When it comes to steroids, the name that comes up more than any other is Dianabol.
It’s the most popular and most widely used anabolic steroid, especially amongst bodybuilders. Some call it the “grand-daddy” of steroids, and not without good reason.
It produces rapid gains in a very short period of time and it also burns fat, making it a great choice for those who want to bulk up fast.
The only problem with Dianabol is that it is an illegal, class C drug.
But don’t panic! There are legal alternatives on the market which produce very similar results with a lot less risk of you ending up in a prison cell.
If you’re looking for a safe legal alternative to Dianabol, you might want to check out D-bal from Crazy Bulk.
A Brief History Of Dianabol
Dianabol was used in the 1950s by athletes, and when Arnold Schwarzenegger talked about taking steroids in his bodybuilding days, he mentioned Dianabol by name.
In 1954, Dr. John Ziegler, the US Weightlifting Team doctor, traveled with the team to the World Weightlifting Championships in Vienna. The US team were the reigning champions from the Olympics just two years before, but the Russian team won easily.
After the championships, Dr. Ziegler found out that the Russians had taken testosterone to boost their strength. He tried it on himself and some of the United States team and found that although it worked, the side effects were severe.
Ziegler worked with the Swiss drug company CIBA to make an alternative which would have fewer side effects, and the result was Dianabol.
They didn’t do a great job though because Dianabol still has some very serious side effects. It weakens the heart, increases bad cholesterol, and damages the liver.
These dangerous side effects are another reason that people today are opting for safer alternatives like D-bal.
CIBA started distributing Dianabol in the United States in 1958, officially for the elderly and burns victims, but unofficially to improve weightlifting strength.
It wasn’t long before other athletes started using Dianabol, and over the years, the Federal Drugs Administration became more strict. In 1990 Dianabol was banned in the US for non-medical use as part of the Anabolic Steroids Control Act.
It was also classified as a Class C drug in the UK in 1996, making it illegal to sell without a license. It’s still a controlled substance in the USA and the UK, but now it’s not even available for medical uses.
What is Dianabol?
Dianabol is an androgenic-anabolic steroid. It’s a synthetic hormone, based on the natural steroid testosterone.
The androgenic part of a steroid increases male characteristics, such as a deeper voice, facial and body hair, and aggression.
The anabolic part of a steroid increases strength and muscle growth, so of course, this is what mainly interests bodybuilders and weightlifters.
It’s incredibly popular with bodybuilders because of how quickly it allows you to bulk up. But science has come a long way since Dianabol was invented and you can get the same results by using the safer legal steroids.
Dianabol is different from testosterone in that it is much more anabolic and less androgenic. It also has a 17-alkyl component to its molecules, which helps it survive in the liver, and as such, it can be taken orally. Steroids with a 17-alkylated component are called C17 or 17aa steroids.
Are Anabol and Dianabol the same?
In broad terms, they’re exactly the same. The drug that CIBA (Now known as Novartis) created has the generic name of metandienone, which is also sometimes called methandrostenolone.
When other companies started to make it, many different brands appeared, including Anabol, Vetanabol, Naposim, Metanabol, Averbol, and so on.
Dianabol is still the most well-known name, although it’s often shortened to Dbol or d-bolic.
Different companies manufacture different strengths of pill. For example, Dianabol is usually packaged in 10mg pills, whilst Anabol is sold as 5mg pills.
What is Dianabol used for?
There are several medical uses for Dianabol, although in the US and UK it was discontinued after doctors decided that the side-effects and risks were too severe to carry on using it.
As it is a more potent variation of testosterone, it has been used to treat hypogonadism, low testosterone levels.
Dianabol increases blood pressure, so some doctors prescribed it to treat some rare forms of anemia.
As a strongly anabolic drug, Dianabol reverses catabolic processes.
Patients in chronic catabolic states, such as burn victims, or those with wasting diseases, have been treated with Dianabol. It has also been used to treat pituitary dwarfism.
Outside medicine, bodybuilders and weightlifters mainly use it for building muscle strength and bulk.
It encourages protein synthesis and nitrogen retention which means that you can build muscles faster and more efficiently.
It also improves your energy levels. You don’t need to take something as dangerous as Dianabol to get these results though. People seem to forget that these steroids were made back in the 1950s.
In 2018, similar gains can be achieved by using a legal steroid like D-bal instead.
Who should take Dianabol?
In the early days of Dianabol, it was taken by weightlifters who needed extra strength for competition. When bodybuilders were using it in the 70s, they were experimenting to refine and enhance muscle tone once they had already bulked up.
