Is Anavar Liver Toxic? (Hepatotoxicity of Oxandrolone)

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: August 11, 2023
Is Anavar Liver Toxic

Anavar, also known as Oxandrolone, is a widely used anabolic steroid favored for its perceived lower side-effects compared to other steroids.

However, it’s essential to delve deeper into the potential risks associated with its use, particularly focusing on liver toxicity.

Anavar is a c-17 alpha-alkylated steroid, meaning it is chemically modified to allow it to pass through the liver without being broken down.

This modification, however, can lead to elevated levels of liver enzymes, specifically alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), which could indicate liver stress or damage.

In some instances, liver complications may not be apparent until the occurrence of life-threatening liver failure.

This article aims to shed light on the potential liver toxicity of Anavar, providing an objective analysis based on scientific research and clinical studies.

The Toxic Impact of Anavar on Your Liver

Anavar, also known as Oxandrolone, is an anabolic steroid that is commonly used for muscle growth. While it’s often touted as one of the milder steroids, it can still have significant impacts on your liver health.

Potential Hepatic Dysfunction

One potential side effect of Anavar is hepatic dysfunction, which refers to any damage or disease that reduces the functioning of the liver. This could range from mild disruptions in liver enzyme levels to more serious conditions like liver failure.

Liver Failure

In severe cases, Anavar use can lead to liver failure. This is a life-threatening condition where the liver stops functioning properly. Symptoms can include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), abdominal pain, swelling, and mental confusion.

Liver Cysts and Tumors

Anavar use can also contribute to the development of liver cysts and tumors. These are abnormal growths that can cause discomfort and lead to serious complications if they rupture. It’s worth noting that while liver tumors can be benign (non-cancerous), they can also be malignant (cancerous).

Other Liver Problems

Beyond these serious conditions, Anavar use can also lead to other liver problems. For example, it can cause changes in cholesterol levels, with decreased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and increased levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol. This can contribute to the development of fatty liver disease and other liver problems.

Effects of Anavar on Liver and Kidneys

Anavar, also known as Oxandrolone, is an anabolic steroid that is often used by bodybuilders and athletes to gain muscle mass and strength. However, like all anabolic steroids, Anavar can have significant effects on various organ systems of the body, including the liver and kidneys.

Effects on the Liver

Anavar is a 17-alpha alkylated steroid, which means it has been altered at its 17th carbon point to survive oral ingestion and the first pass through the liver. This alteration makes the drug particularly resistant to metabolic breakdown in the liver, leading to a higher potential for liver toxicity.

A study published in the journal “Drug and Alcohol Dependence” found that individuals using anabolic steroids, including Anavar, reported problems with liver function. Another study published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” noted the occurrence of hepatis, or blood-filled liver cavities, among anabolic steroid users.

Effects on the Kidneys

The kidneys are also significantly affected by Anavar use. They play a key role in excreting the byproducts of steroid metabolism, and the increased workload can lead to kidney damage over time.

A study published in the “Journal of Sports Sciences” found that six men reported problems with kidney function associated with anabolic steroid use. Anecdotal evidence from bodybuilding forums also suggests a link between Anavar use and changes in kidney function.

Comparison with Other Steroids’ Liver Damage

When comparing Anavar’s potential for liver damage with other steroids, it appears to be relatively safer. Anavar, or Oxandrolone, is an anabolic steroid that is considered one of the least liver-toxic options available. This lower degree of liver toxicity is attributed to Anavar’s resistance to liver biotransformation, with approximately 28% of it being excreted in the urine.

On the other hand, the use of other androgenic anabolic steroids has been reported to induce liver injury. A case study highlighted the manifestation of liver injury due to the off-label use of these steroids.

Further studies have shown liver damage in groups consuming certain anabolic steroids. For instance, Winstrol, another anabolic steroid, has been associated with liver damage.

However, while Anavar may be less toxic to the liver compared to some other steroids, it is not without risk. Rarely, Anavar has caused severe, sometimes fatal liver problems, including liver failure, liver cysts, and liver tumors. Thus, while Anavar may present a lower risk of liver toxicity relative to some other steroids, users should still exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before use.

Strategies for Liver Protection During a Steroid Cycle

Steroid use, particularly oral anabolic steroids like Anavar, can lead to potential liver damage. Thus, it’s of utmost importance to implement strategies to protect the liver during a steroid cycle. Here are some of the most recommended practices:

Medical Supervision

First and foremost, any steroid use should be under the strict supervision of a healthcare professional. This ensures that any potential side effects can be spotted early and managed effectively.

Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol can put additional strain on your liver, so avoiding excessive consumption is crucial when on a steroid cycle.

Healthy Diet

Maintaining a healthy diet is also key. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help keep your liver healthy2.

Non-Alkylated Steroids

Choosing non-alkylated steroids over alkylated ones can also help reduce liver stress. Alkylated steroids are harder on the liver as they have been chemically modified to survive liver metabolism.

Short Steroid Cycles

Shorter steroid cycles are generally safer than longer ones. Longer cycles increase the duration of exposure to the steroid, thus increasing the potential for liver damage.

Use of Supplements

Certain supplements, such as TUDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid), have shown promise in reducing liver enzymes and promoting hepatocyte (liver cell) regeneration. Bile acid resin drugs, such as cholestyramine, can also be useful as they bind bile acids in the intestines, preventing their reabsorption and reducing liver strain.

HCG Diet

The use of an HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) diet has also been suggested. Pituitary gonadotropin plays an important role in the body and can support liver health.

+ posts

Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.