What are prohormones?
Prohormones are precursors to either testosterone or nortestosterone. They are essentially one molecule shy from being converted into those compounds. Certain enzymes in our system supply the missing molecule. Norandrostenedione and Norandrostenediol convert to nortestosterone. Androstenedione and Androstenediol convert to testosterone. The conversions rates to testosterone or nortestosterone are either better or worse, dependant on which type are being consumed.
Androstenedione (4-androsten-3, 17-dione)
5-Diol or 5AD (5-androsten-3,17-diol)
4-diol or 4AD (4-androsten-3,17-diol)
1AD (1-androstene-3beta, 17beta-diol)
DHEA is a natural, intermediate steroid hormone produced in our body by the adrenal glands. DHEA is called "mother of hormones", or prohormone because DHEA is further converted to generate 50 other essential hormones. For example, DHEA is converted to androgens (male hormones) or estrogens (female hormones) in the cells. DHEA is the most abundant hormone in our blood, and adequate blood DHEA level is critical for many vital hormonal and metabolic functions of our body. Our bodies produce less and less DHEA as we age, and as a result, our blood DHEA level decreases as we get older, generally falling significantly by the age of 30, and by as much as 50% by as 40.
Improved DHEA levels have been correlated with improved sense of well being, reduce body fat and improve skin tone and moisture, increase sex drive, improve immunity, enhance memory, and increase bone density. Numerous studies have proven great correlations between DHEA deficiency or insufficiency and a variety of diseases and symptoms. For example, decreased levels of DHEA predispose human and animals to higher probability of breast cancer, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's diseases, etc.
DHEA dietary supplements have been in use for a variety of reasons: Improve strength, enhance athletic performance, facilitate weight loss, anti-aging, improve sexual function/erectile dysfunction, treat cognitive decline, treat osteoporosis, improve immunomodulation for rheumatologic conditions, and treat depression.
DHEA supplements, at 50 - 100 mg per day, have been shown to increase muscle mass and improve overall feelings of well-being among a group of 40-70 year old subjects who took the supplements for 6 months. Another small study showed a link between 5 months of DHEA supplementation (50mg/day) and improvements in markers of immune system function (lymphocytes, natural killer cells and immunoglobulins). Several studies have shown an increased serum testosterone levels following regular DHEA supplementation (50-100mg/day).
Androstenedione (4-androsten-3, 17-dione)
Increased testosterone levels have been widely known to greatly increase the production of muscle mass in conjunction with a strength-training program. Androstenedione is the direct precursor to testosterone. So in theory if you increase the level of the building block of testosterone then you will eventually increase the level of testosterone. While this is true in a relative sense, androstenedione by itself is still not absolutely destined to become testosterone. In fact, androstenedione is also the direct precursor to estrone (an estrogen hormone). Thus, depending upon the physiologic milieu, androstenedione can quite easily become either hormone. As a matter of fact, in some settings, the conversion of androstenedione to estrogen can be more energetically favorable than the conversion to testosterone. In other words, there is no guarantee that the androstenedione you take is going to become testosterone and not estrogen.
19-Norandrostenedione is a testosterone molecule that is missing the hydrogen atom in the 17th position. 19-Norandrostenedione is also missing a carbon atom in the 19th position. When the liver processes the Norandrostenedione molecule a hydrogen atom is added in the 17th position. The liver is unable to add the carbon atom in the 19th position. The result is a testosterone molecule missing the carbon atom. This is commonly referred to as Nor-Testosterone or Nandrolone.
Nandrolone is the base ingredient in Deca-Durabolin. "Deca" was one of the most popular steroids in the hay day of steroids in the 80's. The Reason Deca enjoyed such popularity was its fantastic muscle building properties and general lack of side effects.
Nandrolone is an anabolic product that does not demonstrate the androgenic side effects (acne, increased body-hair growth, acceleration of male pattern baldness, etc.) of most steroids. One of the many advantages of Nandrolone is only using relatively small doses. Once the Nandrolone molecule reaches the receptor sight it remains active for as many as 4 days (testosterone only stays active for about 45-60 minutes). Nandrolone molecule lingers on the receptor sight, and a build up of active ingredients will occur. All of these characteristics add up to a very active anabolic hormone and creates an ideal hormonal environment to support incredible muscle growth.
Proven results show that bodybuilders and athletes who have been using are reporting an increase in lean muscle mass of 8 pounds in 21 days, combined with significant gains in strength and increased muscle hardness.
In addition, 19-Norandrostenedione provides protection against muscle catabolism allowing for quicker recovery and less post-workout muscle soreness.
19-Norandrostenedione users are also benefiting from its lipotrophic ability to substantially reduce body fat, particularly in the abdominal region.
1AD (1-androstene-3beta, 17beta-diol)
1-AD converts to a relatively unheard of hormone called 1-testosterone. 1-testosterone is what is known as a "double bond isomer" of testosterone. Although chemically the only difference between testosterone and 1-testosterone is the position of the double bond, pharmacologically the two products are quite different. According to research done by the pharmaceutical giant G.D. Searle and published in the 1960s, 1-testosterone is over 7 times as myotrophic (anabolic) as testosterone. That makes 1-testosterone a phenomenally potent compound, surpassing even most synthetic anabolic steroids.
