Prohormones are arguably the most interesting class of bodybuilding supplements available today. They’re easily the most powerful type of supplement you can take if you’re looking to boost muscle mass and increase testosterone.
Taking prohormones can lead to enormous gains in strength and size. You can feel stronger, increase endurance, and generally feel like a superhero.
In case you didn’t know, Prohormones are steroids. They’re not “sort of” like steroids. They’re not “a more natural form of steroids.” Prohormones are steroids, plain and simple.
They’re also surprisingly affordable. You can find packages of prohormone pills on the internet for $30 to $50. That’s a one month supply of muscle-boosting, testosterone-enhancing power delivered directly into your body.
Of course, there’s a reason steroids are a bit of a taboo subject in the bodybuilding community. They’re totally illegal in the United States and are strictly regulated in Canada. They also lead to some dangerous side effects.
But steroids aren’t illegal everywhere. They’re actually legal to import in the United Kingdom, for example, and face little regulation in other parts of the world.
Like it or not, bodybuilders and athletes around the world take steroids every day. Today, I’m going to explain everything you’ve always wanted to know about prohormones – including side effects, legal statuses, and natural alternatives.
What Are Prohormones?
Prohormones are not technically hormones. Instead, they’re unique chemical compounds that amplify the effects of existing hormones within the body.
All of the hormones of your body also have a corresponding prohormone. There are testosterone prohormones, for example, which is probably the type of prohormone you’re looking for if you’re reading this article.
Our bodies naturally produce prohormones on their own, including pro-insulin and pro-opiomelanocortin.
Interestingly enough, prohormones have minimal hormonal effects on their own.
Prohormones Versus Anabolic Steroids
Prohormones are basically a weaker form of anabolic steroids. The main difference between prohormones and anabolic steroids (AAS) is that anabolic steroids are almost always illegal, while prohormones are not always illegal (although they usually are).
Regulatory groups across the world are cracking down on prohormone manufacturers. If you find a prohormone supplement you like, I advise ordering a bulk supply of it: because the next time you go to order it, you may find that the supplement has been taken off the market due to legal issues.
The entire prohormone industry exists because anabolic steroids are illegal. After anabolic steroids were banned, manufacturers tried to circumvent the ban by producing steroid precursors.
So instead of injecting yourself with raw testosterone, you give your body a precursor to testosterone and let it produce testosterone on its own. These are called prohormones.
Unfortunately, the American government caught onto this practice. In 2004, President George W. Bush signed the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004. That Act made anabolic steroids and prohormones illegal overnight.
FDA regulation increased. Supplement manufacturers freaked out. When America bans a substance like steroids, many other countries follow suit. Following the FDA decision, countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand all cracked down on illegal steroids and prohormone supplements.
Ultimately, prohormones are a weaker and less effective form of anabolic steroids. If you have a source for anabolic steroids, some bodybuilders will recommend using anabolic steroids instead of taking prohormones. Either way, you’re facing some potentially dangerous side effects, but anabolic steroids tend to offer better benefits.
Are Prohormones Illegal?
Yes, prohormones are illegal in most developed countries.
Before we talk about prohormones being illegal, we need to talk about the legal status of steroids. Steroids are considered a Schedule III controlled substance by the FDA. Being caught with possession of steroids carries a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison. Trafficking steroids, on the other hand, can lead to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for your first offense.
What about prohormones?
Prohormones are a slightly different story. Most powerful prohormones are illegal. Despite what you might think, the government isn’t dumb, and they understand that taking chemicals that turn into hormones is basically the same as taking hormones directly.
The problem lies in the wording of America’s steroid ban. Specifically, anabolic steroids are legally defined as the following:
— They Have A Molecular Structure Related To Testosterone
— They Have A Pharmacology Related To Testosterone; And
— They Are Not An Estrogen, Progestin, Or Corticosteroid
Prohormones meet many of these same requirements because, chemically speaking, they’re extremely similar to anabolic steroids.
