To learn more about steroid detection times, the one key thing you need to understand is how drug testing for steroids works. Regrettably, this is one concept that most steroid users, bodybuilders, and athletes tend to misunderstand.
Before we delve much into the topic, here are the two most popular misconceptions that exist in regard to steroid testing.
General drug testing can detect steroids in the body
This is not true; testing for steroids calls for specific tests that require use of sophisticated and advanced equipment. The fact that steroids are synthetic hormones that work in the same way as naturally produced hormones makes their testing methodology and pathways very different from the type of tests used for common recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine among others. The latter are foreign compounds to the body and have very different operational mechanisms to steroids. Besides, procedures and equipment required for detecting them are often relatively cheaper as compared to those used for steroid testing.
Monolithic machines are used to test steroids
This is also untrue. Usually, the entire process of steroid detection involves human interactions albeit with equipment being used at every level. Put simply, testing must be done manually through investigatory methods done by humans at every step of the procedure. This is why most steroid detection processes tend to be prone to human errors. Besides, they are quite expensive and complex which explains the reasons there are very few labs with the capacity to carry out comprehensive tests in the world today.
As a rule of thumb, steroid testing involves carrying tests for all known steroids. This means that to catch an individual using steroids or performance-enhancing drugs, these tests must be done for every steroid in existence until it is narrowed down to what the urine or blood sample tested positive for. This is where steroid detection times comes into play, a topic we will expand further shortly. The most popular steroid testing methods are urinalysis (the use or individual’s urine sample) and blood analysis. Hair samples are also used albeit rarely mainly because it is not a reliable method for testing steroids.
The testing procedures involve the use of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Both of these procedures are extremely expensive and use costly equipment.
Metabolites are the end products of body’s metabolism of various compounds and substances; in this case, steroids. Metabolism of steroids in the body results in changes to the original chemical composition and structure which results in byproducts that are eventually excreted from the body majorly via urine.
That’s why urinalysis is by far the most efficient testing method since the time a steroid remains detectable in the body system is the longest in ones urine. Blood testing is also quite reliable but not comparable to urinalysis since steroids undergo hepatic biotransformation (biotransformation through the liver) as well as renal transformation (biotransformation through the kidney).
If a metabolite of a known steroid is detected in an individual’s sample urine, chances are high that the person was using that given product. Nearly all steroids are metabolized into different end products from their original form that they were administered in. However, a small amount of these compounds might still be excreted in their original. This is where detection times for steroids play a major role.
Steroids are primarily metabolized through renal and hepatitis pathways. In fact, their metabolites will rarely linger in the bloodstream and can clear far too quickly there. This again helps make it clearer why urinalysis remains by far the best method for testing steroids usage.
Steroid detection times are closely related to metabolites of specific steroids rather than the steroids themselves. This is because these metabolites are what settles in the urine for longer periods than the original steroids. For instance, an athlete that used a testosterone supplements might test positive for this steroid through urine or blood test merely because there are high levels of testosterone in his/her sample urine or blood. The question to be asked here is; why would the athlete test positive for testosterone use even after they have stopped using it? Well, this is because the urine test was carried out before all the metabolites formulated from testosterone supplement cleared out of the body. For testosterone, presence of the epitestosterone metabolite in the urine or blood test is an indication that an individual doped with this popular hormone.
Metabolites are also easier to identify. For instance, Deca-Durabolin is said to be active if metabolite 19-norandreosterone is detected in a urine sample. If the amount of this metabolite exceeds the normal ratio, it can be presumed that the individual has used this steroid. On the other hand, a winstrol test is said to be positive if 3’hydroxystanozolol is found in urine.
Before we narrow down to the specific detection times of various steroids, here’s what you need to know;
For steroid to be detected in a test, the specific metabolites must be found in your sample urine or blood. That is why we mentioned earlier in this post that anabolic steroid tests involving testing all the known steroids and their metabolites. As such, a steroid that is not known or whose metabolites have been cleared from the body cannot be detected. This explains why many athletes have successfully doped without being caught as they hardly utilize steroids that are currently known. Instead, they go for newly created or designed compounds. This way, they are able to get away with most doping tests no matter how many times he/she is tested.
