Methandrostenolone is a derivative of testosterone with double bonds at the 1 and 4 positions as well as being C-17 alpha alkylated. Dbol, a shortened form of the trade name Dianabol that is common among steroid users, has been one of the most popular oral androgens ever since its release. It has the reputation of being a very effective anabolic steroid (especially in combination with deca durabolin) with fairly rapid weight gain, bloating and a marked increase in appetite.
There has been some disagreement over whether Dbol converts to estrogenic metabolites. Though there is little evidence in the literature, it is pretty apparent from anecdotal experience that Dbol is in fact converted to methylestradiol to some degree. Gynecomastia appears to be quite common with the use of this steroid. There is evidence in the literature of the formation of 5-alpha (and 5-beta) reduced metabolites from methandrostenolone and this is expressed in the fact that Dbol is considered to be quite androgenic1,2,3,4. The 5-alpha reduced form of methandrostenolone, methyl-1-test, is known for inducing massive bloating and high blood pressure at higher doses likely as a result of inhibition of the 11-beta hydroxylase enzyme. SHBG binding of this drug is moderate so a good portion of the absorbed quantity of this drug circulates in the free state5,6.
The binding affinity of methandrostenolone is low and as such, people have speculated that this drug acts through a non-AR mediated effect. A more recent journal article has shown that even though the binding affinities of some AAS are low, they are still adequate to activate the receptor7. Additionally, methandrostenolone has several active metabolites that likely have more potent AR affinity. There is a small amount of interaction with the progesterone receptor but no direct effect on the glucocorticoid receptor. This steroid has been shown to increase levels of CBG while at the same time increasing serum cortisol and non-protein bound cortisol levels8. This could be the mechanism for the marked increase in appetite seen by those using Dbol. Increase in the level of CBG is a common effect with estrogenic compounds while androgens tend to decrease CBG levels demonstrating the propensity of methandrostenolone to convert to methylestradiol. The increased cortisol levels could also contribute to the extreme amounts of water retention that users experience with this drug.
Dbol decreases TBG levels less than fluoxymesterone but with a slightly greater increase in TBPA8. Methandrostenolone is orally active due to the presence of the C-17 methyl group. As such, this compound is liver toxic but many do not consider it to be much of a concern because users tend to consume doses in the 20 to 30 mg range and some report Dbol to be effective in doses as low as 5 mg per day. A study in the literature reported a gain of just over 5 pounds with just three weeks of methandrostenolone dosed at only 5 mg twice daily9. Larger doses are not uncommon (up to 100 mg per day) but with larger doses, liver toxicity could become a concern. This drug has been shown to build up red blood cells in a similar manner to most other androgens with similar efficacy10. Dbol is stacked with just about any other steroid due to the fact that it is easily obtainable and very cheap. Some have suggested that methandrostenolone doses should be split up through the day due to the short half-life while others report that once a day dosing is sufficient.
This steroid is probably the most available as well as one of the cheapest on the market. There are quite a few legitimate pharmaceutical preps available as well as a flood of black market versions. The problem is that the popularity of this drug breeds many counterfeits. Even though the raw material for methandrostenolone is extremely cheap, the raw material for methyltestosterone is even cheaper (by about two thirds). Therefore, many unscrupulous manufacturers will substitute methyltest for dbol.
1. Schanzer W: Metabolism of anabolic androgenic steroids. Clin Chem. Jul;42(7):1001-20, 1996
2. Schanzer W, Delahaut P, Geyer H, Machnik M, Horning S: Long-term detection and identification of metandienone and stanozolol abuse in athletes by gas chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr B Biomed Appl. Dec 6;687(1):93-108, 1996
3. Schanzer W, Geyer H, Donike M: Metabolism of metandienone in man: identification and synthesis of conjugated excreted urinary metabolites, determination of excretion rates and gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric identification of bis-hydroxylated metabolites. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. Apr;38(4):441-64, 1991
4. Massé R, Bi HG, Ayotte C, Du P, Gélinas H, Dugal R. Studies on anabolic steroids. V. Sequential reduction of methandienone and structurally related steroid A-ring substituents in humans: gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric study of the corresponding urinary metabolites. J Chromatogr. 562(1-2):323-40, 1991
5. Saartok T, Dahlberg E, Gustafsson JA: Relative binding affinity of anabolic-androgenic steroids: comparison of the binding to the androgen receptors in skeletal muscle and in prostate, as well as to sex hormone-binding globulin. Endocrinology. Jun;114(6):2100-6, 1984
6. Bicíková M, Hampl R, Stárka L. Binding of synthetic anabolic steroids to testosterone-estradiol binding globulin and to rat prostate cytosol. Endocrinol Exp. 11(2):85-90, 1977
7. Feldkoren BI, Andersson S. Anabolic-androgenic steroid interaction with rat androgen receptor in vivo and in vitro: a comparative study. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 94(5):481-7, 2005
8. Barbosa J, Seal US, Doe RP: Effects of anabolic steroids on hormone-binding proteins, serum cortisol and serum nonprotein-bound cortisol. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Feb;32(2):232-40, 1971
9. Johnson LC, O’Shea JP. Anabolic steroid: effects on strength development. Science. 164(882):957-9, 1969
10. Sanchez-Medal L, Gomez-Leal A, Duarte L, Guadalupe Rico M. Anabolic androgenic steroids in the treatment of acquired aplastic anemia. Blood. 34(3):283-300, 1969
Adapted with permission from Seth Robert’s Anabolic Pharmacology, all rights reserved.