Recently, prohormones were as common as creatine. Since 40-50% of today’s college and professional athletes use creatine, this number is considerable. But why have most prohormones gone the way of the dinosaur?
First of all, let’s pin down exactly what prohormones are — because not everyone gets it right. Then, we’ll take a look at what happened to prohormones and what the best alternatives are.
What are Prohormones
Whether you’re a man or a woman, testosterone is responsible for how much muscle you can build. Prohormones are designed to increase testosterone, so you can expand your muscle-building limits.
There are synthetic testosterone supplements, which contain actual testosterone. And there are natural testosterone supplements, which stimulate testosterone production. Prohormones fall somewhere in the middle. They use testosterone precursors, which the body metabolizes and turns into testosterone. Here are a few popular precursors:
By increasing testosterone, prohomones allow users to build greater muscle mass and strength. But because they give the body more testosterone than it’s used to, prohormones cause side effects. In fact, they cause the same side efects as anabolic steroids. These side effects include:
- Hair loss
- Prostate swelling
- Breast Enlargement
And there’s more…prohormones are hepatoxic, which means they damage the liver.
Are Prohormones Still Available?
Androstenedione was one of the first prohormones to hit the scene. It quickly gained attention due to baseball players such as Mark McGuire, who was often seen with androstenodione in his locker.
Until President Bush signed the Anabolic Steroid Control Act in 2004, all prohormones were legal. Now, prohormones are illegal and classified as Schedule III Controlled Substances along with steroids.
Any “prohormones” available for sale online or in supplement stores don’t contain the testosterone precursors they once did. They are watered-down excuses for the once powerful prohormones.
Let’s not shed too many tears over what used to be. After all, were prohormones really that great? Sure, they were cheap and sometimes effective. But there were a few cons.
Not only did prohormones cause side effects, but they required additional supplements. Prohormone users had to purchase extra supplements to reduce liver damage, bad cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
In addition, prohormones’ results were temporary. The gains from prohormones only lasted while people were using the product. After the prohormone cycle ended additional supplements were needed to maintain normal testosterone levels and muscle gains.
With all the extra supplements, prohormones were not cheap. But without the extra supplements, nasty side effects emerged, and muscle gains and sex drive plummeted.
Even when prohormones were available, using them wasn’t the best choice. And synthetic testosterone is illegal unless you have a prescription. So, now what should you use?
Natural testosterone supplements are the only products still standing. True, they aren’t as powerful. But many natural supplements work, and they aren’t banned or dangerous.
How Do Natural Testosterone Supplements Work?
Your adrenal glands, testes (if you’re a man), and ovaries (if you’re a woman) make testosterone. For the most part, they do a great job. But every once in a while, these glands need some encouragement.
Natural testosterone supplements use ingredients proven to stimulate increased testosterone production. These are the top picks:
Tribulus Terrestris – increases luteinizing hormones, which are testosterone precursors. Research shows tribulus is a safe, effective testosterone booster.
Fenugreek – contains saponins, or natural steroids which increase testosterone production.
D-Aspartic Acid – proven to boost testosterone levels up to 42%. Like tribulus, d-aspartic acid increases luteinizing hormones.
A Better Alternative
Prohormones as we used to know them are gone. But is this really such a bad thing? Prohormones posed numerous side effects and health concerns. It took lots of money and additional supplements to use prohormones safely. And even then, they weren’t completely safe and their benefits were short-lived.
If you’re looking for the best alternative, natural testosterone supplements are legal and don’t require prescriptions. And, you have hundreds of options to choose from. For best results, stick with natural supplements that contain proven testosterone boosters.
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-  Wilborn, C, L Taylor, et al. “Effects of a purported aromatase and 5a-reductase inhibitor on hormone profiles in college-age men.” International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 20.6 (2010): 457-65.
-  Topo, Enza, Andrea Soricelli, et al. “The role and molecular mechanism of D-aspartic acid in the release and synthesis of LH and testosterone in humans and rats.” Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. 7. (2009): 120.