Anadrol (Oxymetholone)
Anadrol (commonly called by athletes "A50" or "A-bombs") was initially developed as a compound to help people with anemia and has since been used very successfully to aid people who are suffering from many other diseases where weight loss is a concern. Thus, it is clearly an effective agent for promoting weight gain, increasing appetite, gaining strength, and increasing Red Blood Cell count. And, as with most Anabolic/Androgenic Steroids (AAS), it has its downsides as well. Anadrol 50 will inhibit your body's natural production of hormones (testosterone, etc ), will negatively affect your blood lipid profile, can cause water retention, is notorious for causing headaches, and is also highly liver toxic (in fact, it has the worst reputation for hepatoxicity out of all steroids). Paradoxically, although one of the benefits touted by its original manufacturer (Syntex) is that it can be used to stimulate weight gain through increasing appetite, taking too much may actually inhibit your appetite!
Anadrol Effects on Body
I think, in order to gain a complete understanding of the Anadrol 50 effects on the body, we need to take a look at its advantages contrasted with its disadvantages. Anadrol is a DHT-derived compound, and is a 17-Alpha-Alkylated steroid, meaning that it has been altered at the 17th carbon position to survive oral ingestion. Most oral steroids are 17aa, and this helps them make it through your liver in a useful form. Sounds great, right? Let's 17alpha-alkylate everything! Well as you can imagine, there's a downside.
Anadrol Cycles
What is an Anadrol Cycle? How much should you use? Well, this is actually one of the most interesting facts about Anadrol 50. You see, most steroids produce what we call a "dose respondent curve" which is a fancy way of saying "the more you use, the more you gain."
Anadrol is one of the few steroids where the dose respondent curve flattens out very quickly. When you take 50mgs of Anadrol, you'll make some very good gains. When you take 100mgs of Anadrol, you'll make even more gains. However, it has been found that 100mgs/day is as effective for weight gain as 150mgs/day but produces fewer side effects and was less toxic (4). I feel that the jump from 50mgs to 100mgs constitutes an acceptable rise in benefit vs. cost, but this is not the case as dosages get over 100mgs. Now, let's see how 50mgs and 100mgs of Oxymetholone actually affect strength when compared with each other:
Relative (%) changes in strength are shown for the groups receiving placebo (filled bars), 50 mg/day oxymetholone (open bars), and 100 mg/day oxymetholone (gray bars). Nos. above bars represent relative change (%) from baseline to week 12 for the 1-repetition maximum tests of strength. Error bars represent 1 SE from the mean. * Significant difference from placebo, P < 0.05; significant difference from placebo by Wilcoxon test, P < 0.02. See text for additional statistical analyses.
As you can see, in this study, doubling the dose of Anadrol 50 nearly doubled the strength gains of the test subjects. Now, when we look at changes in body composition from Oxymetholone (chart below) we can see that although the guys taking the 100mgs (vs. the 50mgs group) had more fat loss and more Lean Body Mass gained, it wasn't as dramatic as the differences in strength gains between the two groups:
Changes in body composition are shown for the groups receiving placebo (filled bars), 50 mg of oxymetholone per day (open bars), and 100 mg per day (gray bars). The numbers above the bars represent the mean absolute changes and the error bars are 1 SE. For total lean body mass (LBM) and total fat, differences among the 3 groups were significant (P < 0.0001, one-way ANOVA). * Significant differences from placebo, P 0.001.
Although I am usually not inclined to posit speculations on why a particular drug does or doesn't do something, in this case, I will. I'm guessing that the higher doses of Anadrol cause enough appetite suppression (at least anecdotally) to make eating rather difficult. It can also increase insulin resistance and glucose intolerance (5). This has the effect of making macronutrient absorption more inefficient, and could also be a factor in reducing gains when the dosage goes over 100mgs/day. Unfortunately, Anadrol also has a reasonably profound effect on your body's natural hormonal system, on par with most other oral steroids, but not as bad as most injectables, and it's certainly not as harsh on your lipid profile as many anabolics are
Anadrol Body Building
As an interesting side note, some of the medical literature on this compound suggests a dose of 1-5mgs per kg of bodyweight. I'll pause a second here for you to figure out how absurdly high of a dose that would translate to for the average bodybuilder!