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The key to understanding anabolic steroid detection times lies in the ability to learn about and understand how drug testing for anabolic steroids and performance enhancing drugs works, and what exactly are the factors involved in affecting anabolic steroid detection times.
Drug testing for anabolic steroids and related performance enhancing drugs is one of the most misunderstood topics and concepts by both the average individual as well as those athletes, bodybuilders, and individuals who actually use anabolic steroids.
There are in fact a few popular misconceptions in regards to anabolic steroid testing. The first misconception is that general drug testing holds the capability to test for anabolic steroids. Testing for anabolic steroids requires a very specific test, requiring the use of very sophisticated, very expensive, and advanced equipment.
Being that anabolic steroids are hormones that are native to the human body as well as synthetic analogues of these same hormones, the methodology and pathways to detecting anabolic steroids and the individual steroid detection times are all very different from the methodology used to detect commonly used recreational drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, etc.
These recreational drugs are, for all intents and purposes, compounds that are foreign to the body and operate through very different mechanisms and pathways than hormones and anabolic steroids do.
In addition to this, the equipment and procedures required for the detection of common recreational drugs are very cheap and cost effective in comparison to anabolic steroid testing, which is why they can be employed far more frequently and on a much wider scale.
This is very wrong. Almost the whole process of steroid detection requires human interaction at every level, and the investigation into steroid detection involves some sort of person at every minute of the testing procedure. Advanced machinery and equipment is used, but humans must do the investigatory methods and operate the machines at every step of the procedure and it must be conducted meticulously, which is why the whole process is very prone to error — human error.
The testing procedure for anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs is so complex and expensive that there are in fact only a handful of laboratories in the world that can conduct this testing. Furthermore and perhaps the most important message to take home in this article , anabolic steroid testing involves the testing for all known anabolic steroids and their analogues.
This must be repeated again as it is very crucial for the reader to understand: This means that in order to catch an athlete or individual using anabolic steroids, his or her urine or blood sample must be sampled and assayed for every single anabolic steroid in existence that is known until it is narrowed down to whatever the person being tested for is using or has recently used.
This is where steroid detection times also play a large role, which will be expanded upon much further very shortly. The second most popular or frequent method of testing is via a blood analysis. A third testing method involves the testing of hair samples, but this is not normally reliable for anabolic steroids and is usually done for the testing of recreational drugs. The very expensive procedures and equipment for the purpose of anabolic steroid detection involves the use of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and even liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry    .
These are all extremely expensive procedures and pieces of equipment, costing millions of dollars in order to test perhaps only a handful of individuals. While blood testing is also quite reliable, it falls short of urinalysis due to the fact that anabolic steroids undergo extensive biotransformation through the liver hepatic biotransformation as well as through the kidneys renal.
The metabolism of compounds in the body, such as anabolic steroids, results in changes to the original chemical structure or it can also result in byproducts. These changed molecules are eventually excreted from the body in urine and a much smaller percentage in feces , which is where they can be identified and detected. Almost all anabolic steroids, chemicals, drugs, and even components of food are metabolized into different compounds than their original form that they were ingested or administered in.
However, a small percentage of some compounds might be excreted from the body in its original form, un-metabolized, and a small percentage overall of all ingested or injected compounds will be excreted in its original form. This is where steroid detection times play a very large role.
Because the detection of anabolic steroids in testing procedures plays such a central and pivotal role, the shortcomings of blood testing lies in the fact that because anabolic steroids are primarily metabolized through the hepatic and renal liver and kidney pathways, metabolites rarely linger around in blood plasma for very long, if at all. Often times, they cannot be detected in blood and can clear the bloodstream far too quickly and far too easily. This is where the advantage lies in urinalysis.
The formation of metabolites in the body is merely a part of the natural biochemical processes of the body using, changing, degrading, and eliminating compounds in the body through their life cycles. An example of some metabolites of Testosterone include: Epitestosterone an inactive epimer of Testosterone that is analyzed in urine to detect the use of supraphysiological levels of Testosterone by an athlete , Dihydrotestosterone a metabolite of Testosterone that serves a slightly different purpose in various tissues , and even Estrogen can be considered a metabolite of Testosterone.
Both Dihydrotestosterone and Estrogen are metabolized from Testosterone via enzymes that are responsible for their conversions from Testosterone. Anabolic steroid detection times are more closely related to the metabolites of the anabolic steroids rather than the anabolic steroids themselves, as these metabolites are what linger around in the body and in the urine for longer periods of time than the original anabolic steroid that was used. For example, while an athlete that uses bodybuilding dosages of Testosterone might test positive for Testosterone through a blood or urine test merely by way of the fact that very high Testosterone levels would be seen in his blood or urine, the question remains as to how this athlete would test positive for Testosterone use after he has stopped using it?
The answer to this is key to understanding steroid detection times, and while this hypothetical user of Testosterone might have stopped use long before a urine test so that high Testosterone levels might not be found, Epitestosterone levels are a telltale sign, as an obscenely and abnormally high Testosterone: A normal individual typically has a ratio of 1: This analysis of Testosterone: Epitestosterone is the primary method by which athletes are tested positive for doping with Testosterone .
For other anabolic steroids, the detection is even easier, as metabolites of different unique analogues and derivatives are very easy to identify once known. For example Deca-Durabolin Nandrolone Decanoate is easily detectible via the detection of its metabolite norandrosterone in the urine. If the amount of norandrosterone in the urine is found to be much higher than a particular amount deemed as a normal physiological level, it can be presumed that the athlete or individual had been using Nandrolone.
