Dianabol Review: Steroid Profile & Information
Commonly referred to as ‘The Breakfast of champions’ – a monicker given it by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, Dianabol, or, to give its chemical name(s) Methandrostenolone or Metandienone, was first synthesized back in the late 1950s by a Swiss pharmaceutical company called CIBA, entering the market a year later in the United States.
Despite being prescribed to both the elderly and burns victims to increase muscle and body mass, it was actually developed (by a man named John Bosley Ziegler) with one goal in mind – to help the United States Olympic team oust the superior Russian team – who were using testosterone to boost their performance – from their perch; one they had sat atop of for many years.
Dianabol was, therefore, given to the United States Olympic team in the 1960s, with the expectations of an Olympic win. However, despite the introduction of Performance-enhancing drugs (PED’s) to the US team, the Russian team once again dominated proceedings and came out on top.
The loss, combined with learning that one of the athletes had taken 20 times the recommended dose of Dianabol, stopped Ziegler’s quest to find the perfect performance-enhancing drug in its tracks, with Ziegler later stating that he wished he’d never introduced PEDs to athletes and would turn back the clock if he could.
However, Ziegler’s wish that anabolic steroids and athletes had never mixed wasn’t true. Dianabol soon found its way into the public domain, and it wasn’t long before bodybuilders and weight lifters became aware of the potency of this powerful oral bulking anabolic.
It’s usage (alongside other ‘early steroids’ such as testosterone and Deca Durabolin (Nandrolone Decanoate) was classically popularised and made famous by early bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbo, and Frank Zane.
From then on, methandrostenolone has been used by millions of people worldwide to build muscle, enhance strength, and boost athletic performance.
Pharmacology & Chemical Structure
Dianabol is a testosterone-derived anabolic steroid, with two significant changes to its chemical structure.
Firstly, it is methylated (also referred to as 17-alpha alkylation), which allows it to pass through the liver without being broken down and rendered inert; and secondly, it has a double carbon bond added between positions one and two, which reduces the rate of aromatization (conversion to estrogen).
In effect, Dianabol is the 17-alpha alkylated version of the anabolic steroids Boldenone (Equipoise).
Methandrostenolone has high oral bioavailability and exerts its effects via binding to and activation of the androgen receptor; these effects include glycogenolysis, increase in both protein synthesis and nitrogen levels within muscle cells, and rapid gains in body mass in a relatively short timeframe.
Interaction with 5-alpha-reductase: Although it can be metabolized by the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme into a more potent steroid – methyl-1-testosterone (commonly referred to as ‘M1T’) – Dianabol has very low affinity for the 5AR enzyme; therefore conversion to M1T is extremely low.
Use of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors such as dutasteride and finasteride will not reduce nor negate the androgenic effects of methandrostenolone – androgenic effects which, although less than that of testosterone, are still recognized as being ‘moderate’ and sufficient enough to induce virilization.
Interactions with aromatase: Metabolisation of Dianabol via the aromatase enzyme into methyl-estradiol is possible. Although the rate of aromatization occurs to a lesser degree than that of both testosterone and methyl-testosterone, the form of estrogen that it converts to – methyl-estradiol – is resistance to metabolism.
It is therefore considered a potent estrogen, even in small amounts (details of the estrogenic side effects of methandrostenolone will be discussed later in this article).
Half-life: Methandrostenolone’s half-life is between three and six hours and is excreted from the body through urine.
The Complete Guide to Dianabol: Everything You Need To Know
Now we’ve discussed the historical and chemistry side of things; we can proceed to discuss Dianabol in bodybuilding, i.e. how it can be used, what doses it can be used at, how it can be stacked and cycled, what side effects it has, what to expect when taking it and other important information of a similar nature.
Below are the most commonly asked questions and information sought about methandrostenolone. The answers provided should furnish you with sufficient knowledge to make a judgment as to whether or not Dianabol is suited to your physique and performance goals.
Of course, the information presented below does not constitute medical advice, nor should it be used as such. Always consult a healthcare professional before commencing with an anabolic steroid cycle.
Dianabol Cycle: Is It Worth It?
If there’s one issue that causes more debate than anything else where Dianabol is concerned, it’s whether taking it alone is worthwhile or not; a quick search on any bodybuilding or steroid-related forum will often present perpetual debate, with proponents from both sides sticking their heels in the ground and refusing to budge!
Let’s take a look at what the main argument of both sides is, in addition to trying to answer the above questions ourselves!
