If you’re a regular member of the bodybuilding wide-open club; you must have heard at some point of the so-called “prohormones supplements”. Their know reputation in increasing muscle gains are tempting to any bodybuilder who really wants more. So shall you or shall you not use them? Let’s find out.
What are prohormones? What do they do?
Prohormones are compounds that act as chemical precursors to hormones and steroids. In short, these substances are not anabolic steroids, but once ingested, they convert –mostly in liver- to produce an anabolic steroid action, and if we are talking about bodybuilding, this mainly means testosterone.
Based on that; they are considered somewhere in between the use of actual hormones such as hormone replacement therapy, and the use of natural test boosters (find out the difference between the two in here).
Since they eventually end up as anabolic steroids in the body and serve their functions, they were taken by many young athletes and older adults who are driven by “more is better mindset” to increase muscle and strength gains and enhance overall performance.
The first recorded use of prohormones was in 1996, introduced by the chemist “Patrick Arnold” who developed the first commercially available androstenedione supplement. Latter on; prohormones were boosted by a media, when the famous baseball star “Mark McGwire” declared taking that supplement; resulting in massive demand on prohormones, and the introduction of further types of them.
Soon, many of these prohormones appeared to have side effects –aside from being considered as cheating-, so the need for legal regulation for prohormones use has emerged, which was represented by the Anabolic Steroid Control Act (ASCA) in 2004, signed by President Bush.
But due to loopholes in that act’s regulations, manufacturers could still produce new combinations of these prohormones and sell them, at least until December-2014, when the a new ASCA took place, signed by President Obama; which closed the loopholes in the previous act and made the sale and purchase of prohormones illegal, making it impossible for new prohormones substances or compounds to be created.
You can see the official list of banned prohormones and regulations in this URL: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr4771/text
Prohormones have many side effects and drawbacks that make risks to benefits ratio unfavorable. These risks include but are not limited to:
- Liver damage; prohormones are hepatoxic (liver damaging), unlike regular steroids use, they require the involvement of liver to convert them into hormones, that’s way the use of prohormones is usually coupled with cycle support*).
- The need for post cycle support therapy; since when taking prohormones, your body gets used to getting testosterone artificially, so its natural production drops down, hence needing for T boosting supplements to restore normal production.
- Gynecomastia (development of feminine breasts in men), especially after stopping the use of prohormones, due to unbalanced estrogen to testosterone ratios.
- Possibly cause increase blood pressure, hypertension, headache and dizziness, the degree of these symptoms differ from person to person.
- Prohormones show positive results when testing the athlete for steroid use, causing the athlete exclusion from participating in contests; ignorance is not an excuse!
* Cycle therapy is the use of other supplements while taking prohormones to protect the liver, lower blood lipids, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.
So, Shall you use prohormones?
The answer is a sound “No”.
For the previously mentioned health drawbacks many studies concluded that the health risks emerging from prohormones use outweighs any possible –and temporary- benefits from them. Besides, many of them are illegal by now.
One more thing; unless you are professional and advanced bodybuilders, prohormones will not offer you benefits that overcome those you can get from positive lifestyle changes and working out.
If you are looking for a safer and legal alternative for promoting your muscle building efforts; check out these 6 ways to naturally boost testosterone.