In the world of Fitness and Bodybuilding it is known that hard work and nutrition are the most important parts. They consist of about 95% of what it takes to achieve a great looking body. But some people want to take things to the next level and to have an absolutely amazing physique, whether it is for a bodybuilding contest, a photo-shoot or simply to look their absolute best at the beach.
In this case there is that extra 5% that makes the difference and which consists of supplements and/or steroids. Supplements are legal and available in stores and pharmacies but they can only help you so much. That’s why people turn to steroids, which can offer amazing results but which can also cause massive damage and side effects to the body. Since they were considered illegal in most countries, manufacturers tried to come up with alternative products and that’s how prohormones appeared.
Prohormones are basically a weaker form of anabolic steroids. They are not hormones, but rather chemical compounds that amplify the effects of existing hormones within your body. For example instead of injecting testosterone (which would be considered steroid use), you take a precursor of testosterone and let your body produce it. There was a time when prohormones were available in stores, but after the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004, most prohormones were considered illegal in the United States.
The prohormones industry exists mainly because steroids are illegal in most countries, but even prohormones themselves are now illegal in many countries. Different countries have different regulations, so do your own research before buying anything in your region, in case you don’t want to get a fine or even end up in jail.
There is a constant battle between governments and manufacturers. Even after certain substances are banned, companies always come up with alternatives so they can still sell their products. Some prohormones are legal nowadays, but they are just modified and watered-down versions of the initial formula, meaning that they won’t offer the same results.
And since we got to this point, let’s talk a bit about why people take prohormones in the first place. Some of the benefits include:
- increased muscle mass
- more strength and endurance
- better athletic performance
- faster recovery
- improved sex drive
- and all the other side effects that come with an increased level of testosterone (a deeper voice, more facial hair growth, a more defined jawline and a manlier look overall)
So the benefits are pretty much the same as with steroid use, since prohormones are actually a form of steroids.
Side Effects of Prohormones
But let’s also take a look at the other side of the coin and discuss the side effects of prohormones. Even when taking all the safety measures (carefully choosing dosage, usage, and using post cycle therapy), some side effects still occur, and sometimes they are permanent and irreversible:
— Swollen Prostate
— Liver Damage
— Breast Enlargement (Gynecomastia)
— Hair Loss
— Dizziness and Nausea
Since they are very toxic to the liver, they should be taken in cycles (for example you take it for 4 weeks and then stop for 6 weeks until you take them again). And because they alter your body a lot, you can’t just stop taking them and be back to normal. You need to do a PCT (post cycle therapy) in order to bring your body back to its normal state (or as close as possible).
Take PCT very seriously, or else you might end up with man boobs and sexual dysfunctions. And the last thing you want to do when taking prohormones is to drink alcohol, as this will damage your liver even more! Even without consuming alcohol, it’s still recommended to take some liver support supplements during your cycle.
How Much They Cost?
While a bottle of a certain prohormone may not be that expensive (30-50$), the cycle support supplements and the post cycle therapy supplements could really increase the costs by up to 3-4 times.
Who Should Not Take Prohormones?
While doctors will not recommend prohormones for anyone, a certain group of people should definitely avoid them. This group includes teenagers and people under the age of 21. At this age your endocrine system is still developing and by introducing artificial substances it can be permanently damaged. To keep it short, your body will never produce testosterone again for the rest of your life.
Prohormones: Yes or No?
While they do offer some muscle building benefits, prohormones come up with many dangerous side effects. You can’t drink while taking prohormones and you have to carefully cycle on and off to avoid devastating side effects.
And just like with steroids, their results don’t last much. 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.*This article is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a Doctor, Nutritionist or Personal Trainer before taking any supplement, prohormone or steroid.