For athletes who want to bulk up, prohormones can offer a competitive edge.
These chemical compounds spark the body to create its own “steroids,” without the need for testosterone boosters or artificial steroids.
Here are our top five picks for prohormones that develop optimal size and strength:
- Hi Tech Pharma 1-Testosterone
- Olympus Labs SUP3R-19
- Sparta Nutrition Nandro Max
- Primeval Labs Andro Quad –Discontinued
What Are Pro Hormones
Technically, a prohormone (aka pro streiod) is a precursor to a hormone.
Introducing prohormones into the body is a way to jump-start production, encouraging the body to build its own biologically active hormones.
In the fitness world, these substances often inhabit the same category as steroids and testosterone boosters.
How Do Pro Hormones Work?
Pro steriods are a supplement that bodybuilders and other athletes consume.
They’re a precursor to the testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, which means that by supplementing your body with these supplements, you’re prepping it to create its own muscle-building hormones.
As your body metabolizes the pro steroids, the endocrine system uses those building blocks to create more muscle.
The endocrine system is the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate many of the body’s essential functions.
Pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands plus the pancreas and ovaries or testicles make up the endocrine system.
Because this system reaches full development after puberty, only adults should use these types of supplements.
Are Pro Hormones Legal
In 2014, Congress banned steroids with the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2014.
HR 4771 defines drugs and hormonal substances that are similar to or derived from anabolic steroids based on the intent and pharmacological effects of each product.
That said, many of the stipulations of HR 4771 are broad enough that prohormones are an exception to its rules.
However, the Attorney General can issue a ban on any other drug or substance based on the compound’s properties and intended use.
Another important note is that prohormones can show up on drug tests, suggesting anabolic steroid use.
Professional athletes, government workers, and military personnel are typically the only groups who would come under scrutiny from using these supplements.
In general, drug tests don’t cover testing for anabolic steroids since those tests are not cost-effective.
Different compounds also leave the body at varying rates, so while some supplements leave the system within days, others stick around for up to five months.
Because of the government’s role in regulating supplements, certain ingredients no longer appear on the market.
As a result, the following compounds have become accessible for developing muscle mass.
1-Andro is an androgen that converts into Stanolone when you ingest it. It reportedly has few side effects, making it a top choice in many formulations. It’s also earned a reputation as a cutting prohormone.
Another chemical that changes inside the body is 4-Androsterone, and its status as a bulking compound makes it a high-ranking ingredient in the harcodre supplement formulas.
The compound Epiandrosterone contains androsterone within it, and it converts to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body.
This supplement ingredient is naturally occurring in most mammals and exits the body through urine.
This compound is unique because the DHT it creates inhibits estrogen.
This precursor to active hormones becomes Nandrolone in a two-step conversion process.
Because it acts on different pathways than 1-Androsterone, its use as a stacking prohormone is common.
1,4-androstadiene is a precursor to Boldione, and it’s highly anabolic. Its traits help promote muscularity, strength, and recovery.
Stacking Pro Hormones
Many individuals stack prohormones for faster results and to target specific goals. Combining multiple supplements puts a massive strain on your body’s systems, so many sources recommend using cycle support and post-cycle products to ensure your body can recover properly.
Most users will stack prohormones for a range of two to three weeks, along with other support supplements.
The primary goal is usually either cutting or bulking, and the goal dictates which combination of prohormones you’ll want to use, along with how often you should take them.
Pro Hormone Side Effects
According to Livestrong, some side effects of prohormones are liver stress, reduced HDL cholesterol, increased blood pressure, acne, and male breast growth.
Because most prohormones have extra molecules that keep them from breaking down in your liver, that organ must work harder.
While prohormones are arguably more “natural” than steroids because they prompt the body to build its own steroidal compounds, they do carry more risks than injectable steroids.
However, the effects of prohormones are often milder than the results of steroids, in both positive and negative aspects.
Because prohormones directly approach your endocrine system, young athletes should not take them.
Taking prohormones (or other supplements) can damage maturing systems, so people under at least age 18 should not take them,
When Is the Best Time to Take Pro Hormones?
While each supplement comes with its own directions for use, the standard recommendation is to space out the capsules throughout the day.
Some users start with a dose first thing in the morning, but many manufacturers advise consuming the pills with food for best results.
For people with sensitive stomachs or who are new to the supplements, it’s best to take each tablet with food.
Keep in mind that many prohormone supplements require liver support, and you may want to take those additions at the same time for convenience.
A few support supplements that aid liver function are N-acetyl cysteine, milk thistle, and SAMe. These ingredients help detoxify the liver.
