What is Oxandrolone (Oxandrin or Anavar)?

Oxandrolone is an anabolic steroid. It is very similar to the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is currently sold under the name “Oxandrin” but has been sold as “Anavar” in the past.

Why Use Oxandrolone (Oxandrin or Anavar)?

As an anabolic compound that stimulates cell growth, Oxandrolone has legitimate medical applications in the treatment of a number of conditions including muscle wasting caused by HIV/AIDS, alcoholic hepatitis and long term corticosteroid treatment. It is used to promote growth in children with Turners Syndrome, has improved bone density in osteoporosis sufferes, and like many other steroids, is used to treat certain types of anaemia and angiodema. Early research is showing a promising role for Oxandrolone in the treatment of burn victims. Oxandrolone is sometimes abused by athletes to promote muscle gain and fat loss.  Bad publicity from this abuse resulted in the withdrawal of the drug from sale in 1989 - Manufacturing recommenced in 1995.

Oxandrolone, Oxandrin & Anavar Side Effects

Like other anabolic steroids, when incorrectly used, Oxandrolone can cause a number of serious side effects, many of which can be life threatening or permanent. These may occur without warning in otherwise healthy young people. Steroid abuse takes a huge toll on the cardiovascular system. It can cause high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease and kidney failure (1), and changes to blood clotting, which can cause a number of serious conditions, including stroke (2). Oxandrolone increases the thickness of the heart muscle, which means there is less room in the chambers of the heart for blood, and reduced blood flow to the body (3). Steroid use causes a change in the ratio of HDL (good) cholesterol to LDL (bad) cholesterol, which increases the likelihood of atherosclerosis and vascular disease (4).

Introducing a derivative of testosterone into the body has the strong potential to cause a number of hormonal disturbances, notably long term suppression of the body’s ability to produce normal levels of androgen hormones, which can cause infertility, testicular atrophy, gynaecomastia (man boobs) and increase the risk of testicular cancer in men (5,6). Women run the risk of developing masculine features – often times these changes are irreversible. Severe acne and hair loss are also very common side effects of Oxandrolone abuse (7). Mental disturbances are common, and a large number of steroid users experience psychological dependence and develop mental and physical withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit (8). Aggression (roid rage), mood swings, mania and depresssion are potentially devastating side effects that can arise from Oxandrolone abuse (7).

Finally, steroids sold illegaly are not subject to quality control - products may be out of date, infected, or contaminated with toxic substances. One study showed that nearly one third of steroids on the market are counterfeit, and nearly half of these contain an active ingredient different to that stated on the label (9).

Alternatives to Oxandrolone, Oxandrin & Anavar

There are a number of supplements on the market that stimulate the body to increase testosterone levels. These safe, legal alternatives increase testosterone naturally within a normal range.

Some of the more popular ingredients to look out for are:

  • Tribulus – The most popular testosterone booster on the market, tribulus is tried and true.  This plant has been traditionally used by a number of cultures to enhance growth, mood and libido.  Elemental Nutrition Massive Muscle Fuel 2.0 contains a number of effective natural testosterone boosters in addition to tribulus, and is spiked with concentrated protodioscin, the plant’s active ingredient. This is one of the strongest legal testosterone boosters available.
  • D-aspartic acid - This amino acid have shown very promising results as a testosterone booster. In a recent study, it was shown to raise testosterone production in adult males by up to 42% (10).
  • Aromatase inhibitors - Aromatase, or oestrogen synthase, is an enzyme which naturally occurs within the body and converts testosterone into oestradiol. Aromatase inhibitors are designed to prevent this reaction, resulting in higher levels of testosterone. Products such as BPI's A-HD combine a number of safe and effective plant extracts and are very popular.
(1) Lau DH, Stiles MK, John B, Shashidhar, Young GD, Sanders P. Atrial fibrillation and anabolic steroid abuse. Int J Cardiol. 2007 Apr 25;117(2):e86-7
(2) Santamarina RD, Besocke AG, Romano LM, Ioli PL, Gonorazky SE. Ischemic stroke related to anabolic abuse. Clin Neuropharmacol. 2008; 31(2): 80-5
(3) Lane HA, Grace F, Smith JC, Morris K, Cockcroft J, Scanlon MF, Davies JS. Impaired vasoreactivity in bodybuilders using androgenic anabolic steroids. Eur J Clin Invest. 2006 Jul;36(7):483-8.
(4) Brower KJ, Blow FC, Young JP, Hill EM. Symptoms and correlates of anabolic-androgenic steroid dependence. Br J Addict. 1991 Jun;86(6):759-68.
(5) Alén M, Häkkinen K.Physical health and fitness of an elite bodybuilder during 1 year of self-administration of testosterone and anabolic steroids: a case study. Int J Sports Med. 1985 Feb;6(1):24-9.
(6) Chimento A, Sirianni R, Zolea F, De Luca A, Lanzino M, Catalano S, Andò S, Pezzi V. Nandrolone and stanozolol induce Leydig cell tumor proliferation through an estrogen-dependent mechanism involving IGF-I system. J Cell Physiol. 2012 May;227(5):2079-88.
(7) Hartgens F, Kuipers H. Effects of androgenic-anabolic steroids in athletes. Sports Med. 2004;34(8):513-54.
(8) Brower KJ, Eliopulos GA, Blow FC, Catlin DH, Beresford TP. Evidence for physical and psychological dependence on anabolic androgenic steroids in eight weight lifters. Am J Psychiatry. 1990 Apr;147(4):510-2.
(9) Da Justa Neves DB, Marcheti RG, Caldas ED. Incidence of anabolic steroid counterfeiting in Brazil. Forensic Sci Int 2013; 228(1-3): e81-3
(10) Topo E, Soricelli A, D’Aniello A, Ronsini S, D’Aniello G. The role and molecular mechanism of D-aspartic acid in the release and synthesis of LH and testosterone in humans and rats. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2009 Oct 27;7:120.
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