Anadrol is a steroid that greatly increases muscle mass. For this reason Anadrol is popular with bodybuilders. But there are a couple of big issues with Anadrol. First, it is only legally available by prescription, and increasing muscle mass is not one of the approved reasons for Anadrol to be prescribed to a person. The second issue is the Anadrol can come with several very nasty side effects.
Like Anadrol, ANA-GH is a bulking agent that can help weightlifters pile on muscle mass. Unlike Anadrol, ANA-GH is not a steroid — it’s a non-prescription supplement consisting of 10 ingredients chosen to have the anabolic properties of a steroid like Anadrol.
What is Anadrol?
Anadrol-50, more commonly referred to as simply Anadrol, is a brand name of the anabolic steroid oxymetholone.
Anabolic and Androgenic Steroids
An anabolic steroid is a human-made (synthetic) form of a hormone similar to the natural male sex hormone testosterone.
In practice you will almost always hear an anabolic steroid referred to as just that — an anabolic steroid. However, more properly an anabolic steroid should be called an anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS).
- anabolic refers to muscles and muscle building
- androgenic refers to male sexual characteristics such as the deepening of voice, facial hair growth, and the development of male sex organs
The natural hormone testosterone is an anabolic-androgenic steroid, because it acts both anabolically and androgenically. The man-made compound Anadrol is also an anabolic-androgenic steroid because it too has anabolic and androgenic effects. Because aside from medical or research settings anabolic-androgenic steroids are simply referred to as anabolic steroids, we’ll do the same when mentioning Anadrol or testosterone. But at least you now know the whole story!
Anadrol Benefits for Bodybuilders
Anadrol is legally available only be prescription, and is used primarily to treat certain types of anemia (lack of red blood cells). In the past Anadrol was also prescribed for stimulating muscle growth in underdeveloped or malnourished patients, and to treat some specific hormonal issues, such as delayed puberty. Recently safer drugs with fewer side effects have been developed to treat muscle and hormone health concerns, so now Anadrol is almost exclusively prescribed only for anemia.
For bodybuilders, it is Anadrol‘s anabolic effect of stimulation of the growth of muscle tissue that make it so popular. Anadrol‘s ability to dramatically increase build muscles is no gym myth — bodybuilders know from experience that it works, and studies confirm the stories of weightlifters. Anadrol‘s anabolic effects are in fact much greater than the anabolic effects of natural testosterone.
In the bodybuilding world Anadrol is considered the most powerful oral steroid available, and has been given nicknames such as A-bombs or Oxys (from its pharmaceutical name of oxymetholone). Anadrol brings dramatic increases in muscular size and strength, and is used predominantly by bodybuilders in their off-season — when bulking (putting on as much muscle mass as possible), rather than cutting (retaining muscle mass but losing fat).
Anadrol has one other benefit for bodybuilders — it has water-retaining properties. That has the effect of lubricating joints, which increases elasticity and decreases inflammation and joint pain. That’s important when a bodybuilder is bulking up and moving very heavy weights. Water weight is a negative for a bodybuilder who’s cutting and wants to show clearly defined muscles. But when bulking (when Anadrol is taken), excess water weight can be beneficial.
Anadrol Side Effects
With steroids it’s generally the case that the better the results, the worse the side effects. This certainly applies to Anadrol. This steroid does produce very good mass and strength gains, but usually at a high cost in terms of side effects. Common Anadrol side effects include all of the following:
- Increased risk of injury
- Hair loss
- Reduction in production of testosterone
- Gynecomastia (breast enlargement in males)
- High blood pressure
- Liver toxicity
- Decrease in general well-being
The harshness of Anadrol (and most steroids in general) led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to limit the reasons for physicians to legally prescribe it. Today, Anadrol is prescribed almost exclusively for patients suffering from severe anemia. That means in the United States (and many other countries), it is illegal for a person to take for bodybuilding purposes.
What is ANA-GH?
Anadrol, a brand of the steroid oxymetholone, works very well for the purpose of increasing muscle mass and strength. But it’s illegal to take for bodybuilding purposes, and if one should take it, the likelihood of experiencing severe, negative side effects are high.
The nutritional supplement company Purity Select took on the challenge of developing a supplement that produced the mass and strength gain effects of Anadrol, without being a steroid. The result is ANA-GH. The mass gains produced by ANA-GH are so significant that the product has become the favorite bulking compound of many elite power lifters.
How ANA-GH Works to Cause Muscle Mass Gain
As mentioned earlier, anabolic steroids like Anadrol are more accurately called anabolic-androgenic steroids because they act anabolically (affect muscle building) and androgenically (affect male sex characteristics). While ANA-GH isn’t an actual steroid, its effects on the body are similar to a steroid. However, the ingredients in ANA-GH were chosen to mimic the anabolic effects of a steroid much more than the androgenic effects. That was done because ANA-GH strives to be first and foremost a supplement to pack on muscle mass.
For a person looking to quickly build muscle mass, this emphasis on the anabolic over the androgenic is a very good thing — ANA-GH exists to deliver extreme mass gains.
