Every steroid user at some point has asked themselves the same question — “Do I use orals or injectable steroids?”.
Many beginners are put off by injectable steroids; due to a fear of needles, injecting incorrectly or just being a pain in the butt (excuse the pun).
Are injectable steroids really safer for users?
Are orals really as bad as their reputation suggests?
In this article, we analyse the pros and cons of orals vs injectable steroids, so you know what to expect and which method of administration is optimal for you.
- Primobolan (Methenolone Acetate)
- Testosterone Undecanoate
Oral Steroids Pros
Oral steroids (pills) are very convenient to take. Just swallow a tablet with water and you’re good to go. You also don’t have to worry about the liver breaking down the substance and making it ineffective, as the most popular orals are c17-alpha alkylated; meaning a large percentage of the compound will survive liver metabolism.
Oral steroids on average have shorter half-lives compared to injectables, thus they will kick in faster, giving you results in a matter of days. For example, with Testosterone Undecanoate, serum testosterone levels peak in the bloodstream 5 hours after administration. Consequently, orals require more frequent doses, to keep high levels of sustained exogenous testosterone in the body.
Shorter Detection Time
Oral steroids’ detection time is typically less than injectables, thus if you are trying to avoid getting flagged for a drug test and want all compounds to leave your system as soon as possible — orals are more suitable.
Below is a table comparing the detection time of orals vs injectable steroids.
|Oral Steroids||Detection Time||Injectable Steroids||Detection Time|
|Winstrol||3 weeks||Winstrol depot||9 weeks|
|Anavar||3 weeks||Testosterone Enanthate||3 months|
|Primobolan||5 weeks||Testosterone cypionate||3 months|
|Andriol||5 weeks||Sustanon 250||3-4 months|
|Dianabol||6 weeks||Trenbolone acetate||5 months|
|Anadrol||8 weeks||Deca durabolin||18 months|
There are however exceptions to this rule, with injectable steroids such as Testosterone Suspension having a detection time of just 1-2 days.
Oral Steroids Cons
Bad for the Heart
Oral steroids generally are worse for the heart, due to them lowering HDL cholesterol levels more than injectables. HDL is the good cholesterol score that when high can lower blood pressure, and when low can spike BP.
Many orals stimulate hepatic lipase, an enzyme present in the liver, that lowers HDL cholesterol.
Anadrol, Dianabol and Winstrol are among the worst steroids for heart health, demonstrating detrimental effects to HDL and LDL cholesterol levels.
Thus, if your main concern is protecting your heart when taking steroids and keeping your blood pressure in check; injectable steroids (particularly Testosterone) are a better option.
However, this isn’t to say injectable steroids cannot spike blood pressure to high levels, because they surely can; especially if the compound is powerful enough (such as Trenbolone).
Orals are also hepatotoxic, meaning they will stress the liver, signified by ALT and AST liver enzymes shooting up. Some bodybuilders aren’t overly worried about this side effect, considering the liver often repairs itself post-cycle and has powerful self-healing properties.
To ease on the side of caution bodybuilders often take TUDCA for liver support when taking orals. Alcohol should also be avoided, plus stacking hepatotoxic steroids together such as Dianabol/Anadrol is not recommended.
There are exceptions to this rule; however, with some orals not causing significant liver stress; such as Anavar or Testosterone Undecanoate.
Anavar’s hepatic effects are mild due to the kidneys working to process Oxandrolone, taking stress off the liver. Equally, Testosterone Undecanoate poses no risk, completely bypassing the liver; being absorbed by the lymphatic system.
The biological availability of orals can be significantly less compared to injectable steroids — if used incorrectly.
For example, oral steroids are not to be consumed with dietary fat, because many tablets are fat-soluble. Thus, most oral steroids are to be taken without food for maximum results.
The only exception to this is Testosterone Undecanoate (otherwise known as Testocaps or Andriol); which should be taken with a high-fat meal (19+ grams).
Legal Steroid Alternatives That Work
Injectable steroids are administered deep into the muscle, known as intramuscular injections. These are typically performed in the buttocks or the outer thigh.
Less Liver Toxic
It’s a myth that injectable steroids do not stress the liver. They do pose some toxicity and can result in liver failure in rare cases of steroid abuse. Although they enter the bloodstream immediately, it is believed that they pass through the liver upon leaving the body. However, the strain is far less compared to orals and thus isn’t considered an issue.
Therefore, many bodybuilders will not feel the need to take a liver support supplement (such as TUDCA or milk thistle) when merely cycling injectables.
Better for the Heart
All steroids are going to increase blood pressure as they are all variants of exogenous testosterone, thus LDL levels will rise and HDL levels will drop.
However, injectable steroids are considered less damaging to the heart because they don’t stimulate hepatic lipase, an enzyme (previously mentioned) that significantly decreases good cholesterol. Consequently, injectable steroids may cause less plaque build-up in the arteries.
