Anavar: Benefits, Risks, Side Effects & Safer Alternatives

Chemical structural formula 3D ball-and-stick model of anabolic steroid Anavar

What is Anavar?

Anavar, which also goes by the name Oxandrolone, is one of a category of substances known as androgenic-anabolic steroids (AAS) that build muscle mass. It is used medically to treat catabolic (wasting) conditions such as certain forms of cancer and HIV/AIDS.

Doctors sometimes use Anavar to promote weight gain in patients who are not maintaining an appropriate weight. Patients taking this drug in oral form and should take it with food if it causes stomach irritation.

Bodybuilders, weightlifters, and athletes often use Anavar without medical approval to increase muscle mass, physical strength, and stamina. Anavar is not typically used as a performance enhancer outside of competitive bodybuilding or powerlifting circles because it does not have any significant advantages over other steroids with regards to building lean muscle mass; however, it does carry less side effects than many others.

As with many other AAS, this steroid is on the prohibited list of the World Anti-Doping Agency and is a Schedule III controlled substance in the United States.


Anavar can cause people to burn more fat and build lean muscle, increasing strength. The anabolic effects of this AAS are stronger than its androgenic effects.

Anavar can also improve bone density, which may help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Because it increases bone calcium levels, patients with osteoporosis may take the drug to increase bone strength and relieve bone pain.

Additionally, Anavar has also been shown in some studies to be effective at treating anemia and increasing levels of hemoglobin or red blood cells. It might have a positive effect on HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind) and total cholesterol for people with high triglyceride levels.

Some people, often women, might take Anavar for its ability to burn fat. In patients who have suffered severe burns, it can speed the growth and healing of muscle tissue.

Side Effects

The side effects of Anavar are similar to those of other AAS, Including high cholesterol, water retention, increased levels of calcium, acne, oily skin, irritability, and other mood changes. The latter can occur when stopping the use of this steroid as well.

Anavar may cause cardiovascular disease and increase the risk of a heart attack.

For males, Anavar can cause enlarged breast tissue, painful erections, and reduced fertility. Risks for enlarged prostate and prostate cancer may increase.

For women, this steroid can interfere with menstruation and trigger the development of male secondary sex characteristics such as facial hair and a deep voice. Anavar can also cause enlargement of the clitoris.

For both sexes, changes in the level of interest in sex may occur.

One rare but troubling side effect that sets this steroid apart from other performance enhancing drugs is the short-term changes in liver function, including jaundice, loss of appetite, fatigue, and pain in the abdomen. Blood-filled cysts resulting from a rare liver condition known as peliosis hepatis can develop in people taking Anavar.

However, research does not show that short-term use of Anavar necessarily leads to permanent liver damage.

Anavar Alternatives

Anavar is a popular steroid among bodybuilders because it helps with muscle growth and weight loss. But there are risks and side effects associated with anavar use, which I why I strongly endorse the use of safe and all-natural alternatives.

There are some legal alternatives available that deliver many of the same effects as anavar, but – since they’re 100% all-natural – without any of the adverse reactions. These products are not only safe but also effective and affordable.

I’ve tested a few Anavar-like supplements over the years, most of which were pure junk, but the ones that I can highly recommend are:

These supplements are perfect for anyone who wants to get ripped fast, lose weight, or push their performance to the next level. They come with no side-effects or health risks, which is why they’re becoming more popular than ever before.


Anavar resembles other AAS in terms of its medical and non-medical applications, and its availability in oral form may be more convenient for some users. However, the risk of severe liver problems and the fact that Anavar is intended only for short-term use argues against its safety as a bodybuilding or performance-enhancing drug.

For more information about natural supplements that have similar effects to PEDs, be sure to see our list of the top-rated legal steroids.

Anabolic Research display of product bottles.

The facts presented in this article should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for consulting your doctor.

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