Anavar [Oxandrolone]: Benefits, Uses, Side Effects

Oxandrolone, commonly referred to by its brand name Anavar, or “var”, is one of the most popular androgen and anabolic steroids (AAS), used by bodybuilders and recreational athletes to aid in muscle gain and strength. Studies show that anavar has superior binding affinity androgen receptors and is a powerful ergogenic aid. We’re going to discover what anavar is, how it works, the benefits, and the side effects.

What Is Anavar (Oxandrolone) 

Anavar is an androgenic and anabolic steroid. It was first synthesized in 1962 and was commercially available as a pharmaceutical drug by 1964. Anabolic steroids are all derivatives or analogs of testosterone. Anavar as a high affinity for binding to androgenic receptors, which pharmacologically classifies it as a steroidal selective androgen receptor modulator.  

How Does Anavar Work

Anavar, is an androgen receptor modulator and increases androgenic and anabolic effects. Activation of the androgen receptor stimulates protein synthesis, which increases muscle growth, lean body mass and bone mineral density.

Anabolic steroids are structural modifications or analogs of testosterone. These modifications are performed to minimize the androgenic effects associated with testosterone and to maximize the anabolic effects.

Androgenic effects, are those associated with male characteristics and puberty, such as (deepening of the voice, acne, prostate enlargement, etc)

Chemically, anavar is a 17α-alkylated steroids. Oxandrolone is an oral androgen derived from dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that has a 17-alpha methyl substituent.

It was acknowledged in the 1940s that 17-alpha alkyl substitution retards the presystemic metabolism of testosterone, extending its half-life and making it orally active.

Thus, a number of oral androgens, such as 17-alpha-methyl testosterone, have 17-alpha-alkyl substitution. However, orally administered, 17-alpha alkylated androgens, are potentially hepatotoxic and markedly lower plasma HDL cholesterol [R].

Uniquely however, amongst 17α-alkylated AASs, oxandrolone shows little to no hepatoxicity even at high doses [R].

The substitution of second carbon with oxygen increases the stability of the 3-keto group and increases its anabolic activity. Oral activity can be conferred by substitution of the 17α-H on the steroid nucleus with a methyl or ethyl group.

Additionally, unlike testosterone, which is irreversibly converted by the enzyme 5α-reductase to 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which binds with greater affinity to the androgen receptor (AR), or by aromatase to oestradiol, which binds to the oestrogen receptor (ER).

Anavar, like other 17-alpha alkylated steroids does not undergo aromatization to an estrogen.

Anavar Benefits

Increases Lean Muscle Mass

All androgenic and anabolic steroids, increase lean body mass, by having a direct effect on androgen receptors. Activation of the androgen receptor stimulates protein synthesis, which increases muscle growth, lean body mass and bone mineral density.

A study conducted at Keck School of Medicine, at University of Southern California (USC), investigated the effects of oxandrolone, on lean body mass (LBM), muscle size, fat, and maximum voluntary muscle strength.

Thirty-two healthy adult males, aged between 60-87 were randomized and received 20mg of anavar per day, or placebo for 12 weeks.

Results showed that anavar increased lean body mass by 7lb and increased max strength on average by 7.5%.  Additionally, 3-4lbs of body fat loss was lost in total fat and trunk fat, and sustained up to 12 weeks after oxandrolone was discontinued at week 24 [R].

Anavar was indicated to treat patients from severe burns, bone pain associated with osteoporosis, and girls identified as having turners syndrome. Anavar has also been shown to increase weight in patients who often have severe disease-related cachexia, but also to help reverse the underlying pathology, improving metabolically active tissue compartments in those with cachexia. Studies show that cancer patients with cachexia, increased lean body mass by 7.5%, which replicates other investigational and randomized controlled trials [R].

Optimizes Body Composition

Studies indicate that anavar benefits not only fat loss, but sustained body fat loss, while increasing lean muscle mass.

12 weeks after anavar therapy was discontinued, patients saw an 83% retention rate in total body fat loss, with improvements in insulin sensitivity.

Anavar has high binding selectivity to the  androgen receptor, increasing lean muscle mass via protein synthesis. Oxandrolone also inhibits muscle catabolism by working as a glucocorticoid receptor antagonist.

Thus, these through these specific mechansism, anavar has a powerful ability to support optimal body composition [R].

Anavar Oxandrolone Side Effects

17α-alkylated steroids, have all shown hepatoxicity affecting the liver. However, anavar does not show hepatoxicity even at high doses.

Anavar is also not converted by the enzyme 5α-reductase to 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and is non-aromatic, meaning it does not aromatize to estrogen.

SARMS have shown to suppress luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) through the hypothalamus-pituitary-testis axis, thus decreasing testosterone in a dose-dependent manner.

Since anavar is not converted into estrogen, and suppresses testosterone, it can create an unfavorable balance between testosterone and estrogen in the body

Anavar Oxandrolone: Takeaway

Oxandrolone has a high anabolic activity compared to testosterone and methytestosterone with an anabolic: androgenic ratio of 10:1. That means, anavar has ten times the ability to increase lean muscle mass over testosterone, with fewer androgenic or virilizing effects.


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