Detection Times of Oral Steroids
In most cases, detection times of oral steroids tend to be shorter than those of their injectable counterparts. Here are various oral steroids, their half-life, and their detection times;
Steroid Hormone Half-Life Detection time
Anadrol Oxymetholone Less than 16 hours 8 weeks
Primobolan Methenolone 6 hours 5 weeks
Anavar Oxandrolone 12 Hours 3 Weeks
Halotestin Fluoxymesterone 8 Hours 8 Weeks
Proviron Mesterolone 12 Hours 6 Weeks
Winstrol Stanozolol 8 Hours 3 Weeks
Dianabol Methandrostenolone 8 Hours 6 Weeks
Andriol Testosterone Less than 12 Hours 5 Weeks
Turinabol 4chlorodehydromethyltestosterone 16 Hours 6 Weeks
Detection Times of Injectable Steroid
Injectable steroids constitute the largest group of steroids because of the more stable gains they offer. Here are the commonly used injectable steroids, their half-life, and detection times.
Steroid Hormone Half-Life Detection time
Deca-Durabolin Nandrolone-Decanoate 15 Days 18 Months
Masteron Drostanolone-Propionate 3 Days 3 Weeks
Parabolan Trenbolone-Hexahydrobenzylcarbonate 6 Days 5 Weeks
Durabolin Testosterone-Phenylpropionate 5.5 Days 18 Months
Testosterone-Cypionate Testosterone-Cypionate 12 Days 3 Months
Testosterone-Enanthate Testosterone-Enanthate 10.5 Days 3 Months
Testosterone-Suspension Testosterone Less than 24 Hours 1-2 Days
Equipoise Boldenone-Undecylenate 15 Days 5 Months
Winstrol Depot Stanozolol 24 Hours 9 Weeks
Trenbolone-Acetate Trenbolone-Acetate 3 Days 5 Months
Trenbolone-Enanthate Trenbolone-Enanthate 8 Days 5 Months
Factors Influencing Steroid Detection Time
Every steroid exhibits different properties and characteristics although most share similarities in their effects. In the same way, steroid detection times often vary greatly from one product to the other. Below are some of the factors behind this;
Form of Steroid Used
The form in which a particular steroid is found can be influential on the steroid detection times. For instance, Testosterone suspension supplement, an un-esterified modified of Testosterone, can clear from the body in less than two days which means that the Epitestosterone ratios in a user’s sample urine will be in the normal ranges in just a couple days. However, this will not be the case with Testosterone Enanthate which takes up to three months for all metabolites to clear from the body. Mind you, the two contain testosterone as their key component.
Specific properties unique to certain anabolic steroids
Some steroids such as Winstrol or Deca-Durabolin can metabolize into unique and identifiable metabolites in the individual’s urine. Nandrolone (Deca), for example, is a notorious steroid when it comes steroid detection time as it can remain in the body for an excessively long period as compared to many other anabolic steroids. This is why it’s not recommended for athletes as its metabolites are unique and highly identifiable which translates to a higher chance and rate of detection.
Method of administration
Oral steroids are known to act very fast and are equally quick to clear from the body. This is because the method of administration involves oral ingestion which means they’re channeled to the liver and bloodstream at a faster rate resulting in quick metabolism. Conversely, many injectable steroids exhibit a slower metabolism rate in the body although this again depends on the compounds used. While oral steroids often come with half-lives in the range of 4-24 hours, injectable steroids have half-lives of between 24 hours-15 days or more. However, there are some injectable steroids such as testosterone suspension that exhibit a very short half-life. The shorter the half-life of a steroid, the shorter the detection time of their metabolites.
Dose and duration of use
This is an obvious factor; the dose and duration of use greatly impact on steroid detection times. The higher the dosage or the longer the usage duration of any steroid, the higher the chances of detection and the longer the time metabolites will remain in the body. Stronger dosages of a given steroid mean that the body must work extra hard to process it and metabolize the highest amount possible of it. However, there’s always a limit as to the rate at which the body can break down any substance. This is because there are only a limited amounts of catalysts and enzymes to process and metabolize chemicals, hormones, drugs, and food.
Higher dosages of steroids can also slow down metabolism resulting in longer steroid detection times than it would have taken had you used the recommended dosage. The same applies in the case of duration of use- longer steroids cycle translate to longer detection times.
Resistance to metabolism
The more resistant a steroid is to metabolism in the body, the longer its original compounds and metabolites will remain in the body. One such steroid is Trenbolone which portrays resistance to body metabolism; as a result, the excreted percentage of its metabolites in urine is usually very high.
Steroids are lipids by nature despite not having the traditional chemical properties of a hydrocarbon chain. Nevertheless, they are very fat soluble hence the reason they seamlessly pass through lipid cells to exert their activity. Due to their ability to blend so well with lipids (fats), steroids and their metabolites can stay in fat tissues for an extended period. Some such as Nandrolone are particularly very notorious for this. In fact, the high solubility of this steroid in fat tissues can make it linger for over a year after use. Besides, the esterification process which is commonly done to injectable steroids further increases their solubility in lips thereby resulting in increased steroid detection times.