The main argument against Dianabol only cycles: Dianabol can only be taken for a maximum of six weeks, which isn’t enough time to build a considerable amount of lean muscle mass. Plus, studies have shown the weight gained from Dianabol isn’t ‘normal muscle mass’.
The main argument for Dianabol only cycles: Dianabol has been shown in studies to be anabolic, boost strength and performance, increases overall body mass, interact and activate the androgen receptor and increase protein synthesis; therefore, even when used for short periods of time, i.e. four to six week, building lean muscle mass is possible.
So which side of the argument is right? Well, it’s probably best not to judge it based on which side is ‘right’ and who is ‘wrong’; instead, it’s better to look at which side has more evidence behind it – both scientific and anecdotal.
Where Dianabol only cycles are concerned, there is one study cited more than any other – one published in 1981 that studied the effects of 100mg per day of methandrostenolone on the athletic performance and body composition of men who partook in athletic training for six weeks1.
With regard to bodyweight increases over the course of the study, researchers found that consumption of methandienone induced weight gain of 2.3kg, give or take 0.4kg (a range of 1.9kg to 2.7kg).
However, they concluded that “The increases in body potassium and nitrogen were too large in proportion to the weight gain for this to be attributed to gain of normal muscle or other lean tissue…”2; therefore, the weight gain isn’t ‘normal muscle’.
After reading this study, you might immediately shelve any ideas of taking Dianabol by itself; however, there is more to this than one study, and considering all of the evidence, both scientific and anecdotal is always the best way forward.
So What Do Other Studies Say?
Before we look at other studies, let’s take a look at what else the aforementioned study found. According to the paper, “bodyweight, potassium and nitrogen, muscle size, and leg performance and strength increased significantly.”3
Why is this important? For two reasons. Firstly, because not everyone is concerned solely with building muscle; many bodybuilders, gym-goers, and the like want to get stronger, and, according to this study, Dianabol will certainly do that.
And secondly, getting stronger, in combination with a diet rich in protein and calories, will almost always lead to gains in lean muscle mass; therefore, it can be assumed with a great deal of certainty that Dianabol + strength training + adequate protein + a calorie surplus will = lean muscle mass accrual.
Further studies also attribute increases in body mass, muscle size, and strength to methandrostenolone4 5, which only reinforces the point that consumption of a highly anabolic oral steroid such as methandienone, in conjunction with a weight-based resistance program and sufficient protein and calories for growth, will always have a positive effect on muscle mass.
Moreover, having spoken to numerous bodybuilders and gym-goers who have taken Dianabol by itself, the overriding opinion is that it does build muscle and that muscle mass can be kept post cycle.
Therefore, it is safe to say that is the majority of cases, a six-week Dianabol cycle followed by a rigorous PCT and calorie-dense diet throughout will result in keepable muscle and strength gains (although some weight gain will be fluid retention and therefore lost upon cessation of the cycle).
Dianabol Results – What Can Be Expected From Methandrostenolone?
I’d hazard a (very educated ) guess that the second most asked question in relation to Dianabol is what ‘gains’ and overall results can be expected from taking it.
Unfortunately, questions like this are very difficult to answer for several reasons:
– Everyone is different and may, therefore, react differently to Dianabol.
– No two people will train in exactly the same way.
– No two people will have the same nutrition.
Therefore, providing specific answers (and that’s usually what people want!) can be very difficult.
However, it is possible to discuss this in general terms by using the anecdotal experience of hundreds of thousands of people who have used methandrostenolone before, which is what we’ll do here.
Having studied the uses and affect of anabolic steroids for the last 15 years, it is apparent that Dianabol usage has profound effects on both strength and body composition.
Now, I know that most of you reading this will already be aware of this fact, but it is important to state that Dianabol is one of the most potent oral anabolic steroids where mass gains and increasing strength are concerned.
But how much does Dianabol increase strength and how much mass will you gain?
It’s not uncommon for users to experience a weight gain of up to 12 pounds (5kg) in as little as two weeks.
As discussed above, a proportion of this will be the fluid rendition commonly associated with Dianabol; however, a pound or two of lean tissue may be possible if muscles have been broken down through heavy and intense resistance training (to failure) and rebuilt with the consumption of high amounts of protein and calories, i.e. the facilitation and continued maintenance of a highly anabolic environment in the body.
To increase the amount of muscle you’ll build during your cycle, I always recommend sticking to a compound movement only regime, i.e. squats, deadlifts, bench press, military press, bent over row, barbell curl, and dips.
These work many, many more muscle groups and fibers compared to isolation exercises, thereby increasing your muscle gain potential.
