4 BEST Bodybuilding Supplements That Work Like Steroids

By: Rob Miller
Fact Checked On: 5-19-2018

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In the quest to get big, a lot of men and some women turn toward illegal drugs that are unregulated, making them potentially dangerous.

What’s more, these same drugs are going to raise red flags if you have your eyes on the bodybuilding stage.

Can you build big muscle without the risk posed by illegal steroids?

I’d argue that there are legit over-the-counter steroid alternatives that are effective and don’t pose the same risks as anabolic steroids.

Let’s take a look at 4 types of OTC steroid alternatives that can help you achieve your muscle building goals.

OTC Steroid #1: SARMs

Short for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator, a SARM promotes anabolic benefits without the androgenic side effects.

What’s the difference?

sarms stack ostarine cardarine ligandrol

Anabolic benefits refer specifically to the size of the muscle tissue; hence, why the terms anabolism and anabolic environment are so popular for those trying to build big muscle.

Androgenic, on the other hand, are the male characteristics associated with the natural onset and development of men. For example, when a teen’s voice starts to deepen, this is an androgenic characteristic.

The advantage to only promoting anabolic properties and not androgenic ones is that you’re getting what you want (muscle mass) without the side effects associated with too much androgenic properties.

For example, hair loss, aggression, and gyno (man boobs) are all notorious androgen-based side effects.

SARMs, in theory, allow you to have your cake and eat it too.

How Do SARMs Work?

SARMs are designed to target specific androgen receptor sites in the muscle tissue.

Once locked and loaded at the receptor site, the SARM can promote the anabolic benefits of muscle growth with minimal to no androgenic complications.

Are SARMs Legal?

This is where we enter a gray area.

SARMs aren’t completely legal, but they aren’t altogether illegal.

SARMs in capsule form, suggesting consumption as a nutritional supplement for humans, are what is most likely to fall into the illegal status.

SARMs in liquid form, suggesting consumption for animal-based research, is usually given the green light, and it’s the reason why 9 times out of 10, you’ll find SARMs in tincture (eye dropper) form.

Best Types of SARMs

It’s the nature of the industry to see incredible products come and go, especially if they are teetering in a gray area of legality.

Let’s define the most used, proven, and trusted types of SARMs that are also readily available online.

Ostarine

Let’s kick off the list with the most popular SARM, Ostarine.

ostarine as a steroid alternative

Related Article: Ostarine Review – Dosage, Side Effects, and More

This compound made huge waves in the fitness industry when it was discovered that medical experts were using it to stop the breakdown and promote the growth of muscle tissue.

As a SARM, Ostarine seeks out and attaches itself to selective androgen receptors in the body.

Once attached, Ostarine stimulates the production of anabolic, or muscle promoting, compounds.

What Is It Used For?

Since Ostarine helps to trigger the release of anabolic compounds, it’s best used for bulking.

In fact, one famous study with Ostarine showed that subjects gained an average of 3 pounds of muscle without the inclusion of an exercise program.

Now, imagine what you can do when you hit the gym several times per week.

Since it protects lean muscle tissue from breakdown, Ostarine may also act as a great recovery SARM, but the focus is on muscle mass.

Potential Side Effects

Since Ostarine attaches itself to androgenic receptors, there is a chance you may experience side effects relative to androgenic development such as acne and hair loss.

Users who abuse Ostarine or stay on a cycle too long might suffer from mild testosterone suppression.

The way to avoid these side effects is to use an intra-cycle support and post-cycle therapy (PCT) supplement.

How to Take

There is an injectable version of Ostarine on the market, but I’d recommend sticking with the liquid form in an eye dropper to avoid cost and the risk of over-dosing.

sarms dropper
An example of a SARMS dropper / tincture

To avoid side effects and to see how your body responds, you can start a cycle at 3 mg. Gradually, increase the dosage to 12 to 15 mg.

If your goal is to gain as much size as possible, you can increase the dosage to 25 mg, but no higher than this.

Please note that intra-cycle support and PCT supplements are required at this dosage.

Do not exceed a cycle of 6 weeks and follow up with 4 weeks off.