To boost your HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol), nutritionists suggest consuming policosanols, guggal lipids, garlic, red yeast rice, niacin, and fenugreek before, during, and after each cycle.
Cycling Pro Hormones
Whether you are taking single capsules or are stacking prohormones, you’ll want to stick to a cycle during which you’ll track results.
Cycles can last from three to six weeks, although experienced users might prolong cycles depending on their physical goals.
During each cycle, consider which liver or cholesterol support you might need.
Many prohormone formulations are non-methylated or include compounds that aid in the liver and digestive processes.
You’ll need to thoroughly read the labels of each product you choose and decide what type of support to take.
A break of four to eight weeks gives your body time to rebuild its natural levels and functions, but it’s possible that longer breaks can wind up costing you some of that newly built muscle.
Ideally, you should match your prohormone cycle with a recovery cycle of the same length.
Pro Hormones and PCT
Because your body is receiving testosterone outside its normal production levels, natural production can shut down during prohormone dosing.
PCT manipulates your natural testosterone processes back to normal and helps maintain muscle mass, but concerns about liver health also drive the recommendation that athletes take a recovery period to boost their body’s internal systems.
Some examples of PCT supplements are Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators, Aromatase Inhibitors, and other supplements.
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs) controls your body’s estrogen levels and can prevent mammary tissue from developing. It also helps testosterone rise back to pre-cycle levels.
SERMs like Nolvadex, Torem-fareston, and Clomid are common for PCT. Aromatase inhibitors also help regulate estrogen by keeping your body from synthesizing androgens into estrogen.
Other supplements like pharmaceuticals, testosterone boosters, and herbal capsules also aid in recovery.
Top Pro Hormones Reviewed
The sheer volume of supplements available online makes it difficult to choose which compounds are ideal for your goals.
Here are our top five choices for building muscle mass and generating strength.
This blend uses Super-19 DHEA, a precursor to nandrolone.
Super-19 DHEA is a bulking supplements that helps build muscle density and increases nitrogen retention.
The premise of this formulation is that it also aids in recovery because of its low toxicity to your system.
- Little-to-no toxicity
- Increases nitrogen retention
- Non-estrogenic prohormone
- Ideal for stacking
- Only contains two compounds (not a “complete” supplement)
1-Androsterone and Laxosterone combine in this formula for an anabolic/androgenic ratio that’s similar to the now-banned Anavar.
It also avoids the drawbacks of Anavar, like suppression and toxicity.
According to Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, 90 percent of the compound is utilized in the body and turned into testosterone.
- No aromatization/conversion to estrogen
- Promotes higher levels of free testosterone
- Increases nitrogen retention
- Can cause some users to feel lightheaded (be sure to keep up water intake)
Olympus Labs’ Sup3R-19 is ideal for stacking because of its 19-NOR works on different pathways than 1-andro or 4-andro.
Because this compound is non-methylated with liposomal delivery, you likely won’t need liver care support during a cycle.
- No liver care required due to liposomal delivery
- Low toxicity
- Must stack with other supplements for best results
Innovative Labs Helladrol Review
Another great choice for stacking, a combination of Andros increase muscle mass and strength, increase your appetite, help improve recovery, and even boost libido.
The Cyclosome technology that Innovative Labs uses helps bypass the body’s barriers so your system can fully utilize each component.
This combination of ingredients enhances protein synthesis, prevents estrogen side effects, reduces water retention, and is non-methylated, so you don’t need liver support.
However, the manufacturer does suggest taking a break that’s twice as long as your on-cycle time for the best recovery results.
- All-in-one bulking stack with five prohormone components (can still stack with others)
- Enhances protein synthesis
- Non-methylated, so no liver care required
- Need to take a break twice as long as on-cycle time
Primeval Labs Andro Quad Review
This product has been discontinued
You can use Andro Quad for up to eight weeks bulking, cutting, and increased aggression.
These prohormones are non-methylated and have liposomal technology that gives your liver a break.
Epiandro helps heighten aggression and inhibits estrogen conversion, which leads to less water retention and more fat loss.
Laxogenin aids in protein synthesis for developing lean muscle and strength.
At the same time, it helps inhibit the breakdown of protein, so your recovery is smoother. 1-Andro and 4-Andro bump up muscle gains without estrogen production side effects.
- Three main prohormones
- Increases protein synthesis and neutralizes cortisol response with Laxogenin
- Requires an eight week or longer recovery period
If you’re looking to make massive gains, there are endless products on the market that offer bulking, cutting, and recovery support.
With our top five picks for hardcore supplements cycling, you’ll be off to a great start toward your ideal physique.