What are Prohormones and What do They do?
If you’ve talked to anyone into working out, you might have heard about prohormones, but didn’t know what they are. In this guide, we’re breaking them down.
In the world of bodybuilding, if you can find the right supplements, you can benefit by getting massive gains.
But there are so many different kinds of muscle supplements out there, it’s really hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Today, we’re going to talk about a very specific group of muscle supplements called prohormones.
These supplements are purported to help you achieve insane gains in strength and size. People say they feel stronger, have more endurance, and feel awesome.
But are these things true? Do these supplements really do these things?
They aren’t that expensive. You can buy a month’s supply for anywhere between $30-$50.
And if you’re of the mindset that cheap means trash, then you might be hesitant to even consider prohormones.
And they are a steroid class. And steroids have gained a bad rap due to regulation.
So, today, we are going to educate you on Prohormones so that you can decide whether they are the right supplement for you.
What Are Prohormones?
Prohormones are a chemical compound that sits somewhere between the categories of testosterone boosters and anabolic steroids.
They are essentially the building blocks the body uses to create steroids and hormones naturally.
This might seem like a natural way to go. They’re touted as an alternative to anabolic steroids. And they really do work similarly to steroids.
An Alternative To Steroids And Boosters?
Anabolic steroids are compounds similar to testosterone. They provide massive gains with nasty side effects.
Prolonged use of anabolic steroids is not recommended. Use will slowly destroy your body.
Some of the side effects of anabolic steroid use include acne, tumors, heart disease, psychiatric conditions, hormone imbalances.
It can lead to erectile dysfunction and decreased sperm count. And many other things.
Then you have testosterone boosters as another thing that people use Prohormones as an alternative for.
These do help build some muscle. But they aren’t as effective as anabolic steroids. They do however come with less severe and numerous side effects.
So, having something between anabolic steroids and testosterone boosters is appealing.
But are they really that similar? What’s the difference? Let’s take a look.
Prohormones Vs. Anabolic Steroids
Prohormones are considered a weaker cousin of the steroid.
Anabolic steroids are illegal. They are strictly banned in most countries.
But some prohormones are legal, and we’ll talk about their legality in a bit.
But because governments have cracked down on the use of anabolic steroids, prohormones rose from the ashes.
Why did this veritable phoenix appear? Because manufacturers discovered they could synthesize the precursors to anabolic steroids and raw hormones to get around the ban.
It’s all predicated on the fact that you no longer have to directly inject pure testosterone into your body like a junkie. You’re now going the “natural” way.
While some body builders find ways around the law and still use anabolic steroids, this is a highly dangerous practice.
And if you get caught, you could face a year in prison and a $1000 fine.
Prohormones bring some of the same side effects as steroids. Which makes sense considering they boost your body’s production of anabolic steroids.
Some of the hormones prohormones produce are harmful to the liver.
And, as they boost production of certain hormones, you will probably have a hormonal imbalance that could worsen side effects.
While prohormones are marginally safer than anabolic steroids, there are still risks you take with their use.
Prohormones And The Law
Steroids are illegal. They’re considered Schedule III controlled substances by the FDA.
As we said, if you use them, you could go to jail if caught. If you sell them, you could go to jail for five years and face $250,000 dollars in fines.
But prohormones are different.
They represent this legal gray area that’s difficult to tread.
There are illegal prohormones.
The law on these substances has slowly tightened like a noose around the necks of manufacturers.
In 2014, that noose got a bit tighter with the Designer Steroid Control Act.
It lists a huge number of substances that were once legal.
Because, you know, the government isn’t as stupid as you think. They get that making your body produce steroids is akin to taking the steroid yourself.
They set out some standards on what a steroid actually is. And it eliminates a lot of prohormones.
And it also raised the stakes on selling illegal hormones. It raised them to “Federal Offense.”
The list they put out encompassed a full 25 different substances.
And the law stated that even if something wasn’t on the list that didn’t make it legal.
Are There Legal Prohormones?
Yes. There are a few that do not fit the bill as a designer steroid under the law.
There is one.
1-Andro or DHEA.