Cardarine

Technically, a PPAR modulator, Cardarine is grouped into the SARM category for the purpose of easy classification.

cardarine (gw 50516) as a steroid alternative

Related Article: Cardarine Review – 13 Things You Need To Know

After all, it’s easier to search for the term SARM than PPAR modulator.

Cardarine stimulates what is known as the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) in your body.

Found in muscle and fatty tissue, the PPAR helps to regulate fat burning, cholesterol, muscle development, and recovery.

Cardarine taps into the properties of the PPAR, which is how it can promote benefits such as muscle growth, enhanced recovery, and fat burning.

What Is It Used For?

While it might seem like an ideal all-around SARM, Cardarine really shines when it comes to cutting and recovery.

Yes, it can promote muscle building, but if your goal is only size, Cardarine might not be what you’re looking for, and you’re better off with Ostarine.

Potential Side Effects

Cardarine has no reported side effects; however, it should be noted that at a time, it was accused of promoting colon cancer.

Since these accusations, studies have been released proving otherwise.

How to Take

The average dose according to user reviews and brand recommendations is 10 mg every day for 4 to 6 weeks.

You can gradually increase this dosage to 20 mg during a second or third cycle, but do not exceed this amount.

Once your cycle has finished, give your body a break of 4 weeks before beginning another cycle.

No intra-cycle support or post-cycle support is needed as Cardarine doesn’t promote androgenic side effects.

Nutrobal

Also known as MK-677, Nutrobal, like Cardarine, isn’t technically a SARM; rather, it is a Growth Hormone Secretagogue, or HGH-S.

nutrobal (mk-677) as a steroid alternative

Related Article: Nutrobal (MK-677) Review – 12 Things You NEED To Know Before Buying

Growth Hormone Secretagogues like Nutrobal are an injection-free way to stimulate the production of growth hormone.

When you take an HGH-S, you are consuming peptides that seek out growth hormone receptors, attach themselves to the receptors, and stimulate the production of growth hormone.

In this way, it’s quite similar but not exactly a SARM.

Still it’s close enough to be lumped into the SARM category.

Nutrobal is a unique HGH-S because it has the ability to bypass the somatostatin barrier. The results?

More growth hormone production than your average HGH-S.

One important thing to note here is that you are NOT ingesting synthetic growth hormone; rather, you are stimulating the natural production of growth hormone within your own body.

What Is It Used For?

Due to the direct production of growth hormone, Nutrobal is an ideal over-the-counter steroid alternative for building serious muscle mass.

It’s also an excellent way to boost recovery and protect your current levels of muscle mass from catabolic breakdown due to over-training or high levels of cortisol.

Potential Side Effects

The average side effects are nothing to worry about.

Most people report a bigger appetite, occasional numbness in the hands, and fatigue.

Other side effects that are rare to hear about include heartburn, mood swings, and insulin resistance.

How to Take

You’ll want to start with 5 mg of Nutrobal, and you can gradually increase this amount to 25 mg. Do not take Nutrobal for more than 10 weeks, followed by a 4-week break.

It’s important to use as directed, but here’s an example of a general dosage chart for Nutrobal:

  • Week 1: 5 mg
  • Week 2: 5 mg
  • Week 3: 10 mg
  • Week 4: 10 mg
  • Week 5: 15 mg
  • Week 6: 15 mg
  • Week 7: 20 mg
  • Week 8: 20 mg
  • Week 9: 25 mg
  • Week 10: 25 mg

OTC Steroid Alternative #2: Prohormones

In your body, you have a variety of sex steroid hormones that are regulated by your body’s need for that particular hormone.

Sex steroid hormones play a role in promoting lean muscle tissue and fat burning.

Pro-hormones are precursors, or the chemical compound that is needed to create those sex steroid hormones; pro-hormones are NOT the hormone itself.

Once converted in the body via the liver, pro-hormones can promote a variety of benefits including muscle building, shredding, and performance enhancement.

How Do Prohormones Work?

Once you ingest a pro-hormone, your liver coverts it into a usable form, which is then hooked up to its sex steroid counterpart.

This is much different from illegal steroids as anabolic steroids don’t need to be converted to be used.

Once injected, they immediately influence hormone levels.

Are Prohormones Legal?

