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Protecting Your Liver and Heart: Preventing Damage from Oral Steroids

Preventing Damage from Oral Steroids

Oral anabolic steroids provide incredible benefits like rapid strength gains, muscle growth, fat loss, and enhanced recovery. However, they also carry risks – especially regarding potential liver and cardiovascular strain.

In this extensive guide, we provide research-backed tips for keeping your liver and heart healthy if you choose to run oral steroid cycles.

Why Oral Steroids Can Be Problematic

Before detailing protective tactics, let’s understand why oral steroids can negatively impact liver and heart function when misused:

Liver Concerns with Oral Steroids

Most oral steroids are chemically modified or 17-alpha alkylated. This means an alkyl group is added at the 17th carbon position.

This alkylation enables oral steroids to avoid being broken down by liver enzymes before absorption.

However, it also makes them potentially liver toxic, especially at higher doses or with prolonged use.

The liver is central to hundreds of vital functions. Long-term oral steroid use stresses liver function by causing changes like:

Oxidative stress and free radical damage
Mitochondrial dysfunction and ATP depletion
Apoptosis and cell death
Fatty liver changes and hepatic steatosis
Depletion of glutathione and antioxidants

Over many years, this can potentially lead to more serious outcomes like peliosis hepatis, adenomas, neoplasms, and liver failure in extreme cases. The liver does not tolerate oral steroid abuse or misuse.

steroids,protect your heart

Cardiovascular Strain from Orals

In addition to liver considerations, oral steroids also negatively impact cardiovascular health and cholesterol levels:

Increased LDL cholesterol
Decreased HDL cholesterol
Left ventricular hypertrophy
Impaired diastolic function
Increased risk of atheroma

This imbalance in lipids combined with high blood pressure places substantial strain on the heart and vessels over time.

The rapid peaks and valleys of blood levels with oral steroids also stresses the cardiovascular system. Fluctuations in hormones and hemodynamics must be smoothed out.

Best Practices for Liver Protection On Cycle

Now that we understand the potential risks, here are some best practices while on cycle to help protect liver function:

Limit Oral Steroid Cycle Length

Oral steroids should only be run for short periods of 6-8 weeks at most. Any longer substantially increases liver strain without added benefit.

Staying at the lower end of this range is ideal. Brief 4 week cycles are even better if bulking is not the priority. The shorter the oral cycle, the better.

Lower Your Oral Steroid Dosage

Excessive oral steroid dosages exponentially increase liver stress and should be avoided. Keep doses within reasonable limits:

Anadrol – 25mg per day maximum
Dianabol – 15mg daily maximum
Anavar – 30mg daily maximum
Winstrol – 20mg daily maximum

Advanced users may push dosages slightly higher, but excessive oral doses are never wise if protecting liver health. Be conservative.

Avoid Stacking Multiple Oral Steroids

Using a single oral compound stresses the liver enough. Stacked oral cycles with multiple steroids produce excessive liver toxicity.

Oral stacks may seem attractive for accelerated gains, but this is a very dangerous practice for long-term liver integrity. Avoid stacks.

Include Milk Thistle and/or TUDCA

Milk thistle contains the antioxidant silymarin which protects liver cells from steroid-induced damage.

250-500mg per day used during an oral cycle helps safeguard your liver health. It won’t fully prevent toxicity but provides partial protection.

TUDCA is another supplement that preserves liver function. 500mg daily helps maintain bile flow and prevent cell death. Don’t rely solely on these supplements but use them to aid liver resilience.

Drink Plenty of Water

Staying very well hydrated is crucial on oral steroids. Aim for around 1 gallon or 4 liters of water daily minimum.

Water supports liver function and prevents cholestasis. Sufficient water intake also reduces thickening blood count effects of orals. Proper hydration is vital.

Avoid All Other Liver Strains

On cycle, be cognizant of any other factors that may stress the liver such as:

Excess alcohol intake – avoid completely
Excess acetaminophen intake – stay under 1 gram per day
Exposure to solvents or chemical fumes
High fructose corn syrup products
Excess saturated fat intake

Mitigate and minimize any additional liver insults beyond the oral steroids themselves. Don’t “double up” on liver toxicity.

Monitor Liver Enzymes and Health

Getting blood work to assess liver enzymes (AST/ALT), bilirubin, and other health markers during oral cycles allows you to detect problems early and adjust dosing as needed.

Don’t guess – use hard data to ensure you remain in a healthy normal range. Adjust your oral steroid protocol based on blood work feedback.

