Prohormone & Designer Steroid Articles

What is Anabolic:Androgenic Ratio?

Anabolic steroids are derivatives of testosterone which share two types of activity–muscle building (anabolic) and non-muscle male sex hormone related activity (androgenic):
  1. Anabolic, meaning that they promote anabolism (cell growth)
  2. Androgenic (or virilising), meaning that they affect the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics
Some examples of the anabolic effects are:
  • increased protein synthesis from amino acids
  • increased appetite
  • increased bone remodeling and growth
  • stimulation of bone marrow, which increases the production of red blood cells
Through a number of mechanisms anabolic steroids stimulate the formation of muscle cells and hence cause an increase in the size of skeletal muscles, leading to increased strength.

The androgenic/virilising effects include:
  • pubertal growth
  • sebaceous gland oil production
  • growth of the clitoris in females
  • increased growth of androgen-sensitive hair (pubic, beard, chest, and limb hair)
  • increased vocal cord size and deepening the voice
  • increased libido
  • suppression of natural sex hormones
  • impaired production of sperm.
The androgenic:anabolic ratio of an AAS is an important factor when determining the clinical application of these compounds. Initial steroid research sought to synthesize a compound which retained a high degree of anabolic activity coupled with a diminished androgenic activity, the goal being to produce a compound with a high anabolic yet low androgenic effect, or a high A/A ratio. Since steroids were intended for medical treatment patients could include men and women, and even children. It was therefore important to avoid any androgenic effects when providing anabolic treatment.

Compounds with a high ratio of androgenic to a anabolic effects are the drug of choice in androgen-replacement therapy, whereas compounds with a reduced androgenic:anabolic ratio are preferred for anemia, osteoporosis, and to reverse protein loss following trauma, surgery or prolonged immobilization.

Determination of androgenic:anabolic ratio is typically performed in animal studies, which has led to the marketing of some compounds claimed to have anabolic activity with weak androgenic effects. This disassociation is less marked in humans, where all anabolic steroids have significant androgenic effects.

The standard scientific measurement of the androgenic/anabolic ratio of a given steroid is a comparison of the effects of the drug on the growth of prostate tissue vs. muscle tissue in rats.

As far as how this measurement applies to bodybuilding and strength training, the preferred compounds are those that have a high anabolic number with a lower androgenic number.
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