Protein is the main building block of muscles. Muscle protein synthesis is a naturally occurring process where protein is produced (synthesized) to repair muscle damage caused by intense exercise. Many of the ingredients in ANA-GH are important to muscle protein synthesis — the production of protein. For instance, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are very important for muscle protein synthesis, and ANA-GH includes all three BCAAs — L-leucine, L-valine, and L-isoleucine. ANA-GH also includes plenty of L-arginine — an amino acid absolutely key to muscle protein synthesis and thus muscle mass gain.
ANA-GH also includes ingredients that increase nitric oxide levels. Increased nitric acid increases blood flow, which brings more sugars and proteins to meet the demands of growing muscles. Extract of the plants horny goat weed and peppermint are included for this reason.
Like the steroid Anadrol, ANA-GH has high water retention properties that protect and lubricate joints while lifting heavy weights.
The ten amino acid and plant extract ingredients that make up ANA-GH have all been selected specifically for their abilities to have anabolic effects similar to a steroid like Anadrol — without being an actual steroid.
- Acetyl L-Carnitine
- Maca Root
- Horny Goat Weed
L-leucine, or simply leucine, is an essential amino acid. Here essential refers to the fact that your body can’t synthesize it — you need to obtain it through your diet or supplements.
L-leucine supplies the body with energy when under stress, and engaging in athletic activity certainly qualifies as stress. L-leucine plays a role in the healing of skin, bone, and muscle tissue. It also preserves glycogen, the glucose that’s stored in muscle tissue to power muscular contraction.
L-leucine increases human growth hormone (HGH) secretion. HGH, or somatotropin, is a powerful hormone that contributes to increases in muscle mass and strength.
Muscles are made of proteins, and proteins are made of amino acids. L-leucine stimulates the synthesis (production) of muscle proteins, so this amino acid is said to have a natural anabolic effect.
L-leucine is one of three amino acids that are considered branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs. BCAAs are vitally important for muscle growth — they make up a good percentage of the amino acids in muscles. All amino acids have the same main structure. Where they vary from one another is in their side chains, or R Groups. In the case of the three BCAAs, their branched side chains are similar in that they each contain three or four carbon atoms.
L-leucine is considered the most important of the BCAAs, and it may be the single most important nutrient in terms of mass gain and preservation. The other two BCAAs — L-valine and L-isoleucine — are important to, and L-leucine works best when taken in conjunction with these other BCAAs. It’s for this reason that all three — L-leucine, L-valine, and L-isoleucine — are included as ingredients in ANA-GH.
Like L-leucine, L-valine is an essential amino acid. Your body can’t produce L-valine, you need to get it through diet or supplementation. Like the just-discussed L-leucine, and the “up next” L-isoleucine, L-valine is a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA).
L-valine is highly concentrated in the muscles (like each of the three BCAAs), and plays a key role in muscle metabolism — building muscles, repairing muscles, and growing new muscle tissue. Like the other BCAAs, it is used as an energy source in muscles, thereby preserving the glucose in those muscles.
L-valine helps reduce the soreness that often follows a workout, and it helps speed up muscle recovery after a workout. That makes L-valine an important player in the repairing of muscle tissue.
L-isoleucine is another essential amino acid (your body can’t produce it), and is the third of the three branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Along with the other BCAAs (L-leucine and L-valine), L-isoleucine supports an increase in muscle mass.
L-isoleucine contributes to muscle growth, but it is more well-known for its role in increasing endurance and helping to repair and heal muscle tissue. Effective bodybuilding doesn’t just involve muscle gain, it also requires energy and endurance.
L-isoleucine is actually broken down within muscle tissue to provide extra energy. It also contributes to regulating blood sugar, which is important to increasing energy levels.
Like L-leucine, L-isoleucine increases human growth hormone, or HGH, secretion. That’s important because the HGH hormone helps with increasing muscle mass.
L-carnitine is a dipeptide (a compound made up of two amino acids joined together) that helps the body convert fat into energy. It does this by transporting fat to the mitochondria of cells to be burned as fuel. L-carnitine helps to pull fat from storage deposits and ship it off to supply energy to cells. This process is a double-plus — L-carnitine plays a role in weight loss by burning existing fat, and it supplies you with energy for your workout.
That’s L-carnitine. So, what about the similarly named Acetyl L-carnitine? Acetyl L-carnitine is simply L-carnitine with an acetyl group attached to it. The chemistry behind that isn’t important to most of us. Instead, all that matters is that the addition of an acetyl molecule makes the compound able to pass through the blood-brain barrier where it helps to energize the brain. Acetyl L-carnitine contributes to the synthesis of acetylcholine — an important neurotransmitter that plays a role in several brain functions including concentration, focus and mood elevation. In essence, Acetyl L-carnitine is sort of an amped-up version of L-carnitine.
L-arginine, or simply arginine, is a conditionally essential amino acid — while your body is capable of produce it, it doesn’t produce arginine is the amounts you need. That means you need to obtain some arginine daily through your diet or supplements.