Other athletes such as runners and decathletes were taking it for added endurance and strength.
Nowadays Dianabol is really only used by bodybuilders, who usually do so for fast results.
However, in most countries and competitive events, Dianabol and other anabolic androgenic steroids are now illegal, so it’s not really recommended for this purpose.
Why is Dianabol illegal?
In 1988, at the Montreal Olympic Games, the Men’s 100m champion Carl Lewis was beaten by Canadian Ben Johnson, who then tested positive for using anabolic steroids (stanozolol) to improve his performance. (Article Link)
It was the highest profile doping case up to that date.
The use of performance-enhancing drugs had been an issue in competitive sport since the introduction of amphetamines in the 1920s – steroids were just the latest, and they quickly became the most widely used.
The International Olympic Committee had been drug testing since 1968, and anabolic steroids had been banned from the Games since 1976. (Reference)
President Ronald Reagan’s Government had publicly been waging their “War On Drugs” at the time.
Only a month after the Ben Johnson scandal, he signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, banning the non-medical sale of steroids.
In 1990 Congress introduced the Anabolic Steroids Act, putting steroids in the same category as amphetamines and morphine. (Link)
The UK did the same thing in 1996, amending its Controlled Substances Act to include a number of steroids, one of which was Dianabol. (Link)
What to expect with Dianabol?
Whether you are taking Dianabol or a legal alternative, one of the main effects of taking is a huge increase in your muscle mass over a relatively short time, even within a couple of weeks.
However, studies have shown that much of the mass is not normal muscle, but fluid.
The bulk from water retention gradually disappears, and so your muscles won’t be as big within a few weeks after stopping the cycle.
On top of that, there are the side effects to consider.
What are the side effects?
There are many side effects associated with Dianabol, and while some bodybuilders report using Dianabol without suffering from them, it is still a risk that should be considered.
Perhaps the most important is that Dianabol is hepatoxic. This is true of all C17 steroids because they carry the alkyl c17 molecule, and this puts extra strain on your liver. (Study)
There are a number of liver-related conditions which can result, from jaundice to hypoglycaemia and liver failure.
Most bodybuilders attempt to minimize this strain by abstaining from alcohol and drinking a lot of water. They also take milk thistle, which is believed to help your liver, although its effect has not been clinically proven.
Virilization – estrogen, and testosterone.
Dianabol has a lower androgenic effect on your body than testosterone, but it is still significant. This means that it can cause increased growth of facial and body hair, and by overstimulating your oil glands, it can cause acne. It also increases aggression and sex drive.
As these are all things which are controlled by testosterone, they are medically considered to be masculine characteristics, and the effects of developing these characteristics in women are collectively known as virilization.
Dianabol carries a high risk of virilization, and because of this, women are strongly discouraged from taking it.
Dianabol can bind with Aromatase and metabolize into estrogen. This is what causes the fluid retention in your muscles.
It’s also the cause of Gynecomastia, the growth of breasts, although it is a little less common than with testosterone.
This is the reason that a lot of bodybuilders who are using Dianabol also take anti-estrogens.
Dianabol replaces testosterone in your body, which leads to much lower testosterone levels. Male pattern baldness has been linked to this, and hair loss is definitely a risk when using Dianabol. (Study)
Other symptoms of low testosterone can include impotence. Once the use of Dianabol stops, testosterone levels are likely to return to normal, although it can take up to a year.
Users of Dianabol almost always stack it with replacement testosterone, to minimize the effects.
High Blood Pressure and Increased Cholesterol
Another side effect of Dianabol is high blood pressure and increased cholesterol. It lowers your HDL (“good cholesterol” and raises your LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels.
Both of these increase the risk of heart disease. There have been reports of Dianabol users having strokes, and the risk is certainly greater the more it is used. To lower the chances of this, and to minimize liver damage, cycles are generally limited to a few weeks, with plenty of recovery time in between, known as Post Cycle Therapy, or PCT.
Also, people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol should not take Dianabol, as the risks are just too great.
Should I use Dianabol?
It’s clear that Dianabol has a long history of use for muscle strength and bulking up, but there are many health risks, and it has a reputation for only giving temporary results. Combine this with the dubious legality of the steroid, and it makes Dianabol a risky route to take.
Dianabol is sixty years old now, and in the time since it was introduced, science has progressed a great deal.
There are now legal alternatives to anabolic steroids, which claim to give similar results without the health risks. Of course, none of them are replacements for a healthy diet and exercise regime, but then, neither is Dianabol.