Unveiling The Best ‘Safe Steroids’ For Bodybuilders: A Must-Read List

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In light of the subject ‘safe steroids’ matter addressed by this article, it’s important to stress that no anabolic steroid can be considered completely safe, particularly when obtained illicitly from unregulated sources for aesthetic enhancement.

It is against the law to possess or use anabolic steroids without a prescription, as they can potentially lead to harmful side effects (1). Medical professionals can legally prescribe certain anabolic steroids due to their recognized medical value and FDA approval; others however, lack this endorsement.

Bodybuilders are known to use doses far higher than those prescribed for medical treatments, thereby amplifying the potential for adverse effects.

Additionally, using steroids without ongoing medical supervision introduces further dangers.

On the basis of our research, here are some of the least harmful steroids bodybuilders might choose:

  • Testosterone
  • Anavar
  • Deca Durabolin


One of the most called safest steroids - testosterone cypionate

Testosterone is injectable and FDA-approved for the treatment of testosterone deficiency in men worldwide.

Known as testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT, testosterone is also listed as an essential medication by the World Health Organization (2) due to its importance in treating hormonal disorders.

In the United States during 2017, testosterone became the 132nd most dispensed drug (3), with over 5 million issued prescriptions (4). Between 2001 and 2011, its prescriptions tripled (5), highlighting a growing incidence of low testosterone levels.

In the realm of bodybuilding, testosterone is a staple for bulking cycles to gain muscle mass and strength, and it’s also employed during cutting cycles to maintain muscle mass.

Administered in appropriate doses, we regard testosterone as one of the safest steroids available.

Testosterone is known for substantial muscle mass increases (20–30 lbs) and maintains its popularity in bodybuilding despite being on the market for over eight decades.

However, improper injections of any medication or steroid can prove hazardous, even fatal.

Oral testosterone (undecanoate) is also available for those avoiding injections, although it is less frequently used in bodybuilding due to its costlier price.

Testosterone Side Effects

Because testosterone is injectable, it bypasses the liver and directly enters the bloodstream, presenting minimal concern for liver stress.

Oral testosterone (undecanoate) is also deemed safe for the liver, absorbed through the intestine and avoiding significant liver strain. In one study, even a substantial weekly dosage of 2,800mg of oral testosterone for 21 days (6) failed to elicit hepatotoxic effects in the test subjects.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure - side effect of steroids

Testosterone can elevate blood pressure because it affects cholesterol levels—altering the balance between HDL and LDL. Yet, the cholesterol variations are relatively minor compared to other steroids.

Testosterone’s minimal impact on blood pressure can be attributed to its conversion to estrogen, which positively influences blood lipids, and its bypassing of the liver, avoiding the triggering of the hepatic lipase enzyme which can adversely affect cholesterol.

Moreover, studies have indicated that oral testosterone may improve cardiovascular health in overweight men receiving therapeutic doses (7), potentially through reductions in body fat, which may lower blood pressure.

Bodybuilders using moderate to high testosterone doses generally experience an increase in blood pressure, though the extent depends on dosage and cycle length.

For instance, a weekly dose of 280 mg testosterone enanthate slightly affected HDL cholesterol after 12 weeks (8).

A weekly dose of 300 mg testosterone caused a 13% drop in HDL levels over 20 weeks, whereas 600 mg/week led to a 21% decrease.

Note: Utilizing an AI (aromatase inhibitor)—which hampers the conversion of testosterone to estrogen—can exacerbate blood pressure issues by resulting in lower HDL levels.

Estrogenic Side Effects

Testosterone, being estrogenic in nature, can lead to issues like gynecomastia and fluid retention. However, from our experience, the use of a SERM (like Nolvadex) can greatly diminish the risk of developing gynecomastia.

Androgenic Side Effects

Testosterone can also cause androgenic side effects such as hair loss, prostate enlargement, and acne.

Such side effects were a driving force for Dr. Ziegler’s development of Dianabol, after noting that Soviet athletes had to resort to urinary catheters due to cycling testosterone in the Olympics. Therefore, Dianabol was crafted to be less androgenic than testosterone while being more anabolic.Consequently, despite testosterone’s relatively mild effects, it is not recommended for individuals dealing with existing prostate conditions or those concerned about potential hair loss.

Testosterone Suppression

Similar to other anabolic steroids, testosterone will suppress the body’s own testosterone production.

Consequently, low testosterone levels may persist for several months if PCT (post-cycle therapy) is not employed to hasten the recovery period.

In our findings, HCG, Clomid, and Nolvadex serve as effective PCT drugs to revitalize a man’s natural testosterone synthesis.

Anavar (Oxandrolone) commonly know as safe steroids

Anavar - The most popular product from category "safe steroids"

Anavar is an oral steroid typically used during cutting phases to augment fat reduction and lean muscle development.