Furthermore, training with varying rep ranges can help to work all different muscle fiber types (I, IIa, and IIb). Still, from personal experience, I have found high sets of low reps (of heavy weights) to be the most anabolic style of training, e.g. using 80% of your one-rep max for eight sets of three or four reps.
In terms of strength, again it is difficult to discuss exact figures, but most users can expect to add at least 10% to the main five compound lifts: squats, bench press, deadlift, bent over row, and military press, over the course of a cycle.
Before commencing a Dianabol cycle, it is imperative that you’re fully aware that at least 50% of the mass you’ll gain on cycle will be water retention and will, therefore, be lost post cycle, regardless of how good your PCT regime (both in terms of drugs and nutrition).
Often having expectations beyond what is realistic leads to unattainable gains and potential post-cycle disappointment, which is the last thing you want to feel when coming off an exogenous anabolic hormone such as Dianabol.
Dianabol Dosage: How much should I take and when?
When discussing Dianabol dosage and timing, three primary factors must be considered: whether you’re taking it with others steroids or by itself; your previous steroid experience; your body weight, and level of musculature.
These three factors can help to determine the dose of methandrostenolone that is most suitable for you. Of course, it isn’t an exact science, but it can give a good indication as to how you should use this potent oral bulking steroid.
How To Dose Dianabol When Taken By Itself
If you’re doing a Dianabol only cycle, you need to take more than you would if you were combining it with other steroids, be they oral or injectable.
Steroid novices, i.e. those doing their first steroid cycle, should always err on the side of caution and begin with very modest doses, gradually increasing them once they assess their tolerance to the compound (this goes for any anabolic steroid).
Those with several steroid cycles under their belt and with a decent level of muscle mass can start at higher dosages, but again caution should be taken to see how one reacts to the drug in question.
Although it is entirely down to the individual how much methandienone they take, here are some basic guidelines for Dianabol dosages when taking it alone:
Beginners: 20mg per day for the first two weeks; 30mg per day for the final two to four weeks*.
Intermediate: 35 per day for the first two weeks; 45-50mg per day for the final two to four weeks*.
Advanced: 50mg per day for the first two weeks; 60-70mg per day for the final two to four weeks*.
*I say two to four weeks as orals should only be taken for a maximum of six weeks.
How To Dose Dianabol When Taken With Other Anabolic Steroids
The most common application for the ‘Breakfast of Champions’ is as a ‘kickstarter’ at the beginning of a long injectable steroid(s) based cycle.
Although methandienone can be taken alongside all injectable steroids, it is most frequently used for bulking cycles with testosterone…but what is the recommended dose?
Again, it would depend upon steroid experience and level of muscle mass, but the vast majority of people will take between 20mg and 40mg for the first four weeks of the cycle.
Some may also finish the cycle with two or three weeks of Dianabol at the end. Still, most people only use it to increase strength and mass rapidly in the early stages of the cycle before the injectable steroids build up and reach the peak and consistent concentrations in the bloodstream.
Although rare, some users do combine methandrostenolone with other oral steroids such as Oxymetholone (Anadrol). If you do plan on taking two orals together, always reduce the dose of each by half.
For example, if you’d usually take 40mg of Dianabol or 50mg of Anadrol as either a standalone cycle or as a ‘kickstarter’ for an injectable cycle, reduce both by 50%, giving a cycle of 20mg Dianabol and 25mg Anadrol.
When Should I Take Dianabol?
There is a lot of debate around the timing of Dianabol dosing, which is not surprising given its short half-life of between three and six hours. However, there are three main schools of thought and the rationale behind them:
1) Take the entire daily dosage before your workout as this will boost strength, focus, aggression, and overall performance.
2) Take the entire daily dosage after your workout as this is the time when your body is most anabolic, and the addition of Dianabol will make it even more anabolic.
3) Spread the doses out evenly throughout the day as this will give continuous spikes of anabolism throughout the day.
But which should you opt for?
If taking Dianabol by itself, it is commonly suggested that you choose option 3 – taking your chosen dose throughout the day as this will lead to a longer overall ‘anabolic window’ than if it were consumed all at once.
However, if taking it alongside injectable steroids, taking it before or after a workout is typically the done thing.
Dianabol Side Effects
As discussed earlier in this article, Dianabol is both moderately androgenic in its own right (without being by 5-alpha reductase) and is also a substrate for the aromatase enzyme, i.e. it can convert to a form of estradiol; therefore, side effects with methandienone are fairly common.
Let’s take a look at the common androgenic and estrogenic side effects commonly associated with Dianabol usage.
