Anabolic Research Update
By William Llewellyn
Bacteria Contamination Report
As many of you know, I have been collaborating on a new book (UNDERGROUND ANABOLICS). It examines the black-market supply of steroids under Prohibition. One key focus of the book is the increasing prominence of steroids manufactured by underground (UG) labs instead of registered pharmaceutical companies. The book culminates with a series of tests on nearly two-dozen of the most popular underground labs and export-focused pharmaceutical companies. The intention is to provide a rundown of the relative quality (and risk) of some of the most common black-market items. The lab has already completed the first series of tests. They involved the screening of each sample for active bacteria (colony-forming units). As we will see shortly, some of the findings were alarming.
Before going into the results, it is important to emphasize that all of these samples were obtained from the black market. Inherently, products that are traded through illicit channels are very difficult to verify for authenticity. Given the high prevalence of counterfeiting with steroid products, even at times the counterfeiting of underground labs, these are named as 'Listed Manufacturer' only. No attempt to verify these products has been made, and I cannot say for certain if any specific item is legitimate or counterfeit. These results, therefore, are not meant as a direct assessment of these labs. It would take more testing and source verification to make any conclusive judgment. Instead, when bad results are seen, it is a warning about products bearing the same name/lot number on the black market.
Oil-Based UG Steroids
Oil is not a particularly good medium for bacteria to grow in. Furthermore, studies show that a benzyl alcohol level of .5 percent (this is the most common antimicrobial agent used) should be able to kill most bacteria. As a result of these two basic properties of two of the most basic manufacturing materials, oil-based steroids are not commonly contaminated with bacteria. The fact that bacteria problems were uncommon in the oil-based steroid samples we sent in for testing seems to support this. Still, there were a few problems. Three of the samples were slightly above the acceptable bacteria limit (<100 CFU). While significant growth did not appear to be taking place inside these solutions, enough colony-forming units were present to be of concern.
Only one oil-based sample of 17 sent in (Diamond) had an especially high level of bacteria (1,500 CFU). This is definitely cause for serious concern, and suggests one or more fundamental problems with the manufacturing of this product.
A representative of the underground lab actually contacted me when I released a warning to the Internet community about this item. He was very concerned with the result, and maintained that the operation takes quality control very seriously. Diamond has vowed to conduct independent testing on their whole line, and publish the results publicly. I did encourage him to do so. Hopefully this problem will not come up in repeat reports. Given the ability to control bacteria with a little care, I suspect it will not— but we'll see.
Bacteria-Contaminated Products (OIL)
Steroid Listed Manufacturer Lot # Expiration CFU (Bacteria)
Nandrolone dec. Diamond 00022 05/01/2012 1,500 CFU*
Testosterone prop. Elite Fitness 0070312 12/2010 100 CFU
Testosterone enan. Unigen E803 02/2010 100 CFU
Drostanolone enan. Golden Gear 138 06/2011 100 CFU
*Acceptable limit <100 CFU
Oil-based steroids that were analyzed from each of the following companies/underground labs were clean, with no significant bacterial level:
Water-Based UG Steroids: A WARNING
The water-based steroids were far more concerning. Water is an ideal medium for bacteria to grow. For this reason, the manufacture of underground steroids is inherently riskier when it involves water-based products. Weaknesses in quality control measures are easily exploited by the numerous bacteria that surround us all of the time. Pharmaceutical companies employ detailed sterility measures to assure bacteria do not enter their drug products, measures that underground manufacturers simply cannot fully duplicate. Because of this, many underground labs don't even attempt to manufacture water-based steroids. While I concede that the assembly of sterile underground water-based products is possible, if these lab results are any indication, significant problems are common.
Bacteria-Contaminated Products (Water)
Steroid Listed Manufacturer Lot # Expiration CFU (Bacteria)*
Stanozolol Alpha Pharma RX7001 08/2010 400 CFU
Stanozolol Axio TV7R86 12/2012 12,000 CFU
Testosterone suspen. Geneza GP103 062011 4,000 CFU
*Acceptable limit <100 CFU
Of the four water-based products that were sent into the lab, three samples contained very high levels of bacteria. The only water-based product that passed bacteria screening was an (additional) ampule of Alpha Pharma stanozolol (lot RX8001). Alpha Pharma is a registered pharmaceutical exporter in India. Their products are not sold domestically in that country, but are not considered 'underground,' either. If the product with lot RX7001 actually came from this company (which we cannot say for certain), it would underline how difficult it can be to assemble sterile water-based products. As a registered manufacturer, this company should have extensive quality control measures in place (the second lot did pass inspection). India, after all, does have a fairly developed pharmaceutical industry. Still, we find bacteria in one of the samples.
The species of bacteria that showed up in these steroid products has not been identified. As such, it is not possible to determine the relative risk of using them. A bacteria-contaminated steroid might be used without any noticeable side effect. Many bacteria are harmless to humans. Other forms of bacteria can produce fever, illness, and/or serious infection. It is likely that bacteria contamination accounts for many common reports of abscess infection and excessively painful injections among users of underground steroids. In extreme cases, bacteria could even result in amputation or life-threatening illness. Given the range of potential harm, bacteria-contaminated steroid products are never acceptable. If you have obtained one of these specific products on the black market, you should not use it.
Underground steroids are always considered inferior to verifiable human-grade pharmaceuticals, because of their inherent uncertainties with regard to purity and potency. Their clandestine nature presents many specific risks to the user. These risks, however, may be further amplified when a highly favorable medium for bacterial growth (water) is used.
Consumers should be reminded that while underground steroids are never advised, underground water-based steroids might be especially likely to cause problems. It is advisable to avoid these products even if you are a regular consumer of underground steroids. For minimal unnecessary risk, of course, try your best to use only verifiable human-grade drugs.
And remember, these results concern only bacteria. Bacteria can usually be controlled with the proper use of a .22-micron filtration system and the employment of sufficient levels of benzyl alcohol. While bacteria are indeed an important health concern for people buying steroids on the underground market, they are not the only concern. Indeed, there are many additional issues to think about. Problems can include such things as dosage inconsistencies, heavy metal contamination, and adulteration with other drugs/substances.
UNDERGROUND ANABOLICS will closely examine all of these listed products for such problems. Full analysis results will be in the book, expected out very shortly. Please reserve a copy if you support this type of testing, as it costs me a lot of money to do!
William Llewellyn's new book, UNDERGROUND ANABOLICS, will be an unprecedented up-close examination of the underground steroid market, including detailed lab analysis on dozens of underground products— information that can protect your money and health. The book is shipping shortly! Reserve your copy today by visiting www.AnabolicsBook.com or calling 888-918-7888.