As of 2014, when President Obama signed the Designer Steroid Control Act (DSCA), prohormones became illegal to be sold with some exceptions such as Arimistane, which is not a true pro-hormone but is usually lumped into the category.

While illegal, you can still purchase prohormones through websites that took advantage and bought up entire stocks before the ban.

I’d advise against this as you don’t know if the pro-hormones are legit or if they’ve been tampered with.

Instead, I’d recommend one of the still legal pro-hormones below.

Best Types of Prohormones

Since pro-hormones are officially illegal, I’ll discuss three products that are either thrown into the category without being true prohormones, or compounds that are easy to acquire and safe to use.

Androsta-3,5-diene-7,17-dione

More commonly known as Arimistane, this Armotase Inhibitor does not increase growth hormone production; rather, it combats estrogen dominance.

Suppressing estrogen production is key if you want to increase levels of testosterone and avoid gyno-based side effects.

Related Article: Arimistane Review: Top 10 Things You Should Know Before Buying

Able to be used as a standalone product or as a post-cycle therapy supplement, Arimistane works by blocking the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. It has also been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which helps you avoid muscle breakdown.

What Is It Used For?

You’re not going to look like Phil Heath by using Arimistane; however, if your goals are lean muscle gains, fat burning, and or enhanced recovery, it will do the trick.

Potential Side Effects

When used as directed, no side effects were reported with Arimistane; however, users who intentionally overdosed found that they had complications with their liver enzymes.

Some were able to take a PCT and they were fine while others required medical treatment.

The moral of the story with anabolic supplements: Don’t take more than the label tells you.

How to Take

Take Arimistane for no longer than a 6-week cycle.

The dosage will vary by brand, but you’ll find that most range between 100 mg to 200 mg per day.

There’s no need to gradually increase your dosage to account for tolerance issues with Arimistane.

5-Alpha-Hydroxy-Laxogenin

More commonly referred to as Laxogenin, this is a plant-based supplement known as a steroidal sapinogen.

laxogenin as a steroid alternative

Related Article: Laxogenin Review – 5 Things You Need To Know Before Buying

It’s a synthetically isolated compound from the rhizomes of the plant called, Smilax Sieboldii.

Laxogenin falls into a supplement category known as brassinosteroids, or plant-based steroids.

Remember that plant steroids are not the same as human steroids; however, they can provide similar and unique benefits.

Laxogenin, in particular, has been shown to increase protein synthesis, protect from catabolic breakdown, and support lean tissue growth.

What Is It Used For?

Laxogenin is ideal for muscle building but, again, you shouldn’t expect the same results as an illegal steroid.

A cycle might help to produce several pounds of muscle gain when used in conjunction with a weight training program and muscle-focused nutrition plan.

Users also reported better workout performance when taking Laxogenin an hour before going to the gym.

Potential Side Effects

Taken responsibly and as directed, Laxogenin has no reported side effects.

How to Take

The standard dosage for Laxogenin will range between 60 mg and 100 mg. You can use Laxogenin for no more than 8 weeks followed by a break of 4 weeks.

Dehydroepiandrosterone

Commonly known as DHEA, this yam-based extract is thought to help increase production of the hormone of the same name.

The hormone in your body is a precursor to testosterone so in theory, the more DHEA you have, the higher your level of testosterone.

Studies suggest that the hormone DHEA in our bodies decreases with age, and this might promote side effects such as weight gain, gyno in men, mood swings, depression, and a higher risk of disease.

DHEA might be a safe and effective way to avoid these age-based complications, and as a testosterone booster, it’s not too bad.

What Is It Used For?

Studies show that DHEA supplementation does not raise your total testosterone levels, but it can help to increase your free testosterone levels.

DHEA is a decent muscle builder, but it really shines as a performance enhancer, especially if you’re new to weight lifting and high intensity exercise.

Theoretically, if DHEA gives you a boost in performance during hypertrophy-focused workouts, you’re likely to see better gains.

Potential Side Effects

As always, DHEA is safe when you take it in a 4-week cycle followed by 4 weeks off.

If you exceed this time frame or if you take more than the recommended dosage, you might experience pre-mature balding, breakouts and acne, and mood swings.