Androgenic effects: Hair loss on the head (Male Pattern Baldness); hair growth on the face and body; increases in blood pressure, hematocrit (red blood cell count), LDL (‘bad cholesterol’) and triglycerides; decreases in HDL (‘good’ cholesterol) and acne.6 7
Estrogenic effects: Water retention; gynecomastia (‘man boobs’).
How many of the above side effects manifest themselves and the extent to which you’ll experience them will largely depend on your individual tolerance to the drug, i.e. your genetic makeup, and the dosage you ingest.
The larger the dose, the higher the number of side effects you’re likely to experience – and to a greater degree.
How liver toxic is Dianabol?
The 17-alpha-alkylation of Dianabol allows it to be taken orally (and therefore be bioavailable), but this does at the cost of it becoming more hepatotoxic given its longer clearance time in the liver8.
Studies have shown that consumption of Dianabol will increase levels of SGPT (serum glutamic pyretic transaminase) – an enzyme that is released into the blood when the liver is damaged – but these levels will decrease upon cessation of the steroid cycle9.
Furthermore, it has been suggested that the hepatotoxicity caused by oral anabolic steroids is overrated and may not be as bad as commonly made out10.
However, taking some form of liver protectant during an oral anabolic steroid cycle is a wise choice. Compounds such as TUDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid) has been shown to have significant effects on liver enzymes and health and is a popular choice amongst oral steroid users11.
How can I combat the side effects of Dianabol?
Although it is impossible to eradicate Dianabol side effects completely, some measures can be taken to reduce the occurrence and/or frequency of them.
For example, the use of an aromatase inhibitor such as Exemestane or Arimidex will decrease the amount of Dianabol that is converted (via the aromatase enzyme) into methyl-estradiol – the estrogen responsible for gynecomastia and water retention associated with methandienone usage.
Furthermore, a SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators) such as tamoxifen can be used to address early symptoms of gynecomastia such as tenderness or puffiness around the nipple area.
Tackling the androgenic side effects of Dianabol can be a little more tricky. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors such as finasteride and dutasteride are ineffective because Dianabol in of itself is androgenic and doesn’t require reduction via the 5-alpha reductase enzyme to exert these effects; therefore, it is very difficult to halt any Dianabol-induced hair loss.
Many of the other androgenic side effects are internal and related to the blood, eg. Hematocrit, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure; therefore the best way to minimize the impact of methandrostenolone on these blood markers is to consume a very healthy, nutrient-rich diet, avoid alcohol and cigarettes, avoid junk foods, stay hydrated and increase levels of cardiovascular exercise.
Although adopting these lifestyle changes won’t stop any of these adverse effects from occurring, they will give you the best chance of staying as healthy as possible when on cycle.
We always recommend blood screening before, during, and after any steroid cycle, as this will allow you to keep a keen eye on your health and rapidly tackle any issues that may arise.
Frequently Asked Questions About Methandrostenolone
In this section, we’ll list all the most commonly asked questions about Dianabol and answer them. Although our intention is to answer every single question possible, if we do miss anything out, please let us know, and we’ll add it to the list.
How long does it take to kick in?
Oral steroids like Dianabol typically enter the bloodstream and, therefore, become active, within an hour of ingestion.
However, going on anecdotal evidence alone, it will take several days before it ‘kicks in’, i.e. before you feel any discernible effects from it, be that in terms of mental (focus/aggression/euphoria) or physical (strength increases) manifestations.
What is its half-life/how long does it stay in your system?
Dianabol’s elimination half-life is between three and six hours12. However, its primary urinary metabolites can be detected for up to three days after ingestion, wither further metabolites detectable for almost three weeks after one 5mg dose.
Is Dianabol legal?
In the vast majority of countries, methandienone is illegal; however, the extent of the restrictions for anabolic steroid usage will vary from country to country. For example, in the United States, it is illegal to sell and possess anabolic steroids, whereas in the United Kingdom, selling anabolic steroids is illegal, but owning them for personal use is not.
Always check your local laws to be 100% sure about the legality of anabolic steroids such as Dianabol.
Can it be taken safely?
This is a difficult question to answer. Why? Because it’s all relative. Is it safer to take Dianabol than it is to take heroin for six weeks? Yes, of course, it is.
Is it safer to take Dianabol than not to take Dianabol? No, of course, it isn’t. In the grand scheme of things, taking anabolic steroids is relatively safe, provided that they are used and not abused; the user lives a healthy lifestyle that includes regular cardiovascular exercises and a nutrient-rich diet; the user avoids alcohol and drugs, and the user has regular blood screening done to check on certain health markers.
