by Tim Steinbacher
Pro-hormone supplements have become wildly popular among body builders, athletes and just about anyone who steps into a weight room.I myself have never used them and I never will.It’s said that pro-hormone is a steroid but not as powerful, even though it has all the same side effects.It does not contain testosterone but once it’s metabolized, your body turns it into testosterone.There are endless amounts of pro-hormone and each of them has a specific and different usage.The user needs to know these requirements in order to be safe from harm.I will be covering the process the body goes through when taking pro-hormone, such as the benefits and risk of it.I will also look into the most popular brands that are used and finally how the law defines and looks at pro-hormone.
Pro-hormone is available in pharmaceutical stores all over. Doses and brands must be chosen under expert medical supervision or the user could run the risk of causing a serious health hazard. They are usually taken orally, although some can be injected into the body. There are endless amounts of pro-hormone products, most of them becoming illegal since they are so close to being steroids. That is why the names of their products change so often. The most commonly used pro-hormones are androstenedione, androstenediol (1-AD), androstenediol (4-AD), and methyl testosterone. Androstenidione was the first pro-hormone to hit the market back in 1996. It was the supplement that was found in Mark McGwire’s system. Androstenidione was marketed as a pre-cursor to testosterone, but bodybuilders found it to be a weak form of pro-hormone. Studies showed it didn’t help muscle gain, but converted to high levels of estrogen instead of mainly testosterone.
Over time some stronger pro-hormones came out that were better such as 4-AD. Another called 1-AD became an overnight success for providing large muscle gains. While it had some negative side effects, it was the best available pro-hormone at the time. Eventually this led to research into modern formulas using the active hormone (1-testosterone) that 1-AD converted to. 1-testosterone was not on the list of illegal steroids at the time and therefore was able to legally stay on the market. This was because of some weak scientific evidence; they argued it was found in nature and therefore could be sold as a supplement over the counter.
In 2003 Legal Gear, now called Legal Sciences, first marketed methylated orals for 1-testosterone called Methyl 1-testosterone (M-1T). Methylated orals allowed the hormones to be taken orally and to bypass breakdown in the liver, just like traditional methylated illegal steroids such as dianabol and anadrol.
Benefits and Risks
The main benefits of pro-hormone are that, if they are used properly, they give fast acting results that usually leave the customer satisfied with the outcome. Usually you’ll see an increase in muscle mass, a decrease in fat mass and faster recovery with improved performance. For the most part pro-hormone is taken in cycles of 3 to 4 weeks. After using them for one cycle, you need to take at least 3 weeks off before starting a new one. One concern with pro-hormone supplements was that it’s only good for instant results, meaning that if the user decides to stop taking the products, then they run the risk of losing some of their muscle gain. It does not work for the long run. For pro athletes it’s a very tempting product, though very risky. Even though some of these supplements are legal, they can very easily be mistaken as a steroid in drug tests, which has happened in many cases since these products hit the market. Most athletes think they need to take supplements to get ahead or keep up with their opponents and since pro-hormone is a legal substance with steroid-like effects, they want to take it. The problem is they don’t realize that pro-hormone is basically a steroid, so by taking it they are running a high risk of having steroids found in their system, even if they think what they were using was legal.
More risks with pro-hormone are that, even though they don’t give as good as results as a normal steroid would, they still have all the same side effects. Some argue that they are worse then steroids. The list of side effects for pro-hormone supplements include:
increased anger and depression
decreased sperm count
high blood pressure
There are more side effects, but these are the highlighted problems. In most cases it is said that since pro-hormone gives less results then steroids but all the same side effects, it’s better for athletes to stay away from them since they run the risk of getting caught with an illegal substance.
I believe another problem is that no one today wants to work hard to achieve their goal in the long run -they want results now. So they ignore the risks of these supplements because they only see the benefits. Yes, if you do your research and take the right kind of pro-hormone with the proper cycle, then you will get results such as lean muscle gain and better recovery, but I think the hazards and risks are too high.
Pro-Hormones and the Law
As I’ve said before, many pro-hormone supplements have become illegal because of how close they are to being a steroid. The law does not even have a definition for pro-hormone, the government just says that all banned pro-hormones are the same as steroids. In 2004, certain pro-hormones were made illegal under the Anabolic Steroid Control Act amendments. This law was signed by President Bush in hope of cutting down of steroid use. It added 26 more products to the list of illegal steroids, most of which were pro-hormone supplements. The legislation made them controlled substances and punishable by law. It also make it possible for the attorney general to have an easy time banning new hormones sold over the counter.
Banning these products didn’t exactly work. More and more “legal steroids” have been coming out which are high toxic methylated steroids. Many of these products are actually more dangerous than the original banned substances. The companies producing these products are operating legally but are running a high chance of having them banned as a steroid. Most of these companies are called “shelled companies” so they can disappear quickly when necessary. Some online stores even try selling illegal steroids to people by saying their products are legal and changing the name of them to a similar name as the original steroid. Most of the time, these shady companies try to sell to unknowing clients who are new in the world of pro-hormone and steroid use.
For the most part, pro-hormone products are constantly changing because the government has made many androstenedione and androstenediol supplements illegal. So companies are trying to work around it by adding different ingredients and disguising the products that are illegal. Examples of these include:
- Hemadrol Propadrol Stack
- Metyhl Halobolin
- Super Flex
- Anabolic Power Stack
- Deca Pro
- Sustanon 250
- Ultra Mass Stack
You can see by the names that some try to sound like a steroid, while others try to hide it.
In conclusion, pro-hormone products can work when used properly, but there are certainly high risks involved. You see fast results with added muscle and recovery time, but there are too many risks and side effects. If you’re an athlete, you are running a high risk of getting caught using an illegal steroid and ruining your career and future. I can understand that athletes want to keep up with the competition, but you don’t need to take steroids if you have the proper exercise and diet. The risks involved are simply not worth it.
Many health hazards are associated with taking pro-hormone and if you do not take them properly, you can even die. It bothers me that people want results now without putting in the work. With proper nutrition and exercise, you achieve results. The problem is that a lot people don’t want to wait for it to happen – they want it to happen overnight.
Overall, pro-hormones have shown results but I would never take them. The health risks are too high and the law has a close eye on their products. I would not be surprised if all pro-hormone supplements were defined as illegal steroids in the future.
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