Incorrect Injections Could Prove Fatal
If a user injects into the wrong location, septic shock or nerve damage are possible outcomes. These are very serious outcomes, potentially resulting in disability or death. Thus, it’s important users know how to inject properly if they are to take oil-based steroids.
Common Intramuscular injection sites:
- Outer thigh
Below is a diagram and demonstration of Dr. Nabil Ebraheim performing a correct intramuscular injection into the buttocks.
Risk of HIV
One of the most prevalent causes of why people contract HIV is through sharing needles.
When a person injects themselves, some of their blood will remain in the syringe (and needle). Thus, such precautions are needed with this method of administration, compared to simply popping a pill.
Certain steroids can be painful to inject, such as Testosterone Propionate, whilst other steroids are administered more smoothly. Muscle soreness is also common, which can be experienced deep within the muscle and can last for hours or days.
A violent dry cough is common when injecting steroids, particularly when administering Trenbolone — a sensation known as ‘Tren cough’. This reaction occurs when the oil hits a blood vessel, immediately resulting in several seconds of intense coughing. This is a common reaction when injecting, occurring roughly 1 out of 5 times. This is not a dangerous side effect, despite it being a scary experience for beginners.
When the oil hits a vessel, foreign metabolites enter the lungs; thus the body coughs as a self-defence mechanism to expel such substances. This results in a metallic taste in the mouth.
The reason why this is more commonly experienced when injecting Trenbolone is because it’s an irritant to the lungs, similar to how cayenne pepper is an irritant to the skin.
Do Injectable Steroids Produce Better Gains?
In theory, injectable steroids may produce better gains as they don’t need to bypass the liver; and thus their biological availability is higher than orals.
However, this doesn’t exactly correlate with real-life results, where orals seem to be just as powerful (if not more so in some examples).
Research has shown that despite orals having less biological availability, they can alter how the compound is utilized by the body. For example, orals have the power to alter tissue selectivity and hepatic IGF 1 release, which completely changes the compound’s chemistry; and consequently, users’ results can be more/less.
Also, anabolic, androgen, progesterone and estrogen scores can also change; depending on the method of administration — as well as the half-lives/detection times (as already discussed).
What is the Safest Oral Steroid?
Anavar, Primobolan (Methenolone Acetate) and Testosterone Undecanoate are all reasonably safe oral steroids.
However, these 3 compounds also have something in common — they’re expensive.
Testosterone Undecanoate is the safest oral steroid when bulking and trying to pack on mass.
Anavar and Primobolan are the safest oral steroids when cutting and trying to reduce your body fat percentage; whilst gaining some lean muscle.
Blood pressure will not rise excessively when taking any of these steroids; testosterone suppression will be mild (except in the case of Testosterone Undecanoate) and liver damage is unlikely with all three.
Can You Stack Orals With Injectables?
Yes, of course. Some of the most popular cycles are a combination of orals/injectables, such as:
- Dianabol/Deca Durabolin
However, some bodybuilders who are comfortable injecting (having done so for years), may naturally steer away from using orals; due to the potential liver toxicity.
Despite this preference, orals should not be considered dangerous when used in the short term.
Orals only become a problem when used in excessively high doses, or when users do not allocate enough time off in-between cycles. As a rule of thumb, the duration you spend on-cycle should be matched by the time you spend off steroids. And for optimal health, the latter should exceed the former.
Orals vs Injectable Steroids
Injectable steroids aren’t ‘better’ than orals — and the same applies vice versa.
Each compound must be assessed individually, in terms of results and side effects to see if it’s worth taking.
For example, if you wanted to avoid liver problems you could take Testosterone (injectable), or you could take Andriol (oral) — and have no problems.
However, it is fair to say that injectable steroids are healthier for the heart and liver (on average).
Although Trenbolone is possibly one of the harshest steroids you can take and is an injectable.
Equally, if your goal’s to take steroids to improve athletic performance and you have a drug test coming up; it would be wise to use orals as they have a shorter detection time.
Which steroids you opt for, whether oral or injectable, will depend on your personal goals.
Thus, do your research and if you’re going to take orals, make sure your liver and heart are in good condition prior to a cycle. Also, take TUDCA and fish oil for maximum protection.
Furthermore, it’s generally not a good idea to stack orals together, as this will place additional strain on the liver.
…Unless you have a sugar daddy who can pay top dollar for regular Anavar/Test Undecanoate cycles.
Safe Oral Steroids
If you’re interested in taking oral steroids, but want to minimize damage to your heart and liver (and can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars running Anavar/Testosterone Undecanoate) — Crazy Bulk’s legal steroids may be for you.
Crazy Bulk produces compounds that mimic anabolic steroids. For example, their D-Bal product mimics the muscle-building effects of Dianabol in the body.
Here is a list of their full product range:
- Anvarol (Anavar)
- Winsol (Winstrol)
- Anadrole (Anadrol)
- Trenorol (Trenbolone)
- Decaduro (Deca Durabolin)
- Testo-max (Sustanon 250)
- D-Bal (Dianabol)
- Clenbutrol (Clenbuterol)
- HGH x2 (HGH)