While no anabolic steroid cycle can ever be 100% safe, there are numerous things that can be done to make it as safe as it possibly can be.
Is injectable Dianabol safer than oral Dianabol?
Most people assume that because a steroid is injected (rather than orally ingested), it will reduce the stress placed on the liver. However, from anecdotal evidence, this doesn’t seem to be the case, as the compound still needs to be broken down by the liver to become active.
Although there are no studies that specifically examine injectable Dianabol, there was a study published in 2015 that found liver damage in a person who had been taking injectable Winstrol (also a 17-alpha alkylated anabolic steroid) every other day for two months13.
Can beginners and first-time steroid users take Dianabol?
Methandrostenolone is often considered one of the best steroids for first-time users. Why? Because it offers solid gains in mass and strength, without being overly toxic. Plus, it’s also one of the most inexpensive steroids currently available on the market, thereby making it one of the least faked or under-dosed steroids commonly available.
Can I combine it with other oral steroids?
Taking two methylated oral steroids concurrently is largely frowned upon by most in the world of bodybuilding and physique enhancement; however, using two orals at once probably isn’t as bad as it’s made out, provided that you reduce the dosage of each in half and limit the duration of the cycle or usage to no more than six weeks. In theory, you could take four oral steroids at once, provided you lowered the dosages accordingly.
What do I take after my cycle/will Dianabol lower my testosterone levels?
After completing a Dianabol cycle, you must complete a full PCT – post cycle therapy for a period of three to four weeks. There are two main drugs for this: tamoxifen (typically referred to as Nolvadex) and clomiphene citrate (commonly referred to as Clomid). They can be used individually or combined; however, if employing the latter tactic, reduce the dosage of both.
If you do research into PCT (which you should before commencing with any steroid cycle), you’ll likely see suggested doses of as high as 60mg for Nolvadex and 150mg for Clomid.
Under no circumstances use doses as high as this; not only is it completely overkill for the job in hand, i.e. restarting your HPTA, but SERMs such as Nolvadex and Clomid have been shown to cause ocular damage at high doses. Always err on the side of caution and start with low doses of each, and never go beyond 20mg of tamoxifen and 50mg of clomiphene citrate.
Additional supplements can be used to boost recovery, such as ZMA, vitamin D and multi-vitamin complex (if you’re not already taking them). Some also favour using creatine during PCT as it helps to maintain strength levels and performance to a degree.
Where testosterone levels are concerned, research has shown that methandrostenolone usage can significantly decrease testosterone, LH (luteinizing hormone), and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) levels14 15, why PCT is absolutely imperative.
Can Dianabol be used for cutting?
If you asked 100 bodybuilders or those with knowledge of steroids what Dianabol should be used for, they’d all say bulking and getting stronger. Period. But does this mean that it can’t be used for cutting? Well, no, it doesn’t mean that at all.
The primary reason methandienone is used for bulking is because of the rapid mass it induces, which, as we have found already in this article, is at least 50% water retention.
Therefore, it is widely thought that it is pointless, useless a compound to cut when you’ll be holding lots of water and won’t see physical changes to your body for the duration of the cycle. However, in reality, any anabolic can be used for cutting.
Shedding body fat is all about being in a calorie deficit; therefore, if you stay in a calorie deficit whilst taking Dianabol, not only should you lose body fat, but you’ll also get stronger and potentially build lean muscle mass simultaneously.
Of course, there are several steroids more suited to cutting and ‘recouping’, such as Anavar and Winstrol. Still, in theory, any anabolic can be used for many purposes, but it’s nutrition and training that is the most important aspect (particular the former).
Is there any point in a low dose Dianabol cycle?
Most would argue that disrupting your HPTA for the sake of a low dose cycle is pointless. Although there is some merit behind this argument, ultimately it is up to the individual user to commence with a cycle they feel comfortable with. Although low doses will typically result in less ‘gains’ (both in strength and mass), the potential for side effects also decreases.
Dianabol vs Anadrol – which is better?
Another highly subjective question, but one that I’ll try and answer as best I can nonetheless! Common parlance suggests that Anadrol will induce more mass, strength, and lean muscle mass, but is also more liver toxic; therefore, which you choose will depend on your goals and how much risk you’re willing to take. Although neither will destroy your liver in a matter of weeks, this must be taken into consideration before any cycle.
If you’re seeking all-out mass, Anadrol is probably a better choice as it does beat Dianabol hands down; however, this doesn’t mean methandrostenolone isn’t potent in its own right; it will still induce serious mass, muscle, and strength gains – just not to as great a degree as oxymetholone will.
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