These are pretty effective. But they are still weaker than a straight steroid.
You will find that a lot of companies will mix this supplement in with other supplements.
Whether this has a scientific or legal purpose, it’s hard to tell.
But people have reported actual gains from these supplements.
Right now, this prohormone is legal.
Whether it will stay legal for long is a matter of what happens in court and legislative centers in the near future.
We’re looking at an environment where laws get passed to punish people for doing something that already has natural consequences.
So, it’s not inconceivable that using DHEA could become illegal in the future.
What Are The Benefits Of Prohormones?
If you are having trouble with your gains or have plateaued completely, prohormones might help.
They can increase muscle mass and your sex drive.
A lot of people have reported a more masculine visage after taking these. Whether this is psychology or not, “looking” more masculine is subjective anyway.
But some confirmed side effects (these could be positive for some) are increased facial hair growth, deeper voice, better athletic performance, faster recovery, and improved sex drive.
This is for prohormones both legal and illegal.
The Benefits Of DHEA
DHEA also builds up the adrenal gland and strengthens your immune system.
People have also experienced increased mood and memory with DHEA. And they connect it to increased muscle and bone strength.
Another benefit of taking DHEA is anti-aging. While only a few studies have been done on the topic, there is some evidence mounting that it might help slow aging.
It potentially does this by supplementing the lower levels of hormones you experience with age.
Something else it could possibly be useful for is depression.
The health industry is looking for ways to naturally combat depression. And this is one of those possible ways.
While the evidence is still unclear, it does point to the alleviation of depression in some cases. Especially in middle-aged people.
Another reported benefit is healthier skin. It appears that hormone levels might be responsible for skin elasticity.
What Are The Side Effects Of Prohormones?
Like we stated before, prohormones can have similar effects on your body as anabolic steroids.
You might be able to mitigate some side effects, but you cannot eliminate them altogether.
Some of the side effects include bad acne. Hypertension could occur in your circulation system.
Liver damage is also common and can lead to liver cancers if you continue to use for too long.
Some have reported a swollen prostate. Which, again, could lead to cancer.
Breast enlargement, just like with steroids, is a problem. Men tend to take this one pretty seriously when it happens to them.
Hair loss can happen with prohormones.
Headaches and dizziness are a side effect of many medications. But they seem to be worse when they happen with prohormones.
The recommendation for mitigating these symptoms is to cycle on and off.
Can I Drink While Taking Prohormones?
If you take prohormones, you must commit to not drinking alcohol.
Prohormones are hepatotoxic. They damage your liver.
It’s an intense process for your body to synthesize extra hormones and metabolize the prohormone in your liver.
If you put alcohol on your body, you’re worsening the function of your liver. And this leads to severe liver damage when taking prohormones.
There is another reason you shouldn’t drink alcohol and take prohormones at the same time. They interact.
Alcohol prevents protein synthesis with prohormones. This is a fancy way of saying it keeps your muscles from growing.
And this completely defeats the purpose of taking a prohormone in the first place.
So, don’t drink and pump. It’s just not a good idea.
Should I Take Prohormones?
We really can’t answer this one for you. It’s really up to you what you do with your body.
We can only give you the decision tools to use.
We can tell you that some people shouldn’t take this substance.
If you’re still growing, you shouldn’t mess with hormone supplements. Your body is still trying to figure out how it’s going to function. And your endocrine system isn’t complete yet.
So if you’re under 21, don’t take them. No matter how much you think you’ll gain from it.
Prohormones are pretty effective tools for growing muscle.
But it’s still a gray area where the law is concerned.
Be careful what you put in your body and how you go about buying prohormones.
Safety in the sport of bodybuilding is always a must.
Have you used prohormones? Let us know in the comments below.
Alex Rogers is a supplement manufacturing expert. He has been formulating, consulting, & manufacturing dietary supplements since 1998. Alex invented protein customization in 1998 & was the first company to allow consumers to create their own protein blends. He helped create the first supplement to contain natural follistatin, invented whey protein with egg lecithin, & recently imported the world’s first 100% hydrolyzed whey.