Pro-hormones, also called “legal steroids” are, in reality, steroids that are weak enough to be sold as a legal supplement. While they do work, they do not work as well as the real deal. While there are some side effects associated with there use, however it’s nothing like the effects tied into real steroid use. As a “steroid”, prohormones work by increasing the body’s natural production of testosterone, one of the primary anabolic hormones produced by the body and one of the keys to muscle growth. Technically speaking, prohormones are pre-cursors to anabolic steroids. That means an enzyme in the body will convert the prohormone to an active but weak anabolic steroid. Since prohormones need an enzyme to convert to the active steroid, there is an “upper limit” on how much can be converted at any given time. Usually, the limit is reasonably high allowing for good results. What’s the difference in results, you may ask? Well, with real steroids you see dramatic differences in results very quickly. In fact, it’s been said that you can see more results from one good cycle than from five years of hard, natural training. Now, do not misunderstand, I am not advocating steroid use, I am only presenting facts. You have to make an educated choice based on the facts and your own goals. Prohormones, on the other hand, will produce results that will be noticeable and impressive, say maybe 10-12 pounds depending on factors such as age and adherence to your program, but nothing like steroids. You have to have your entire program in order to get the best results: training, nutrition, recovery and supplementation. Even though these are very effective, hardcore supplements, you have to work for the results.
Prohormones first came on the market in the mid 90’s. Since that time, they have undergone numerous changes as the FDA has clamped down hard on prohormones over the years, as they have supplements in general. Androstenidione, or andro, was the first pro-hormone to hit the market in 1996. This was the supplement found in Mark McGwire’s locker, causing quite a controversy at the time. Andro was marketed as a pre-cursor to testosterone, but it was not a great product. Soon, stronger pro-hormones came out that were much better such as 4-AD and 1-AD both allowing significant muscle gains. While it did have some negative side effects it was the strongest muscle builder available at the time. In 2003 Legal Gear (now called legal sciences) first marketed methylated orals for 1-testosterone called Methyl 1-testosterone (M-1T). Methylated orals allowed the hormones to be taken orally and to bypass liver breakdown, just like methylated illegal steroids such as d-bol and anadrol.
With supplement companies pushing the limits, President Bush signed, in 2005, the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 outlawing dozens of these prohormones and active steroids (including 1-testosterone and m-1t and 4-ad). This legislation made them controlled substances and punishable by law, really putting them in the same class as illegal steroids. While some milder “pro-hormones” have come out since the ban, such as 11-OXO, many of the “legal steroids” that followed where highly toxic methylated steroids. Many where even more dangerous than most of the earlier ones that were originally banned. One of these post-ban compounds is Superdrol, which has spawned quite a few variations over the years. Many of these companies producing these new compounds are operating in a legal grey area with the risk of it being added to a ban list. A lot of these companies making these products, are actually “shell companies” so they can dissolve quickly, if and when necessary. This approach has worked for a while but there since has been another FDA crackdown with most products now gone from the marketplace. Currently, there are only a handful of products available on the market.
• Allows for a reasonably dramatic increase in muscle size and strength with limited side effects, in theory providing a safer alternative to steroids.
Now, one point to be made is this: while pro-hormones are really a hard core supplement, for many they offer a safer choice than illegal anabolic steroids. Think about it: with steroids you don’t know what you’re getting, you risk arrest and you have to deal with the side effects. Pro hormones are not for everybody, but if taken in an intelligent manner, offer a legal and safer solution. True, the results are not the same but you still get better results than you’d get without them. Nonetheless, choices are limited and it’s hard to say how long the current products will be available.
Your first consideration when using any prohormone is the addition of a product for the liver. Methylated products do put an additional strain on the liver and it makes sense to use a good liver support product, such as milk thistle or an “in-cycle” formula product. Also, you will need to cover what’s referred to as PCT or post cycle therapy. When you use a prohormone, you do, as with real steroids, slow down your body’s normal production of testosterone. When you end your “cycle” of prohormones, your body’s production will not just jump back to normal, you have to plan for this event so you can hang on to most of your gains. Yes that’s right, you will not keep every pound you gain. Also, because levels of the testosterone are rising due to the prohormone, estrogen production will increase, so you will have to use an anti-estrogen product as well. Sound a little scary? Well, maybe, but these are hardcore products and if you are reading this you probably are already aware of what’s required. For more information on what you need to take along with a prohormone, see the guide on “PCT’s and Ant-Estrogen” supplements.
Now, as to prohormone supplements: there are only a handful of them available, coming in liquid and capsule versions. Of the available choices, user reviews may be the most helpful tool in determining which ones work the best. You’ll want to follow label directions as to length of use and dose. Usually, you use them for about 4 weeks; you’ll take 2-3 per day divided over the day. Research really pays off with these products; you’re using them to see great gains so take the time to understand what you have to take at what points. This will allow you the safest use of this type of product and also allow you to keep the most gains. Finally, read the label!