For anyone looking to increase muscle mass L-arginine is practically a required supplement. L-arginine is key to muscle growth because it is needed for the synthesis (production) of most proteins. When you participate in a vigorous resistance workout, it’s L-arginine that sends signals to muscle cells, which in turn encourages the release of human growth hormone (HGH, or somatotropin). In fact, studies have shown that L-arginine significantly increases HGH levels.
For anyone interested in increasing their muscle mass and strength, boosting HGH levels is a big selling point for supplementing L-arginine. But there’s more. L-arginine is a precursor (a compound required for the production of another compound) for the biosynthesis (biological production) of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide expands blood vessels, lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow. This increase in blood flow means more nutrients and oxygen are sent to your muscles, and for a longer amount of time. The result is better physical endurance, reduced muscle damage, and speedier recovery times.
L-alanine (or simply alanine) is a non-essential amino acid. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important — non-essential refers to the fact that the body can produce enough of it that intake from diet isn’t necessary. While in general the body can make enough L-alanine, for a person interested in gaining muscle mass, more L-alanine is always better.
While not quite as critical to protein synthesis as L-arginine, L-alanine does play an important part in the process. It also plays another important role involving muscles. L-alanine is highly concentrated in muscle tissue, and excess L-alanine can be broken down into glucose that’s used as an energy source — for the nervous system and brain as well as for muscles.
For bodybuilders L-alanine delivers a one-two punch — it helps to put on muscle and take off fat. The body prefers to derive energy from carbohydrates, but it can also get energy from fats — if the conditions are right. Supplementing with L-alanine makes it easier for fat catabolism (the breaking apart of molecules) to take place.
L-cysteine — often referred to as simply cysteine — is an amino acid that can be obtained by synthesis in the body as well as through eating protein-rich foods. For bodybuilders, cysteine is most important for what it makes, rather than what it is. L-cysteine is used to manufacture L-taurine and N-acetyl cysteine.
L-taurine is an amino acid that is important because it aides in muscle building and thermogenesis (fat burning). It’s a powerful antioxidant that removes waste products that if present lead to fatigue and muscle damage during workouts.
If you scroll up a bit to the section on the ingredient Acetyl L-carnitine you’ll see that Acetyl L-carnitine is L-carnitine with an acetyl group attached to it. N-acetyl cysteine is similar — it’s simply L-cysteine with an acetyl group attached to it. Again, the chemistry isn’t important. Just know that an acetyl molecule makes the compound more stable and therefore more usable by the body. For bodybuilders, the claim to fame of N-acetyl cysteine (also referred to as NAC) is its role in muscle recovery. Its antioxidant actions take place directly within muscle cells, scavenging muscle-damaging free radicals. In short, N-acetyl cysteine improves muscle recovery by decreasing the breakdown of muscle-cell components.
Horny Goat Weed
Horny goat weed — also known as barrenwort or yin yang huo — is a flowering plant common in China. For bodybuilders, the important compound in this plant is an antioxidant called icariin.
Icariin has the powerful ability to increase levels of both nitric oxide and testosterone. As mentioned in the description of the amino acid L-arginine, increased nitric oxide levels increases delivery of blood to the various parts of the body — including to muscles. The increase in blood flow brings with it more proteins and sugars to meet the demands of growing muscles.
In addition to increasing nitric oxide, horny goat weed boosts testosterone levels. As every bodybuilder knows, more testosterone leads to faster muscle growth as well as more rapid fat loss.
Maca, or Lepidium meyenii or Peruvian ginseng, is an edible plant native to the mountains of Peru Chile, and Bolivia. The large root of the plant can be cooked and eaten, or ground up into a powder and taken as a nutritional supplement.
Maca is considered an adaptogen. Adaptogens are a large family of roots and herbs that have properties that help the body deal with, or adapt to, stressors of all kinds. You might think of stress as being an emotional issue, but the body copes with other kinds of stress — including physical stress. Intense workouts stress the body. Anyone intending to increase muscle mass should be working out, and should thus consider supplementing with an adaptogen like Maca.
Maca has a stimulating effect on the hypothalamus and pituitary, which help regulate other glands throughout the body. The result is that maca acts as an energy stimulus that will improve your exercise performance.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is native to Europe and the Middle East, but is now widely spread to many areas of the world. Peppermint is a hybrid mint — it came into existence as a cross between spearmint and watermint. Peppermint has been used for centuries to treat a wide variety of health issues, including respiratory infections, nausea, fever, and headaches.
For workout enthusiasts, peppermint may offer performance-enhancing and health-promoting effects due to its properties as an anti-inflammatory, painkiller, and antioxidant. Peppermint can decrease blood lactate levels and dramatically increase fatty acid and carbohydrate metabolism, all of which serves to increase energy and delay fatigue.
A study published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine showed that peppermint had positive effects on exercise performance. Researchers noted dramatic improvements in each of the tested variables, including standing long jump, standing vertical jump, and grip force.