Anavar stands out as one of the few steroids capable of simultaneously promoting muscle growth and fat loss.

While muscle increases on Anavar are not dramatic, obtaining a 10–15 pounds rise is something we often observe.

Anavar is a milder steroid which still holds FDA approval for certain medical uses. It is frequently prescribed for patients experiencing bone-related pain from osteoporosis or those who need to gain weight quickly after trauma, infection, or surgery.

Remarkably, Anavar may also be recommended for women and children without severe adverse effects.

This confirms the gentle nature of Anavar, in contrast to other steroids that can cause masculinization in females or be too harmful for young users.

In the bodybuilding community, Anavar has earned the moniker ‘the woman’s steroid’ because it’s relatively safe for female use (when taken in small to moderate doses), unlike many anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) that can lead to an enlarged clitoris, reduced breast size, increased body hair, and voice deepening.

Nevertheless, Anavar is widely utilized by men as well, not solely for bodybuilding but also to significantly boost muscular strength, power, and stamina.

Anavar Side Effects

Liver Toxicity

Oral steroids are typically frowned upon for their impact on liver health.

This is due to their c-17 alpha-alkylation, which necessitates liver processing before entering the bloodstream. As a result, elevated levels of ALT and AST liver enzymes indicate stressed liver function.

Liver Failure FB 1

Yet, Anavar is one of the exceptions, as it presents far less risk to liver health in comparison to other oral steroids, according to our LFT results.

While the exact reason for this reduced toxicity is undetermined, a hypothesis is that the kidneys play a greater role in metabolizing oxandrolone, thus easing the liver’s burden.

Cholesterol Levels

Anavar has been found to disrupt cholesterol balance, though to a lesser extent than many other steroids.

Among oral steroids, Anavar is not the most detrimental to cardiac health; however, its impact should still be taken into consideration.

Studies have shown that men taking a 20 mg daily dose of Anavar for 12 weeks saw a 30% reduction in HDL cholesterol.

cholesterol 1

A daily Anavar dosage of 40 mg brought down HDL levels by an additional 3% (33% altogether).

When the dosage increased to 80 mg daily, the HDL reduction was more drastic at 50%.

Likewise, LDL levels tended to rise alongside the drop in HDL.

Typically, bodybuilders consume 20mg of Anavar a day, and rarely extend cycles to the 12-week length, generally limiting them to 6–8 weeks.

Therefore, a standard Anavar cycle may induce a 30% reduction in HDL cholesterol, but most of our clients experienced around a 20–25% decrease.

This isn’t an overly worrying decline, but still, something that should be managed with caution. Incorporating 4 g/day of fish oil has been found to mitigate these blood pressure hikes, offering a degree of cardiovascular protection while on the cycle.

Virilization in Women

Despite being considered a ‘female-friendly’ steroid, Anavar can still cause virilization, or the development of male characteristics, in women who take high doses.

virallization 1

In our experience, dosages exceeding 10 mg per day considerably increase the chances of these unwanted effects. Cycles extending beyond 6 weeks are also considered high risk.

No Aromatization to Estrogen

One of Anavar’s benefits is its lack of conversion to estrogen, which supports body composition by preventing water retention and thus yielding dry and well-defined muscle contours.

Additionally, since Anavar doesn’t aromatize, users face no risk of developing gynecomastia.

However, the absent conversion to estrogen is partly why Anavar has a more negative impact on cholesterol levels compared to testosterone.

Testosterone Suppression

When taking any steroid, significant dips in natural testosterone creation are inevitable.

Anavar doesn’t shut down the body’s own testosterone entirely but rather leads to moderate suppression, as evidenced by our SHBG tests.

best injectable steroids 1

One research paper noted a 45% reduction in testosterone levels with a 20mg and 40mg daily dosage over 12 weeks (9).

These dosages and cycle durations are not the norm for bodybuilding practices.

By contrast, a modest Dianabol dose of 15mg taken for 8 weeks can reduce testosterone by 69% (10).

We’ve noted that testosterone levels in patients typically regain normalcy within a few weeks post-cycle, even without the use of PCT.A Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) can expedite the process, and this approach is beneficial to both male and female users.

Deca Durabolin

Deca Durabolin, or Nandrolone, is an injectable steroid that has received FDA approval for its use in the medical field for conditions such as anemia, osteoporosis, and various muscle-degenerating diseases.

Its ability to promote muscle growth and strength while having a relatively benign side-effect profile has made Deca Durabolin a popular choice within both the therapeutic setting and the bodybuilding community. Unlike testosterone, it is anabolic but possesses fewer estrogenic and androgenic effects.

deca durabolin 1

In a clinical study conducted in Sydney, Australia, 17 HIV-positive males were administered Deca Durabolin for a period of 16 weeks, resulting in marked weight gains in lean body mass without any subjects reporting toxic effects (11).