The use of mass spectrometer can even detect non-metabolized Nandrolone molecules in urine due to its unique properties.
It is through the detection of the metabolites of the different anabolic steroid that essentially determines the steroid detection times that have been more or less established. In general, it should be understood that in order for an anabolic steroid to be detected in a test, the specific anabolic steroid, and more specifically its metabolites, must be known prior to the testing procedure.
This is why it has been mentioned earlier in this article that anabolic steroid testing involves the testing for all known anabolic steroids and their analogues.
An anabolic steroid that is not known cannot be found. In order to find something, you need to know what you are looking for first before any investigation begins. This is the reason as to why many athletes have circumvented testing procedures and have successfully doped without being caught or have gone a very long time doping before being caught.
These athletes merely utilized designer steroids that were unknown at the time, or through the use of a newly designed or created compound. If the athlete utilizes an anabolic steroid that is not yet known or is yet to be discovered and it is kept a closely guarded secret, that athlete will get away with it no matter how much he is tested. This is evidenced in history during the Olympics, where East Germany ran a state-sponsored program known as State Plan Research Theme The East German government implemented this program and ran it for over 20 years, and involved the use of undetectable at the time anabolic steroids, due to their relatively new development and unknown status.
Steroid detection times can be influenced by many different factors, mostly involving the different metabolic pathways and excretion methods. Anabolic steroid detection times can be influenced by the type of anabolic steroid used, the specific properties of that anabolic steroid, the dose, the duration of use, and route of administration oral or injectable. Every anabolic steroid exhibits a different characteristic or property, and some can be quite different from others, while some are very similar to others.
Some previous factors mentioned included: Other further factors include: Some anabolic steroid detection times, as a result of these factors, are extremely long while others are very short. Some anabolic steroids might be more suitable than others for the purpose of the avoidance of a positive test result, and others are much less suitable and should be avoided at all costs.
A full list of the different and most common anabolic steroids and the individual steroid detection times will be presented at the end of this article. Type of anabolic steroid used: The type of anabolic steroid used can have a very influential factor on their individual steroid detection times. There might also be a greater leeway for acceptable levels of metabolites in this case, as well as the faster clearance of them. For example, Testosterone suspension is an un-esterified variant of Testosterone that can completely clear the body within 12 — 24 hours, and this can also mean that the Testosterone: Properties unique to an anabolic steroid: Deca is perhaps regarded as the worst offender when it comes to steroid detection times, and is an anabolic steroid that is recommended for tested athletes to avoid at all costs as a result.
Dose and duration of use: Generally self-explanatory, the dose and duration of use make a very large impact on anabolic steroid detection times. Higher dosage of an anabolic steroid means that the human body must process more of the hormone in and out of the body, and metabolize much more of it.
There is always a limit as to how fast the body can metabolize hormones or anything else , leaving the body to be able to metabolize compounds only so fast. The result can be a slower metabolism of the anabolic steroids in and out of the body, resulting in altered longer steroid detection times than the hormone would otherwise exhibit. The same goes for duration of use — longer cycles mean longer steroid detection times.
Oral anabolic steroids are known as being very fast to reach peak blood plasma levels in the body, and equally very fast to clear. On the other hand, injectable anabolic steroids exhibit a slower release and slower metabolism in the body for the most part.
While oral anabolic steroids all exhibit half-lives of 4 — 24 hours depending on the compound used , injectable anabolic steroids especially esterified ones exhibit half-lives of 24 hours to 15 days or more, depending on the compound used. Some injectable anabolic steroids, such as Testosterone Suspension, exhibit a very short half-life of approximately 4 — 24 hours.
It stands to reason that most of the time, the shorter the half-life of an anabolic steroid, the shorter the duration its metabolites remain in the body.
Anabolic steroids by nature are lipids fats , though they are not the traditional chemical characteristic of a hydrocarbon chain. They are nevertheless very fat soluble, and blend well with fats hence why they are able to seamlessly pass through the lipid bilayer of cells in order to exert their activity.
Because of the fat solubility, anabolic steroids and their metabolites can linger in fat tissue for very long periods of time, and some are very notorious for this, such as Deca Nandrolone. Nandrolone is known as being a very fat soluble hormone that can linger in fat tissue as well as its metabolites for over a year after use.
Furthermore, the esterification that is commonly done to injectable anabolic steroids even further increases their solubility in fats, which causes their individual steroid detection times to increase even further. For example, the detection time of Testosterone Propionate is not as long as Testosterone Enanthate or Testosterone Cypionate.
The reason for this difference is because of the esters attached to the Testosterone molecules that alter their rates of release, and therefore their metabolism, and ultimately their steroid detection times. The more resistant an anabolic steroid or any hormone, drug, and even food is to metabolism in the body, the longer it and its metabolites will remain in the body. One such compound that is a perfect example of this is Trenbolone , which is highly resistant to metabolism in the body and is also excreted in urine un-metabolized in a very high percentage.
Published Sep 13, by:. Dan's educational emphasis is on performance enhancement drugs PEDs , endocrinology, nutritional supplements and strategies for health, fat reduction, anti-ageing, muscle growth, disease control and vaccinations.
Dan has had an interest in learning and writing about steroid use for over 15 years. Introduction — How Steroid Drug Testing Works The key to understanding anabolic steroid detection times lies in the ability to learn about and understand how drug testing for anabolic steroids and performance enhancing drugs works, and what exactly are the factors involved in affecting anabolic steroid detection times.