However, prohormones must meet one final criterion: they must also enhance or promote muscle growth.
Certain prohormones have been shown not to enhance or promote muscle growth, which means they’re technically legal to use. Of course, since you’re probably taking prohormones to promote muscle growth, you’re back to problem number one: prohormones are mostly illegal.
Some Prohormones Are Still Legal
You don’t have to look far online before you find a wide range of prohormones available for sale. You can even find some prohormone supplements on sale in health food stores or supplement retailers.
However, all of these legally available prohormones have one problem: they don’t contain the same testosterone precursors that made prohormones popular. They’re watered down from the original formula.
It’s also important to note that certain steroids are used for legitimate medical reasons. Corticosteroids, for example, are prescribed by doctors to reduce inflammation and prevent an overactive immune response.
In rare cases, anabolic steroids will also be prescribed by a doctor to treat certain conditions. Doctors may prescribe anabolic steroids in the following cases:
— When a patient chooses to undergo gender reassignment surgery
— When a patient requires appetite stimulation and preservation of muscle mass due to degenerative conditions like cancer or AIDS
— When a patient has not entered puberty by the late teens or early 20s
— When a patient needs to receive bone marrow stimulation to prevent bone loss
Other than that, legal use of anabolic steroids for medical purposes is unheard of.
What Are the Benefits of Using Prohormones?
Also known as PH, prohormones offer a powerful range of benefits including dramatic strength, size, and sex drive gains. Whether you’re a man or a woman, testosterone is the primary chemical or bodies use to make muscle. Here are all of the benefits you may be able to enjoy while taking prohormones:
— Increased Muscle Mass
— Improved Physical Appearance, Including A “manlier” Looking Face
— A More Defined Jawline
— Superior Strength And Endurance
— More Facial Hair Growth
— Deeper Voice
— Better Athletic Performance And Greater Competitive Spirit
— Faster Athletic Recovery
— Improved Sex Drive
These benefits are identical to using traditional anabolic steroids because, as mentioned above, prohormones are steroids. They raise your testosterone levels and provide some powerful benefits.
What Are the Side Effects of Prohormones?
Prohormones, like anabolic steroids, are responsible for a wide range of devastating side effects. There are ways to avoid these side effects, or at least minimize their impact. However, it’s rare for someone to totally avoid all prohormone side effects even if they’re very careful with their dosage, usage, and post cycle therapy.
Here are some of the common side effects you may experience while cycling on and off prohormones:
— Swollen Prostate
— Liver Damage
— Breast Enlargement
— Hair Loss
— Dizziness And Nausea
Since prohormones are considered “hepatoxic”, they can severely damage the liver. That’s why it’s recommended that you cycle on and off prohormones. Take a prohormone supplement for a month, for example, and then stop taking prohormones for 6 weeks.
Can I Drink While Taking Prohormones?
One of the biggest mistakes people make while taking prohormones is drinking alcohol. Prohormones are very tough on your liver. Your liver is working extra hard to process all of the hormones you’re cycling through it. It’s overworked and it’s taking a beating every day you take prohormones.
When you drink alcohol and take prohormones, your liver is getting beat from two different directions. You could be left with severe liver damage or other medical problems. There’s the added problem that alcohol prevents protein synthesis (aka muscle growth). Isn’t that the reason you were taking prohormones in the first place?
To keep it simple: don’t drink when taking prohormones or any types of steroids.
How to Minimize Prohormone Side Effects with Post Cycle Therapy
Post Cycle Therapy, or PCT, is one of the most important parts of any hormone-altering cycle. Prohormones and steroids alter your hormones, and if you simply stop taking these chemicals one day, your body will be all messed up.
That’s why PCT is so important.
Here’s a metaphor for you: Imagine taking prohormones is like sprinting all the way up to the top of a skyscraper. You’re 105 floors in the air and looking out over the city, feeling like a champion. Then you suddenly stop taking prohormones and fall off the building. PCT is your parachute: instead of plummeting to the ground and hurting yourself, PCT gently lets you down with minimal harm.