How to Take

The sweet spot for DHEA supplements is between 50 mg and 100 mg. If you’ve never used it before, I’d recommend starting with a 50 mg dosage as this is what studies used.

Gradually build up to 100 mg for a second or third cycle.

Do not exceed 100 mg dosages.

OTC Steroid Alternative #3: D-Anaoxn

D-Anaoxn is said to be a non-steroidal alternative, mimicking its steroidal counterpart, Methandrosteonolone, more commonly known as Dianabol.

How Does D-Anaoxn Work?

The reality is that D-Anaoxn is nothing more than DHEA, amino acids, and whey protein.

Does this mean it’s not worth a second glance?

Not exactly.

The combination of leucine, isoleucine, and valine has been shown to promote protein synthesis and muscle recovery while whey protein has been demonstrated time and time again to trigger muscle growth.

As mentioned above, DHEA can promote athletic performance while increasing levels of free testosterone.

This unique combination can set the stage for muscle building as long as it’s used with a resistance training program and a muscle-focused diet plan.

IsD-Anaoxn Legal?

Yes,D-Anaoxn is completely legal and readily available online.

Best Type of D-Anaoxn

D-Anaoxnis a product of the brand, Crazy Mass.

Based on its user reviews, it’s a popular and well-received product.

What Is It Used For?

D-Anaoxnis primary used as support for muscle building, but it will also promote muscle recovery post-workout.

Potential Side Effects

When used as directed, there are no reported side effects with D-Anaoxn.

However, it’s important to note that one capsule contains 25 mg of DHEA, and it’s recommended to take one capsule three times per day.

As mentioned above, you do not want to exceed this dosage with DHEA as it might result in acne, hair loss, and mood swings.

How to Take

Take one capsule three times daily.

OTC Steroid Alternative #4: T-Bal 75

Just like D-Bal, T-Bal 75 is marketed as a non-steroidal alternative, resembling its steroidal counterpart, Trenbolone.

How DoesT-Bal 75 Work?

More of a marketing ploy than anything else,T-Bal 75 contains an herbal-based formula with its two superstar ingredients, Beta Sitosterol and Samento Inner Bark.

Beta Sitosterol is known as a phytosterol, which contains a chemical structure very similar to that of cholesterol.

It has been shown to hamper the conversion of testosterone into DHT.

In theory, this will improve free testosterone levels while avoiding DHT-based side effects such as pre-mature balding and prostate issues.

Samento Inner Bark, better known as Cat’s Claw, is a great recovery compound, shown to boost immunity and improve DNA.

IsT-Bal 75 Legal?

Yes, Trenorol is completely legal and readily available online.

Best Type of T-Bal 75

T-Bal 75is a product of the brand, Crazy Mass.

Just like D-Bal, it is a very popular product, but is arguably more popular and recommended based on user reviews.

What Is It Used For?

Crazy Mass labels it as a cutting and bulking supplement.

As a natural supplement, I think it’s safe to argue thatT-Bal 75 would be best suited for someone looking to lean out while maintaining their current levels of muscle mass.

Potential Side Effects

Since it is a naturally-based supplement, there are no reported side effects when you useT-Bal 75 as directed.

How to Take

Take one capsule three times daily.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, none of these bodybuilding supplement steroid alternatives are available in stores.

This is actually sort of a good thing, because usually the stuff sold in GNC is just simply NOT effective.

If you are looking for a legal steroid at gnc, check out this article.

While I personally don’t think the supplements in that review are even CLOSE to the ones I mentioned here, they do give some good effects overall.

The good thing about the pills I listed on this page is that they are ALL legal, at least for now.

If you’re looking for a solid AND effective steroid alternative, the supplements above WILL do the job.

Have You Used Any of These Supplements? Leave Your Review Below!



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Author: Rob Miller

Supplement Critique

Rob Miller founded SupplementCritique.com over 7 years ago, and has been the chief editor ever since. He has a diploma in Advanced Dietary Supplements Advisor, and worked at GNC for 3 years. He KNOWS supplements, both inside and out. Rob currently resides in Jupiter, FL, with his wife of 4 years.  Learn more about him in his Bio here. Follow him on Twitter , Facebook, LinkedIn, or find him on Google +.

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