All About Prohormones
Prohormones are a much-discussed topic in the world of bodybuilding. These over-the-counter steroid supplements are often called “legal steroids”. But what are they, really? Are they anything like illegal steroids? And ultimately, are they helpful or harmful?
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What are Prohormones?
Simply explained, a prohormone is a chemical substance that is a precursor to a hormone. A prohormone will generally have little effect on its own until it combines with enzymes in the body, at which point the prohormone is converted into an anabolic steroid. The main purpose of prohormones is to supplement or enhance the strength of hormones that are naturally in the body.
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Steroids vs. Prohormones
Prohormones have become increasingly popular specifically because of the similarity to steroids (though the results from prohormones are generally less drastic). The primary difference between prohormones and steroids is that prohormones add no hormones to the body, but rather enhance existing hormones. Steroids, on the other hand, add hormones to the body.
It’s important to understand that though prohormones are relatively weak on their own, there is ultimately little difference between the actual effect of prohormones and traditional (illegal) steroids. Illegal steroids are not necessarily more potent or toxic than their legal counterparts. Methyl-1-Testosterone, for example, was a legal prohormone until 2005 and was considerably more powerful than many illegal alternatives.
Do they really work?
Some prohormones will work, yes, while on the other hand other prohormones are said to produce little to no result. It’s important to do your research before choosing a prohormone product, because you have to know how to make them work for you.
Many users do see desirable results such as increased size, strength and endurance. Many are able to add lean body mass and reduce fat levels. Bodybuilders are also seeing a reduced recovery time between workouts. In other areas, life extension groups have found prohormones to be an effective replacement for hormone therapy. When prescription drugs are not an option, prohormones have been a viable alternative.
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What are the risks?
Prohormones can seem like a really good choice. The price (at first glance) seems extremely affordable. A quick search will point you to several options for as little as $35 per cycle. According to the hype from the manufacturers, you could see some great results in as little as a month. And heck, they’re legal! Isn’t that good enough?
Before you jump into using prohormones, it’s important to understand the risks involved. Many prohormones do have the same side effects as anabolic steroids, including (but not limited to) hair loss, breast enlargement, prostate swelling, and acne. And last but not least
While the potential for these side effects does exist, not every user experiences the same ones. What side effects are experienced – if any – depends greatly on the body (and predisposition) of the user. For example, if a user is predisposed to baldness due to a pattern of male baldness in his family, it is likely that the predisposition to baldness would be enhanced with the use of prohormones.
The potential side effects can be reduced or prevented, however, by taking proper precautions. Post cycle therapy (PCT) is recommended between cycles to reduce negative side effects.
Is it worthwhile?
Before starting any bodybuilding routine, or beginning any supplement, it is important to do your research. Your body is unique, and the results you see may also be unique. Prohormones may be right for you, but it’s best to proceed cautiously, watching the results as you go.