Put simply, prohormones are muscle builders. They’re mostly recommended to fiercely competitive athletes or bodybuilders, as they are the most powerful muscle builders you can get. While anyone can get them, there can be side effects, and the supplements can’t be used all the time. They require a strict diet, training regimen, and schedule and should never be abused. They are only recommendable to the most serious athletes. So what are they in detail, and how do they work?
Nature and History
Prohormones are technically similar to anabolic steroids and lead to fast muscle growth and strength gains, although they operate on a less extreme level and don’t pose as many risks. Originally the definition only covered compounds that had to be converted by an enzymatic process, but now “prohormones” is a blanket term used to cover all active substances that have anabolic results. It’s true they are typically chemical compounds, although there are some natural ones like vitamin D.
Prohormones were introduced in 1996, the first of which being androstenedione, which quickly became controversial due to pro baseball player Mark McGwire’s use of the supplement. The popularity of this substance was short-lived as it was surpassed by other enhancers rather quickly. These became even more controversial, however, due to offering advantages in sports and having side effects, which resulted in all then existing (2005) chemical prohormones being classed as illegal. Since then, supplement companies have worked to produce products that stick within the confines of the law while still providing safe and effective anabolic results.
Purpose and Variety
Prohormones are chiefly used to obtain rapid muscle growth, as previously stated. Different brands of products can accomplish this in different ways and may have different side effects. Because of this, it’s important to keep a goal in mind when deciding to use one (or more) of these supplements.
Typically the goals of anyone looking into these supplements will be to build muscle mass, lose fat, or both. Doing both would likely require using multiple prohormones (or “stacking”), and it’s important to point out that this is not advisable for beginners because of the stress these supplements can put on the body, especially when it’s not used to them. There are a wide variety of prohormones available, so it’s also not advisable to recommend specific ones to other people. Whether considering something like the popular AndroTest or more natural formulas like Hi Tech Anavar, it’s important to keep personal needs in mind and be aware of what your putting in your body.
While efforts have certainly been made to make these products as safe as possible, the fact is that you’re messing with your body’s natural hormone levels, and there will most likely be some noticeable side effects. One of the most common is a decrease in libido. Additional common side effects can include skin problems (usually acne), generally heightened emotions, increased blood pressure, and increased water retention. Certain supplements can also have less common side effects such as raised body temperature, hair loss, liver stress, and back pumps. Some recommend using an estrogen blocker to combat certain side effects like the loss of libido or potential gynecomastia in men.
Additionally, any reputable guide out there will stress the importance of cycle support and therapy when taking prohormones. This is because prohormones can’t be taken indefinitely, and you have to set up a schedule for them. For beginners, it’s advisable to have shorter cycles while taking them. You’ll also want to take support supplements to help your body break down everything. On Cycle Support is a whole other market with products meant to minimize side effects. Conversely, Post Cycle Therapy is used when you aren’t taking prohormones in order to help your body both normalize hormone levels and keep what you’ve gained. Separate products are available for these goals. Both of these cycle supports are important, but a healthy diet and sleep habits will go a long way as well.
Ultimately, prohormones may be the ideal choice for what you want to accomplish, but only you can decide. If you experience uncomfortable side effects, inform your doctor immediately.