Steroids, protect your liver

Best Practices for Heart Protection During Oral Steroid Cycles

In addition to the liver, proactively supporting heart health is also crucial when running oral steroid cycles:

Limit Cycle Length to 6-8 Weeks

Again, keeping oral steroid cycles as short as possible reduces cumulative cardiovascular strain. Do not extend cycle length thinking “more is better”.

Control Your Oral Steroid Dosage

Take the minimal oral dose needed to achieve your physique goals – excessive dosing stresses the heart.

Use the lowest doses that still provide benefits rather than trying to push the envelope on performance at the cost of health. Have restraint.

Avoid Stacking Multiple Orals

Stacking multiple oral steroids magnifies negative cardiovascular effects by amplifying lipid profile changes and blood pressure.

Stacking also extends cycle length – further increasing cardiac risks. One oral at a time.

Perform Regular Cardiovascular Exercise

Consistent cardio is pivotal on-cycle to maintain heart health and optimal blood flow and pressure.

Aim for 150-300 minutes of moderate cardio per week minimum. This mitigates some steroid induced cardiovascular changes.

Include Hawthorn Berry and/or Garlic

Hawthorn berry protects heart health via antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. 600-1000mg daily helps safeguard the heart.

Garlic also provides cardioprotective benefits such as lowering blood pressure, preventing clots, and reducing cholesterol levels. Take 2000-4000mg daily.

Monitor Blood Pressure

Keep a log tracking your blood pressure 2-3 times weekly while on oral steroids.

Make adjustments as needed to keep readings in a healthy normal range. Don’t allow hypertension to go unchecked.

Consume More Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Increasing omega-3 intake via fish oils or fatty fish helps balance lipid profiles strained by oral steroids.

Aim for 2-5 grams daily of combined DHA and EPA from fish oil supplements while on cycle. The more the better.

Increase Fiber Intake and Reduce Saturated Fats

A high fiber, lower saturated fat diet supports cardiovascular protection while on oral steroids by providing nutrients that modulate cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation.

Perform Blood Work

Getting full blood tests while on an oral cycle allows you to monitor hematocrit, HbA1c, lipid panels, liver enzymes, and other vital health markers.

This provides you with real data to make any necessary training, supplement, or dosing adjustments to protect your overall wellbeing. Be proactive.

Post Cycle Therapy – Critical After Any Oral Steroid Use

After completing any oral steroid cycle, implementing an aggressive post cycle therapy (PCT) protocol is crucial to bring the body back into balance and support the liver and heart:

Include Powerful SERMs Like Nolvadex

Anti-estrogens and SERMs stimulate the HPTA axis to restart natural testosterone production – critical for overall health.

Nolvadex at 20-40mg or Clomid at 50-100mg daily for 4-6 weeks helps normalize hormone levels faster.

Add HCG if Needed

Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) can be added to PCT regimens to provide gonadotropic stimulation and help restore testicular function faster.

Here are some examples of potential post cycle therapy (PCT) protocols with dosages:

Mild Anavar Only Cycle PCT

Anavar at 50mg per day for 8 weeks
Nolvadex 20mg per day for 6 weeks

Moderate Winstrol Only Cycle PCT

Winstrol at 50mg per day for 6 weeks
Clomid 50mg per day for 4 weeks
Nolvadex 20mg per day for 4 weeks

Aggressive Dianabol Only Cycle PCT

Dianabol at 30mg per day for 6 weeks
HCG at 1000IU every other day for 3 weeks
Clomid at 100mg per day for 4 weeks tapering down
Aromasin 25mg every day for 4 weeks tapering down

Incorporate Liver Support Supplements

Continue taking liver aids like TUDCA and milk thistle for several weeks after oral cycles to support recovery and restore function.

Follow a Heart Healthy Diet

Continue emphasizing cardiovascular supportive nutrition in PCT – omega-3s, fiber, antioxidants, plant sterols, etc.

Allow Adequate Off Time Before Starting Another Cycle

Don’t immediately restart oral cycles. Give your body at least 2-3 months between cycles for the liver and heart to fully normalize again. Patience pays off.


Oral steroids provide rapid muscle building and fat loss effects, but not without risks – especially regarding liver and heart health when abused.

Implementing protective tactics on cycle and during PCT can help mitigate these dangers. But the only way to stay completely safe long-term is to avoid oral steroids altogether.

If you do plan on incorporating oral steroids into your training pursuits, take steps to promote liver and cardiovascular wellbeing during and after your cycle. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to your health.


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