Prohormones Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Prohormones
If you’ve ever considered using anabolic steroids and you’ve been scared off by the side effects, then you may have heard that prohormones are the next best thing. A prohormone is a type of supplement that focuses on promoting anabolic gains during a bulking season and getting shredded during a cutting season. In other words, prohormones are said to provide the same benefits as androgenic steroids without the side effects.
Are these claims true? Can prohormones deliver size, strength, and shred without side effects such as gyno and aggression? Let’s explore what are prohormones, the best prohormone for each category, and the dark truth about using these supplements.
What are Prohormones?
A prohormone is a type of dietary supplement that is usually taken as a capsule or tablet. Some prohormones are taken in liquid form. Prohormones are used to increase strength, boost muscle growth, and accelerate fat burning for aesthetic purposes. They are extremely popular with amateur bodybuilders and weightlifters, but not so much with powerlifters or Strongman lifters because while strength gains are an added bonus, the increases aren’t noteworthy.
How Prohormones Work
A prohormone is a precursor to steroid hormones inside of your body. Unlike anabolic steroids, prohormones must pass through the liver to receive the enzyme needed to turn it into a steroidal compound.
Anabolic steroids, on the other hand, directly increase the anabolic environment in your body by raising levels of growth hormone and testosterone. They don’t need to link up with a specific enzyme in order to take effect.
Think of it like this: A prohormone is half complete when you take it. Once ingested, the prohormone goes through the liver, collecting its other half and only then does it become activated as an anabolic compound, promoting the supposed benefits that we’ll discuss below.
One of the issues with how prohormones work is that the conversion process is limited by what your body predetermines. Even if you manage to get your hands on a top-notch, high-quality prohormone, you may not be able to fully tap into its full potential because your body will only convert so much of the prohormone.
Are Prohormones Legal?
The short answer to the question, “Are prohormones legal?” is no, prohormones are not legal.
The Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2014, or HR 4771, was passed by President Barack Obama and it made it a federal offense to sell or own compounds that provided an anabolic effect such as steroids or extremely strong prohormones.
With that said, HR 4771 left enough gray area for some anabolic supplements to slip through the cracks. While prohormones are not legal, and most of the strongest prohormones are only available on the black market, there are some prohormones that are available for purchase.
The Best Prohormones for Muscle Building
As we discussed above, prohormones are typically used in a traditional bodybuilding schedule of bulking and cutting. This involves putting on as much size as possible followed by trying to drop your body fat percentage down to single digits and getting as cut as possible. The catch is that you want to try your best to maintain as much muscle mass as you can. This is where prohormones claim to be able to help: by protecting hard-earned muscle mass as you get as shredded as you can.
Let’s take a look at the best prohormone for mass followed by the best prohormone for cutting. As of the time this article was completed, these prohormones for sale are still not legal to purchase despite being available online.
Prohormones for Mass
1-Androsterone (1-DHEA): One of the most popular prohormones on the market, 1-Androsterone has been a long-time favorite for those with muscle on the brain. Studies show that when it’s combined with a comprehensive weight training program, this prohormone can increase muscle mass while decreasing body fat. What’s more, 1-DHEA can also improve exercise performance, especially with power-based movements such as the back squat. However, despite the benefits, even researchers conclude that the side effects are extreme, which we’ll elaborate on more below.
Epiandrosterone (Epi-Andro): This prohormone is a derivative of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). No, it’s not nearly as strong as the anabolic steroid, DHEA, but it does provide similar benefits. Epi-Andro is converted into dihydrotestosterone or DHT, which is a metabolite of testosterone. Studies show that DHT is far more anabolic and androgenic than testosterone, which is a double-edged sword that can promote muscle growth while increasing the risk of some serious side effects.
Prohormones for Cutting
Arimistane (Androst-3,5-dien-7,17-dione): This prohormone is also considered a suicide aromatase inhibitor, which means that it can significantly decrease your estrogen levels. This is going to be beneficial for anyone who wants to skyrocket testosterone without the worries of estrogen dominance and the gyno side effects that it brings. Don’t take our word for it; studies show that arimistane is one of the most effective anti-estrogen compounds. It’s also excellent for getting cut while preserving muscle tissue and protecting it from breakdown due to a drop in calories or intense training.
Trenavar (Estra-4,9,11-triene-3,17-dione): Reported as being 10 times more androgenic than testosterone – again, this is both a good and bad thing – Trenavar is a popular prohormone for those who want to blast the hell out of their body fat while holding on to that solid lean muscle. Unfortunately, there are no studies about trenavar; however, we can review studies on its steroidal counterpart, trenbolone, to get an idea of what it is capable of. Studies show that trenbolone is insanely effective at promoting muscle growth – far more than testosterone – while decreasing body fat.
Stacking and Cycling of Prohormones
Much in the same way that you can stack anabolic steroids, prohormones can also be stacked in order to maximize the effectiveness of one while reducing the side effects of another. Here is the best prohormone stack for muscle mass and cutting, using the prohormones we discussed above:
Androsterone and Arimistane
The first stack would be 1-DHEA with arimistane. The first prohormone is a mass-building machine, and you can think of arimistane as an amplifier because of its effects on lowering estrogen levels. This stack is one of the most famous in the weightlifting community and anecdotal reports only rave about the results.
Here’s what a typical 1-Andro and arimistane stack cycle should look like:
Sample Stack Breakdown for Beginners: If you have never used a prohormone before, it is highly recommended that you build up your tolerance to it, starting with a smaller dosage and increasing each week. Here’s an example of a sample stack using 1-androsterone and arimistane:
Epiandrosterone and Trenavar
This second prohormone stack is just as effective as the first, and some would argue that this one is more geared toward those who have previous experience with prohormones.
Here’s an example of a sample stack using epiandrosterone and trenavar:
Side Effects and Health Risks
Despite the muscle-building and fat-burning benefits of prohormones, there are a number of serious health risks that come along with using them. Even just one cycle can promote the following common side effects:
Now, let’s dive into the more serious side effects that may require medical intervention to correct:
Liver Toxicity: Since the prohormone must pass through the liver in order to collect the enzyme it needs to become an active steroidal compound, it should come as no surprise that liver toxicity is one of the most prevalent side effects of prohormone.
Kidney Damage: Like the liver, the kidneys take a part of the hit when processing and removing the toxic compounds in the prohormones. Repeated use of prohormones can lead to kidney damage that may require medication or surgery.
Gynecomastia: Just like with using steroids, prohormones can promote the development of breast tissue in men. The most severe cases of gyno require medication, liposuction, and tissue removal.
Where to Find Prohormones for Sale
It’s not possible to walk into your local supplement shop and purchase a prohormone, but there is still a market for them online.
Be warned though that when you purchase an illegal supplement, especially one coming from a third world country, you’re risking contamination or a dangerous product that may not even contain the active compounds you’re looking for.
Do Benefits Outweigh the Risk?
You’re getting all of the side effects of anabolic steroids without the same level of benefit. Sure, you’ll gain some muscle mass and burn some fat when using prohormones, but chances are that you’ll lose those gains once the cycle ends. When it comes to maximizing your results, prohormones are a bad buy. They are dangerous and gains are fleeting at best.
We highly recommend sticking to legal and natural steroid alternative supplements if you want to build muscle and burn fat. Check out our bulking stacks and cutting stack to help you achieve your physique goals.