No Aromatization - 1-testosterone differs from testosterone in another way as well. Being a 5alpha-reduced androgen (a DHT derivative) it simply cannot aromatize to estrogens. The same goes for 1-AD itself - no estrogen transformation can occur. This makes 1-AD unique compared to other prohormones - all of which can either aromatize directly, convert to a product that aromatizes, or both. So what does this mean in the real world? It means that your chances of getting gynecomastia (bitch tits) from 1-AD is essentially zero, and that water retention side effects are vastly reduced compared to other prohormones.
Nor-diol is androstenedione (the direct precursor to testosterone) with the carbon molecule removed from the 18th position. This alteration allows 19-Nor-4-androsten-3-17-diol to convert to nandrolone when it leaves the liver. Nandrolone is the generic name for the anabolic steroid, Deca Durabolin. Nandrolone (or "Deca") is a very powerful anabolic agent. It increases protein synthesis, allows nutrients to pass more freely through cell membranes, keeps you in a positive nitrogen balance, increases your metabolism and facilitates higher levels of mental focus and concentration.
• Nor-diol converts to the powerful anabolic agent nandrolone (or "Deca") when it leaves the liver.
• Dramatically increases the rate at which your body builds muscle and burns fat.
• A legal and natural alternative to anabolic steroids.
There are four different methods for taking prohormones:
Oral - Prohormones are available in a "powder" form. They come in either various sized with possibly varying types prohormones in capsules, or in bulk powder form. These two forms are the most common methods for taking prohormones. Oral prohormones have also been taken sublingually, which is absorbed in the system from underneath the tongue. This may be a very good way to avoid the breakdown of compounds in the digestive tract. It would seem to be a waste of money purchasing capsules if you plan on taking prohormones sublingually. The best time to take oral forms of prohormones is .5 to 1 hour before working out.
Nasal - The East Germans used Androstenedione in a saline solution that was inhaled prior to an event. The claimed advantage is that the compound is directly absorbed into the bloodstream and not broken down in the digestive tract. Prohormones are very harsh and we do not recommend inhaling these products.
Patch - The"patch" appears to quite a novelty. Before you spend your hard earned money on this new approach to getting prohormones into your system research the effectiveness first.
Injectable - This may be ultimate method for taking prohormones. While a sterile solution is currently not available to inject, if it is made available in a non-prescription form, it will probably end the sale of all prohormones as "dietary" supplements.
When do I take them?
Well, this is a good question. Prohormones tend to have a short half-life, often under two hours, which means for continual levels you'd have to take it 3-4 times a day which isn't always as convenient. If you are using a single dose prohormone taking it 30-45 minutes before training is best, it will give you a boost and will still be active to aid in post-workout recovery. If you were to use them pre-contest, keep in mind they reach peak levels after about 90 minutes, so you should be taking them an hour and a half prior to working out.
Should I continue taking prohormones on off-days?
Yes, most definitely. Stopping and recommencing for such short times will cause multiple testosterone crashes that will confuse and wreck havoc on the natural system. Every time it thinks it's in the clear, you restart and it gets hit again bad. Even if this doesn't cause long term malicious effects, count on it jeopardizing your natural testosterone recovery after coming off a stack, prolonging your dry period by one or two weeks, time during which you could lose even more gains you made, negating the effect of your cycle.
Moreover a lot of growth happens on off-days, which is why nutrition is so important. Prohormones aid in protein synthesis and muscle recovery, so if you recover on off-days it makes sense to have high test levels to assist in that recovery.
How long of a time period should I take prohormones?
This is another question with a "solid answer." We have seem many, many different protocols for how long of a time period to take prohormones. Short bursts, three weeks on prohormones, three weeks off have been promoted. Some protocols begin at lower doses of prohormones and increase throughout the cycle of supplementation. It appears that prohormone supplementation should probably not exceed seven straight weeks with at least four weeks of cessation following that period. Side effects seem to increase when prohormones are taken for longer periods of time. This would be more dependant on the "type" and "amount" of prohormones taken.
When I come off prohormones will I lose my gains?
If the muscle gained was done over a very short time then the chances of losing will will increase. If the muscle gain was done gradually then you will have a better chance of keeping most of your gains. So the question is, does the mass go away after use? Well, test levels will crash after a cycle and it will be hard to maintain protein resynthesis. This can take a week or two to recuperate and in that time loss of mass is not at all unthinkable, in fact it is likely. The trick is to get the natural levels back up as high as possible. These are your options:
• Stack in a ski-slope pattern. The decrease will enable you to get levels back up, but may compromise gains in the long run.
• Watch the duration and amounts of your stack. As either increases it will become harder to get natural levels to come back to where they were.
• Supplement with ZMA after a stack is over. Increased LH response and better DHEA manufacture in the body will aid the recovery process. Usually this entails starting a cycle of ZMA the last three days of your stack and continuing at the very least 2-3 weeks after.
• For older men, tribulus may do the same.
• Take plenty of ice-cold showers to shock the system.