Which PCT should you use for a Pro Hormone Cycle?
In this article we will cover how you can run a successful cycle and recover properly, keep your gains and get your hormone levels back to normal, with the right PCT.
Taking Pro Hormones is one way to get the edge over your natural ability and they are a great option for those not wanting to go down the route of AAS (androgenic anabolic steroids). The increase in strength, size and overall alpha mentality can be a serious euphoria. However we must not underestimate Pro Hormones' effects on the body. After a Pro Hormone cycle it is important that proper Post Cycle Therapy is followed.
AAS users will often tout the likes of Nolvadex (tamoxifen citrate) or Clomid (clomiphene citrate). These are known as SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators) and in most of Europe and the United States they are prescription only, Nolvadex is most commonly used for the treatment of breast cancer in women and Clomid is used in fertility treatment.
However because they are prescription drugs, they are illegal to buy without one. So, what can we do instead? We can use over the counter supplements, or in this case online options. First, let me explain the point of PCT and why we do it.Why run a PCT?
During a Pro Hormone cycle, the level of androgens in the body drops. Another way to describe this is that your HPTA is suppressed meaning your natural testosterone level declines.
To compensate for this drop, your body starts overproducing estrogen to try to balance the hormone levels. Once the external hormone source is removed (you come to an end of your Pro Hormone cycle), your natural testosterone levels are still inhibited while your estrogen levels are still above baseline.
Running a PCT helps to reestablish your natural hormone levels, helping you recover and keep those hard earned gains
When do you start PCT and for how long for?
With Pro Hormone use, PCT is usually started the day after your last dosage and should be run for at least 4 weeks. Once PCT has finished ideally you want to stay off Pro Hormones for the same amount of days as your cycle length + PCT length.
The factors relating to PCT are as follows:
HPTA stands for Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Testicular-Axis. The Hypothalamus is the centre of testosterone function, controlling the release of other hormones such as Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and Luteinising hormone releasing hormone (LHRH). These in turn signal the pituitary gland to release Luteinising Hormone (LH) which promotes the release of testosterone from the testes. It is the hypothalamus' ability to bind to the androgen receptors in muscle cells which can lead to muscle growth.
HPTA is important in keeping your hormone levels optimised, an effect known as homeostasis. When one hormone is low, the hypothalamus recognises this and then, by way of homeostasis, tries to balance out the levels. For example when estrogen levels are low, it stimulates the release of testosterone that will then convert to estrogen via aromatisation. This is known as the negative feedback loop. Once the balance is restored, the hypothalamus stops signalling the release of hormones.When we come off a cycle, it is important that we not only try to assist the balance of these hormones, but try to control them as well.
This happens when the estrogen receptors in the areola and nipple become oversensitive due to the increase in overall estrogen. This can lead to breast tissue formation behind the nipple which can be felt as a small lump as well as swelling of the areola giving it a smoother, softer look.Estrogen levels can also cause other problems, such as libido loss, mass loss and the closing of growth plates. This is why it is important that you DO NOT use prohormones before the age of 18, as it can hinder your development.
Prolactin levels can be raised by the action of the steroid in the pituitary as it suppresses dopamine production, letting prolactin production continue unchecked. This action can manifest as swollen, hard nipples that sometimes leak a clear fluid.
The Liver and Kidneys
Certain prohormones are methylated. The reason they are is because the methyl allows them to pass through the organs without breaking down. This makes them a good option on price as a lower dosage is needed. They are also much more potent. The negative aspect of this is that it can damage the liver and kidneys.
All hormones such as testosterone and estrogen have an effect on blood pressure. In regard to Pro Hormones, it is usually the wet compounds that aromatise that increase blood pressure the most. This is due to the contribution of water retention. As more fluid is retained around the body, pressure on the circulatory system is increased causing a vasoconstriction affect. This in turn elevates your blood pressure as more force is needed to pump the blood around your body.Blood pressure is also linked to kidney problems and as explained above, methylated compounds can have a negative effect in this situation.Therefore compounds that are both wet and methylated should be avoided if you are worried about this side effect.
Prohormones can negatively affect your lipid profiles, increasing bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowering good cholesterol (HDL). Testosterone is derived from cholesterol after being converted to progesterone. Another critical role of testosterone in this equation is that it enables HDL to remove excess LDL from the arterial wall and transport it to the liver for disposal. As natural testosterone production has stopped due to external hormone input, the effect on your lipid profiles is obvious.
Increasing androgens in the body enlarges the prostate via Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). This can negatively affect your ability to urinate as well as the ability to get an erection. The nerves sitting on either side of the prostate send messages to the penis to initiate erections. The relaxation of the prostate also increases blood flow which affects erection health. A swelling of the prostate delays this blood flow and the messages reaching the penis.
Now that we know what can happen when using prohormones, let us build the foundation of an OTC (over the counter) PCT program.