Decoding Steroids : How to Read the Chemical Names!

I was recently contacted by a friend over at ESPN, asking about a particular designer steroid, which he had the chemical name for, but didn't really know what it was. I'd never seen the name before, but I could figure out what it was probably like, just from the name. So, I think it would be prudent to take a second to show you how steroids and prohormones are named so that you can understand what's in a name (answer: a lot). 

 Generally, what we know about a steroid, or at least part of that, is "coded" in its name [the part written like this at the start of my profiles for steroid.com]. If you look in the name of a steroid, and it's something like this:

2-oxy androstane 17b-ol 2-one

(the chemical name for Anavar)

See the bold part? That means it's a DHT-derivative, with regards to its base carbon structure. Androstane denotes being derived from DHT.

If it said:

Norandrostene 17b-ol 3-one


Then you know the norandrostene part means it's derived from Nandrolone (likewise, generally, if you see 19-nor or something like that)


And finally, if you see the words testosterone-duh-or androstene (note that this is "stene" and not "stane") in the name of the structure, then you know it's derived from testosterone.


Testosterone, Dihydrotestosterone, and 19-nor Testosterone are what I call the 3 families of anabolic steroids. That term isn't in any medical textbook, and I pretty much made it up, but it's now an accepted term on most message boards - and it's accurate enough for our purposes.

Now, for an example of how this might also be written, we'll take a steroid like Boldenone (Eq) again and we can figure out a few things about it.

Look at the name:

(17b-ol 1, 4-androstadiene-3-one,)


And what we see is that it starts with "BOL" and the chemical name begins with 17b-ol, hence, "BOL."

See what I'm talking about?

17b-ol 1,4-androstadiene-3-one

Next we see "DEN" (because the word is Bol-Den-One if you break it apart). Looking in the middle of Boldenone's chemical name we find something similar:

17b-ol 1,4-androstadiene, 3-one

And finally we have "ONE" at the end of Boldenone, and clearly, the chemical name also has "One" at the very end:

17b-ol 1,4-androstadiene-3-one

So, what does all of this tell us?  Well, since it starts with 17b-ol we know that its got something going on at the 17beta position, which is an "ol" and is a Hydroxy (oxygen and hydrogen) group. This is where our esterification (added ester) at the 17-beta-position goes. Now, we also have the middle part, androstadiene, which indicates that this steroid has a double carbon bond on the base of a testosterone's steran nucleus or a di-bond on androstene.  In this particular case, the double carbon bond at this position slows aromatization.  Eq, as we know, aromatizes to a far lesser degree than testosterone because of this modification. Remember from the beginning of my explanation on all of this that androstene indicates testosterone as a base structure.

Add it all up and we have Boldenone.  This is called Equipoise and its name comes from the Latin root of the word Equine, and as you already know, Equipoise (Eq) was developed to give to horses.

Now, if we look at Eq (boldenone) and compare it to Dianabol, (methandrostenolone), we can see how similar they are.


(17b-ol 1,4-androstadiene-3-one )

And now Dianabol (similarities in italics, difference noted in black/bold):

(17a-methyl-17b-ol 1,4-androstadiene-3-one )

As you can see, the only difference between Dianabol and Eq is the 17a-Methyl group, which is why Dianabol is called a Methylated steroid; it has been 17-alpha-alkylated to survive oral ingestion.

And this, should tell us a few things. We can tell a lot from just the names I've used in my profiles from steroid.com. When you compare the minor difference in names with the major differences in effects concerning Dianabol vs. Eq) we discover that names aren't everything...but they give us a good starting point to figure out what something does, or at least what it's derived from. 

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