In a sport rife with misconceptions and misinformation, there will always be a never ending supply of falsehoods to shine some light on, but this time around I want to address a relatively simple subject that has been made way too complicated by perhaps well-intentioned, yet misinformed individuals. I am talking about the differences between pharm-grade and UGL made gear. Opinions abound as to what this actually entails, making it almost impossible for the community to come to any sort of a general consensus. Therefore, I want to take a moment to separate the wheat from the chaff and in so doing, hopefully instill a more balanced view of reality in those who have been disillusioned regarding the truth.
The biggest difference between UGL and pharm-grade AAS products is their purity. Due to less than ideal manufacturing, assembly, and transportation conditions, UGL-made products are typically exposed to a wide variety of contaminants at all stages of the production process. This can result in heavy metal contamination and more importantly, the formation of bacteria leading to infection and abscess. This is really the biggest concern associated with the use of UGL-made drugs and can potentially be quite serious, even deadly in extreme cases. At any rate, even if you never develop an infection requiring surgery or medical intervention, almost all UGL-made steroids have been exposed to some level of contamination/bacterial growth, making redness, pain and swelling at the injection site a common occurrence.
For various reasons, pharm-grade gear has taken on an almost mythical status among a certain population of steroid users. While pharm-grade gear is certainly higher quality from a purity standpoint, and is also more likely to meet label claims, the truth is that there is plenty of UGL-gear on the market capable of providing the same results. How likely this is to be the case is dependent on many factors, such as the compound in question, the manufacturer used, company ethics, whether or not independent lab testing is employed, etc. With that said, I am now going to address some individual drugs, as well as different classes of PED’s, as the possibility of getting what you pay for can vary substantially based on what you are actually buying.
Of all the steroids available today, testosterone, particularly testosterone enanthate, is the most likely to be both real and properly dosed. There are a couple reasons for this. For one, the stuff is extremely cheap and easy to make, providing little incentive for manufacturers to sell UGLs bad stuff. In turn, there is little incentive for UGL’s to intentionally under-dose their testosterone products. Further increasing the odds of obtaining properly dosed test is the rampant public lab-testing that goes on in the online steroid using community.
Unlike other AAS, in which one must send a actual sample of the drug to a lab to for testing (which is both expensive and legally risky), all one needs to do in order to ascertain whether or not a test product contains an accurate dose of testosterone is get some bloodwork. While this is by no means a foolproof way of assessing potency, it does give the individual a pretty good idea of where the product stands, especially when evaluated within the context of other user lab reports.
Knowing that such products will likely be subjected to publically posted lab work, UGL’s have even more incentive to make sure their testosterone products are on-point. This has even led some UGLs to intentionally over-dose their products, so as to leave no room for speculation. Now, when it comes to other AAS there is less assurance of legitimacy/potency, as these steroids are not going to impact one’s testosterone reading and therefore, user bloodwork is pretty much worthless for assessing the legitimacy/potency of non-testosterone based gear. With these drugs, confirmation can only be gained by sending them to an actual lab for testing, which as stated previously, isn’t a realistic option for most.
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In attempting to rank the remaining steroids in a most-likely to be real and/or properly dosed list, I can only generalize. As a general rule, the cheaper a steroid is to produce the more likely it is to be real and/or properly dosed, as the incentive for screwing over one’s fellow man goes down as personal cost/risk decreases. Therefore, when ranking AAS according to their likelihood of meeting label claims, I tend to place them into one of three categories. The first and most likely to meet label claims is testosterone enanthate, followed by other testosterone based products. The second group includes drugs such as nandrolone, boldenone, oxymetholone, methandrostenolone, etc. The last group includes steroids like Halotestin, Anavar, and Primobolan. While this may be an overly simplistic ranking system, and there are certainly other factors than just production cost involved in estimating the likelihood of obtaining legitimate gear, I have found more often than not that the more expensive a drug is to make, the more likely it is to be improperly labeled and/or under-dosed.
The bottom line is that the UGL market, despite its inferior production practices, still offers properly labeled/dosed steroids of all types. You may have to look a bit harder to find quality versions of the more costly drugs, but pretty much everything is widely available. Therefore, the notion that the old-school bodybuilders were only able to grow off of low doses because their gear was “so much better“ is faulty
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