Our findings suggest that Deca Durabolin is among the most cardio-friendly anabolic steroids, a sentiment echoed by existing scientific studies.

Research showing a 26% decrease in HDL cholesterol after 10 weeks of administering 600 mg of Deca weekly (12), indicates that its impact on cholesterol is somewhat greater than that of testosterone but comparable to a modest dosage of Anavar.

Due to its low androgenic effects, users of Deca Durabolin are less likely to encounter issues like male pattern hair loss, prostate enlargement, and oily skin or acne.

Deca Durabolin Side Effects

Despite being deemed one of the safer steroids for bodybuilding purposes, Deca Durabolin can still lead to unwanted side effects, particularly concerning sexual function.

The most infamous adverse effect is ‘Deca dick,’ a term used to describe erectile dysfunction or impotence. Some patients report a significant decline in sexual drive and difficulties achieving erections.

A contributing factor to Deca Durabolin’s detrimental impact on sexual function might be its tendency to elevate prolactin levels in the bloodstream. Elevated prolactin can suppress _GnRH (_gonadotropin-releasing hormone), leading to reduced natural production of testosterone and subsequently, lowered sexual desire.

stres 1

The steroid’s limited androgenicity might also result in reduced nitric oxide production, which is crucial for maintaining blood flow and achieving erections. Therefore, erections might become sporadic or harder to maintain.

For this reason, some bodybuilders combine Deca Durabolin with more androgenic steroids, like testosterone, to maintain high nitric oxide levels. Using cabergoline has been found to stabilize prolactin levels, potentially averting ‘Deca dick’.


Although Deca Durabolin is not typically considered estrogenic, it does undergo conversion to estrogen at around 20% the rate of testosterone.

Nevertheless, Deca can activate progesterone receptors in mammary tissues, presenting a risk of gynecomastia due to its strong progesterone activity.

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Excess progesterone may also lead to water retention, often resulting in the smooth physique seen in bodybuilders during their off-season period on Deca.

Testosterone Suppression

A typical dosage of Deca ranges between 300–400 mg per week when combined with other steroids.

Studies indicate that even 100 mg of Deca per week can suppress testosterone production by 57% (13), while 300 mg per week can cause a 70% reduction, highlighting the importance of a structured PCT post-cycle.


What is the Safest Oral Steroid?

The safest oral steroid based on our evaluations is oral testosterone (undecanoate). Anavar and Primobolan also rank as relatively mild compounds with limited side effects.

During a steroid cycle, safeguarding the heart and liver is paramount, and these three oral steroids are the least harmful in that regard.

Anavar is considered the safest oral steroid for women, as it is most likely to preserve feminine traits.

What is the Safest Steroid Cycle?

Our observations indicate that the probability and severity of side effects increase with the number of steroids used in a stack.

WeekTestosterone dose
1200 mg
2200 mg
3200 mg
4300 mg
5300 mg
6350 mg
7350 mg

A testosterone-only cycle is seen as the least harsh, which is why it is recommended as a first cycle for novices. The mentioned testosterone cycle is deemed suitable for beginners seeking to bulk up, resulting in notable gains in muscle strength and size.

test 1

An Anavar-only cycle is another safe alternative, especially for users focusing on safety. To minimize side effects, male bodybuilders adhere to precise dosages:

WeekAnavar dose
115 mg / day
215 mg / day
315 mg / day
420 mg / day
520 mg / day
620 mg / day

This regimen is primarily for cutting, helping enhance fat loss while also allowing for modest muscle gains. For women, Anavar should not exceed 10 mg per day. A typical female Anavar cycle is described below:

WeekAnavar dose
15 mg / day
210 mg / day
310 mg / day
410 mg / day
510 mg / day


Even though there is no anabolic steroid that is entirely without risk, several are considered essential drugs by major health organizations (14) and a few are FDA-approved. However, the legality of steroid use is usually restricted to prescription by a medical doctor for specific health issues (15).

General Practitioner at | Website | + posts

Dr. Grant Fourie, a specialist in male hormones, is based in Cape Town, South Africa. He provides comprehensive treatments for conditions related to low testosterone, such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and mood changes. His methods include hormone replacement therapy and other modern treatment options.
Contact me via email or phone to book personal appointment in my clinic: The Village Square, Cape Town - South Africa


About Dr. Grant Fourie

Dr. Grant Fourie, a specialist in male hormones, is based in Cape Town, South Africa. He provides comprehensive treatments for conditions related to low testosterone, such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and mood changes. His methods include hormone replacement therapy and other modern treatment options. Contact me via email or phone to book personal appointment in my clinic: The Village Square, Cape Town - South Africa

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