone Acetate
- Equipoise (Boldenone Undecylenate)
- Masteron (Drostanolone Propionate)
- Primobolan (Methenolone Enanthate)
- Anavar (Oxandrolone)
- Deca Durabolin (Nandrolone Decanoate)
Injectables have a number of benefits associated with them, including:
Great for bulking/strength phases – Injectables such as Deca Durabolin or Equipoise will promote significant strength and size gains compared to their oral counterparts such as Dianabol. This is due to the fact that injectables have a lower hepatoxicity, thus promoting greater nitrogen retention/protein synthesis as well as enhanced red blood cell production.
Injectables can be used at any time – Because injectables are so versatile and their effects so long lasting it makes them a good choice for those who plan to use steroids throughout an entire year. This is due to the fact that they do not need to be cycled every few weeks like oral forms.
Less liver strain – As with any oral/17aa Steroids, liver strain is always a possibility; but the use of injectable steroids makes this issue less of a concern. Of course, the total length of the cycle, as well as other factors such as total dosage also play a role here; but injectables such as Deca Durabolin can be taken for over a year with little to no liver strain.
Increased DHT conversion – Because injectable steroids are not affected by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, DHT levels will be increased more than what is seen with their oral counterparts. This can lead to greater gains in terms of overall mass; however, it also increases the risk of side effects such as hair loss, prostate hypertrophy and acne issues.
Great for cutting/definition phases – As injectables are not affected by hepatic breakdown they can be used at any point during a cycle without affecting overall results. Some may opt to use an injectable steroid towards the latter half of their cycle (closer to competition) in order to give them that extra definition they need on stage.
Injections that are incorrect might be dangerous– Although its rare, accidents do happen. For instance, if one injects themselves in the wrong spot they could be putting themselves at risk for infections due to dirty needles/syringes.
The usual intramuscular injection sites include:
1.) Gluteus Maximus
3.) Sub-Cutaneous (Upper Arm)
Injections can cause pain– Some people are very sensitive when it comes to injecting anything into their body; even something as small as an insulin needle. This is not so much of a concern during most bulking phases where dosage will be higher than what would ever be required during a cutting phase, but it is still something that should always be taken into consideration by anyone who plans on taking them long term.
Injections may cause HIV Infection– Injectable steroids are associated with a higher risk of contracting the HIV virus as they have been known to cause small tears in the muscle tissue/skin that can lead to increased chances of infection. This is one reason why it is always best to use a new needle each and every time you inject anabolic steroids rather than re-using/sharing needles with others.
There are several quality injectable steroids available today; however, some seem to always stand above the rest. The following list includes the most commonly used injectables today along with their benefits.
- Deca Durabolin (Nandrolone Decanoate) – This steroid has long been associated with mass/strength gains that are hard to match by any other anabolic steroid. More importantly, it’s one of the few injectable steroids that is also considered to be both safe and tolerable for long term use. This is because Deca Durabolin was specifically designed to have a very slow-release time within the body which reduces the strain on your kidneys/liver while at the same time giving you optimal benefits with minimal side effects.
- Equipoise (Boldenone Undecylenate) – This steroid can be used by both men & women without any fear of virilization thanks to its low conversion rate of testosterone into Dihydrotestosterone. Although it’s not as commonly used as something like Testosterone Enanthate or Sustanon-250, it’s a very effective injectable steroid that has a clean buildup of mass and noticeable gains in strength.
- Sustanon-250 (Testosterone Blend) – This is one of the most popular anabolic steroids on the market today, but at the same time it comes with some risk to those who use it. It’s a blend of four different Testosterone esters which can cause large fluctuations at any given time during its cycle. In other words, not only will your libido be all over the place but so will your energy levels and overall gains throughout the entirety of its cycle; however, this also means you won’t have to pin as often so there is always an advantage to its use.
- Trenbolone Acetate – This is one of the most powerful anabolic steroids available today as it will not only pack on mass like nothing else, but you’ll also notice a significant increase in strength. What makes this steroid truly unique is its ability to greatly reduce recovery time which allows you to work out much more frequently without any negative side effects that can be associated with other steroids.
- Testosterone Cypionate – This anabolic steroid carries a half-life of approximately twelve days at a dose of 250mg per week; however, many cycles are begun at 500mg per week and then tapered down to 250mg at the tail end. It’s well known for being able to build quality muscle mass while at the same time promoting notable increases in strength.
Can you combine oral and injectable steroids?
Yes, an individual can combine oral and injectable steroids providing that the total amount of both types of drugs do not exceed 1 gram per week. The reason for this is that excessive amounts of either type of steroid will result in liver toxicity which can lead to serious health problems. Additionally, it’s always best to stay away from any C17-alpha alkylated steroids due to increased hepatoxicity especially if you already suffer from some form of a liver problem.
Do injectable steroids work best?
Injectable steroids will work best for those who are beginners to the world of anabolic/androgenic steroid use as they’re much milder in nature and provide a slow buildup of gains over time. Oral steroids, on the other hand, can give you great gains from day one but might not be suitable if you already suffer from some form of a liver problem.
What is the most powerful injectable steroid?
Testosterone propionate would take first place as it carries a half-life of just three days and is very fast acting; however, Sustanon-250 which contains four different Testosterone esters (propionate being one) would then come in second due to its quick buildup yet need to administer multiple injections in a week.
What is the most powerful oral steroid?
Trenbolone would take top honors in this category as it is very potent and can pack on mass and strength like nothing else; however, any C17-alpha alkylated steroid (handedness of C17 does not matter) would then come in second place due to a significant increase in liver stress when compared to other non-alkylated steroids such as Testosterone Undecanoate.
It all really boils down to what is your personal preference when choosing between oral steroids or injectable steroids. If you are looking for impressive gains in strength and size with minimal liver stress then you’ll want to choose an injectable steroid which is usually a blend of Testosterone esters with Testosterone being the base compound most commonly used; however, if you’re looking for slower but more pronounced muscle fiber growth then an oral steroid will be perfect.