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Llewellyn on Steroids #1 - Underground Steroids, Steroid Bridge?



Aug 11, 2010
Llewellyn on Steroids #1 - Underground Steroids, Steroid Bridge?

Underground Steroids

Q: I got a 10ml bottle of testosterone enanthate from Rock Labs. It contains 250mg/ml of steroid. Is this lab good? My dealer said it is a high quality underground steroid. What exactly does that mean?

A: I really cannot comment on the quality of Rock Labs, as I know nothing about the operation nor have tested any of their products. I can address in a very general sense this recent trend towards underground steroid manufacturing labs, however, and what this means for the consumer and marketplace. For those unfamiliar, an underground steroid lab is a secret illegal operation that makes steroids specifically for sale on the black market. Decades ago, the black market was fed almost exclusively with products diverted from legitimate sources, such as doctors, pharmacies, veterinarians, and medicine wholesalers. We are talking the 1960’s and 70’s, a time when demand was growing but still mainly isolated to competitive athletics. Strong criminal laws were not in place that really prevented such diversion, and as a result, the steroid buying public had ready access to quality (clean) pharmaceuticals. Boy, times have changed, and not for the better.

A counterfeit market exploded in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, due to growing demand for steroids and shrinking supplies. Laws were being passed that made it much more difficult to divert these drugs to the black market in bulk. Some dealers were importing drugs to help fill the gap, but this supply chain was never sufficient. The counterfeit market has grown at a fast pace ever since. The black market has continued to evolve over the years into a monstrous industry filled with illicitly produced steroids, often of dubious quality. With this, a new breed of drug has emerged called the “Underground Steroid”. These products aren’t copies of real pharmaceutical brands, but are new brands, openly known to be from underground companies. Twenty years ago these would have generally all been considered counterfeits, but today underground labs are a new principle source for steroids on the black market, and are accepted by many buyers. These underground companies are basically unlicensed renegade manufacturers, making the drugs that the pharmaceutical industry (for the most part) wants to restrict from athletes. To some they are heroes, while to others they are unscrupulous profiteers.

It has become commonplace now that steroid dealing in many areas has taken on an underground home-manufacturing model. In this case a dealer buys a kilo or two of raw steroid powder from an overseas source, and makes his/her own product with it. You basically just need a scale, some empty vials, oil & alcohol for mixing, a hand crimpier to seal the bottles, and a few syringe filters to clean up the product a bit. A small hand-capping machine can be used to make orals. Add a laser printer to run labels and you have a fully functional underground steroid production facility right at your kitchen table. You can run a few hundred bottles of this or that, and turn an amazing profit on a fairly small investment. The materials to do this are readily available, and the number of such labs in operation these days is staggering. In fact, these products may presently be close to holding a majority of the marketplace.

Underground steroids made as described above are cheap and extremely common to find right now. They are abundant in almost every corner of the market, especially in the United States and Canada. It must be emphasized, however, that underground steroids can also be unsterile, impure, and dangerous. Clearly they are not coming from licensed and monitored pharmaceutical facilities. This is something far different. To begin with, the quality of material used to make these drugs is often at issue, which may come from non-pharmaceutical origins and be of a low grade. This may include notable heavy metals contamination, or the presence of a host of other unwanted impurities. The handling and packaging of the drugs is also being done under far less than sterile conditions, making the possibility of biological contamination in processing notable. That is not to mention the simple chance for mistakes when drugs are being made under such conditions. All this raises serious health concerns with the use of “Underground Gear”.

That is not to say all underground products are bad. There are many larger (and better run) operations than I have described above. Some actually contract real drug manufacturing facilities in other countries to make their products, and make every attempt to assure they are selling clean and sterile steroids. Some are pharmaceutical quality, no doubt. But these operations are smaller in number that the vast base of home-production businesses, so it is a “buyer beware” market today. While I wouldn’t say that all underground drugs absolutely must be avoided, I would suggest that you stick to legitimate pharmaceutical products unless you are absolutely sure that what you are buying is a clean quality drug. Can you say that you know that for certain of Rock Labs? It doesn’t sound like it based on your question, and on that note I’d probably suggest avoiding it.

Steroid or Non-Steroid Bridge?

Q: What do you think of using a mild steroid like Anavar to bridge between cycles? Is this a good idea to maintain mass between my normal cycles? If so, how much should I use?

A: There are many issues with “bridging” that should make the average person think twice about it. For starters, every anabolic steroid known to man will suppress testosterone production when used in doses sufficient to promote muscle gain. Studies have confirmed notable testosterone suppression with therapeutic doses of oxandrolone, so you are S.O.L. if a recovery bridge with Anavar is what you (like many) were hoping for. The next issue is the simple and more general fact that you are not going off steroids with a steroid bridge, and are potentially exacerbating the negative health aspects of their use, such their effects on serum lipids and cardiovascular disease risk. If you are spending your entire year going from strong cycle to lesser oral (Anavar) cycle, you are undoubtedly always going to be negatively altering your lipids (orals tend to be particularly harsh here, in fact). You may be putting yourself in some notable risk as the years progress. You need to remember that the whole point of cycling is to minimize the negative health risks of steroid use. The fact that these drugs have potential risks really cannot be disputed, just addressed intelligently. Bridging may be a very unhealthful way of sustaining these risks indefinitely, instead of mitigating them with off time. Don’t bridge with steroids!

Non-Steroidal Bridging

If you want an optimal “off cycle” program, you really should look at non-hormonal anabolic agents and/or supplements instead of anabolic steroids. For example, I know many guys that like to go off steroids and onto a cycle of Human Growth Hormone or IGF-1. Many others use this time to undertake a detailed program of dietary supplements. I’ve often recommended a 50-60 day stack of Creatine (3-5 grams per day) and Arachidonic acid (X-Factor™; 750-1000mg daily) for this purpose, which are both very effective natural muscle-building supplements. Truth be told, a number of professional athletes I know are using this combination between cycles/during testing periods right now with excellent results. Post cycle, these supplements can do an excellent job of helping you maintain the hard work you’ve put into your physique while on cycle. They also make an excellent non-hormonal anabolic stack in general.

A branched chain amino acid (BCAA) product might not hurt during your off-cycle time either, as recovery may be slowed compared to what you were used to on-cycle. It should help you recover faster and get more out of your workouts. A fish oil supplement might also be a good idea to help balance your lipid and triglyceride levels, which remember were likely altered for the negative during your steroid cycles. Off-cycle may also be a good time to invest in some of the other general health promoting vitamins and herbs etc. that may be fond of taking. The bottom line is, your off time is supposed to be “off time” for a reason. This is the time to let your body get back to its natural state of hormonal balance, and for you to enjoy a period where you are not using steroids and perhaps placing certain strains on your health. Take advantage of this time and use it for what its worth – keeping you healthy and happy.

About William Llewellyn
William Llewellyn is a recognized authority on anabolic substances, and author of the bestselling steroid reference book series ANABOLICS, soon entering its 6th edition with ANABOLICS 2007. Llewellyn has been featured in ESPN Magazine (Cover Story),The Washington Post (Front Page Story),Discovery Channel, Fox News Channel, ESPN Television, NPR news, ESPN radio, and other television and radio programs. He also publishes Body of Science magazine, a quarterly publication dedicated to the “understanding of sports enhancement”, with a focus on the athletic use of performance-enhancing pharmaceuticals. Llewellyn also writes a monthly column for Muscular Development magazine on the subject of anabolic steroids, and has authored numerous articles for other bodybuilding publications.



Oct 28, 2010
Very good read and article here, wow I will be busy for months :)