There are a number of different PCTs for prohormones. I advise you to do your research and find a PCT that has proven successful for whatever prohormone supplement you’re using.
Popular Post Cycle Therapies for steroids and prohormones include:
— Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERM)
— Tamoxifen Citrate (Nolvadex)
— Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid)
— Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
— Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
Be careful with these post cycle therapies: in some cases, they increase your testosterone as much as a low-quality prohormone, which means you’ll need a PCT to safely come down from your PCT!
Ultimately, your goal with PCT is to bring your body back to its normal hormone levels. You’re “normalizing” your body back to its original hormone production before you overloaded it with artificial hormones.
When you don’t undergo PCT, you’re going to experience some very bad side effects (man boobs and shrunken, unproductive testicles, for example). Take Post Cycle Therapy seriously – it’s no joke.
How to Protect Your Liver
As mentioned above, your liver takes an absolute beating when you’re taking prohormone supplements. Even if you’re careful with your dosage and don’t drink while taking prohormones, you should still be taking a liver support supplement.
Milk thistle is one popular liver protection supplement. Other options include ALA, Curcumin, L-Carnitine, Taurine, green tea extract, lecithin, and NAC.
What Are the Most Popular Prohormones?
Creating a list of the world’s most popular prohormones is difficult because the most effective products get taken off the market on a regular basis. A product I recommend today might not be available next week.
Complicating matters even further is that supplement companies get tricky with their marketing and branding. “Tren”, which is the common street name for Trenbolone, has long been a popular anabolic steroid. However, there’s also a prohormone named “Tr3n” made by Olympus Labs.
You’ll learn that inserting random numbers in the names of prohormones is actually very popular. “EP15TANE”, also made by Olympus Labs, is another popular prohormone.
Anyways, here are some of the better known prohormones and prohormone support supplements which are still legally available in 2015:
— Alpha-1 MAX by Blackstone Labs
— Revolution PCT Black + Pure Test Combo
— 17-Methyl-dione Extreme
— Cycle Support by Iron Labs Nutrition
— Wyked Labs M1-Alpha Mega Mass Builder
— All American EFX Kre-Alkalyn EFX
— The Clear-Max LMG
— BPI Sports Anabolic Elite Mineral Supplement
How Much Do Prohormones Cost?
You might be able to find prohormones on store shelves today for $30 to $50. That sounds like a cheap price compared to many bodybuilding supplements.
However, there are plenty of other costs which need to be taken into account before you start taking prohormones. Here’s an estimated pricing chart for a year’s worth of prohormone supplementation:
— 4 Prohormone Bottles (Taking one bottle for one month every three months): $120 to $160
— Cycle Support Supplements: $500 to $600
— Post Cycle Therapy Supplements: $200 to $400
Based on the above numbers, the total yearly cost for prohormones works out to $820 to $1160 per year.
Who Should Not Take Prohormones?
Most doctors and physicians recommend against the use of prohormones. If you’re taking prohormones, you’re likely going to do it without medical guidance: most doctors will not support your decision to take prohormones to boost your testosterone.
However, it’s especially important to avoid the use of prohormones if you’re under the age of 21. Under the age of 21, your endocrine system is still developing. If you flood your body with artificial testosterone, your body will stop producing testosterone on its own.
Ultimately, that could lead to devastating benefits as you get older. Don’t take prohormones under the age of 21. You’re going to have a bad time.
Conclusion: Should You Take Prohormones?
Few people recommend taking prohormones. They come with dangerous side effects and can literally wreck your body – including your endocrine system and your liver. You can’t drink while taking prohormones and you have to carefully cycle on and off to avoid devastating side effects.
But the worst part about taking prohormones is that the results typically don’t last. After you stop taking prohormones, your body will return to its natural hormonal production if you’re lucky. If you didn’t cycle correctly, then your body will stop producing testosterone altogether, which means you’ll be much worse off than you were before.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to take prohormones: the benefits are powerful, but so are the side effects.