When it comes to getting massive, adding muscle, and increasing strength, your focus is always on supplementing for size.
However, what happens when you cycle off?
Contrary to popular belief, it may be even more important to hone in your post cycle therapy than it is to take tons of muscle-building supplements for a few weeks.
For the quick list of the best PCT supplements, here ya go:
The focus for post cycle therapy is to rebalance your body’s natural hormone production; therefore, you want to optimize your PCT so you can get to the next cycle with a healthy basis.
Here is the definitive guide to post-cycle therapy.
In this article, we’ll go over what PCT really is, who needs it, where you should get your therapy, whether they work or not, benefits, dosage, side effects, and our top PCT supplements you can get today for your next post-cycle timeline.
Let’s get started!
- What is Post Cycle Therapy (PCT)?
- Who Needs Post Cycle Therapy?
- Post Cycle Therapy for SARMs
- Post Cycle Therapy for Prohormones
- Post Cycle Therapy for Steroids
- Post Cycle Therapy with HCG
- Post Cycle Therapy with Nolvadex
- Post Cycle Therapy with Over-The-Counter
- Do PCT Supplements Actually Work?
- How Do PCT Supplements Work?
- How Long Does it Take for a PCT to Work?
- Benefits of PCT
- Post Cycle Therapy Dosage
- When Should You Take It?
- Do I Need to Cycle a PCT?
- Post Cycle Supplement Side Effects
- Top Post Cycle Therapy Supplements Reviewed
What is Post Cycle Therapy (PCT)?
Post cycle therapy is fairly straightforward.
It is a full-on transition period, where you go from taking some type of hormonal regulator to getting back to homeostasis.
This allows your body to return to normal hormone production.
While your hormonal supplement might aid you in recovery after gruelling workouts, your PCT helps you recover from the additional hormones or upregulated production.
Post cycle therapy is essential to the entire process. Similar to a bulking/cutting split, post cycle therapy is what preserves your gains and also keeps you healthy.
Who Needs Post Cycle Therapy?
There are different camps of gym bros who take their favorite type of supplement. But do they need PCT to avoid side effects from their supps? Let’s tackle each category one by one:
Post Cycle Therapy for SARMs
They act like steroids, but apparently steer you clear of the *ahem* unfortunate side effects.
But does it need to be cycled? As in, should you take your SARMs for a few weeks, followed by an amount of time on post cycle therapy?
The jury is still way out on SARMs as a supplement in general, and the same can be said for whether or not you need PCT…or even if SARMs is ideal for your post cycle therapy.
Allegedly, SARMs don’t affect the hormonal levels within the body, making them different from steroids or prohormone supplements.
Other research claims that while it isn’t on the same level as steroids in terms of suppression, SARMs still drops testosterone production in the testes.
Depending on your SARM supplement, you can either use it while in post cycle therapy or will be required to have PCT after taking it for a prolonged period of time.
Post Cycle Therapy for Prohormones
This is one of the main reasons why post cycle therapy exists. Prohormones essentially end your regular hormone production (i.e. your body stops producing it completely).
While there are benefits to supplementing with prohormones, it definitely causes adverse issues to occur within your body if you take them for too long.
That’s where PCT comes in; it helps you restabilize your body’s natural tendencies to create testosterone, reduce estrogen production, and regenerate liver cells (more on that later).
It doesn’t have to be said, but PCT after prohormone supplementation is a necessity.
Post Cycle Therapy for Steroids
Another given, steroids are synthetic hormones pumped into your system. You need a decent post cycle therapy to pump it all out and get back to basics.
Whether they are anabolic or a cleaner strain, they’re still messing with your natural hormone production.
Depending on how hard you supplement with steroids, you want to make sure your side effects are limited, as well as keeping your internal systems close to regular.
Prohormones and steroids are roughly similar, so a post cycle therapy session should be scheduled for immediately after supplementation.
Post Cycle Therapy with HCG
HCG – Human Chorionic Gonadotropin – is not a steroid, but instead “a natural peptide hormone which develops in the placenta of pregnant women during pregnancy to controls the mother’s hormones.”
However, it is also a natural stimulant to the Leydig cells in the testes. The Leydig cells are what produces testosterone.
HCG acts as the Luteinizing hormone that tells the cells to create more testosterone.
During long steroid or prohormone cycles, it’s good to use HCG to maintain the size of your testicles or to recover from atrophied testicles.
But, when it comes to post cycle therapy, it’s advised to not use HCG.
HCG is best used as a precursor to post cycle therapy, as it reestablishes your testosterone production levels from the testicles.
It isn’t a proper post cycle therapy supplement because it rapidly increases the creation of both testosterone and estrogen, which further represses the HPTA (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Testicular Axis).
Therefore, it doesn’t help in recovery or restoration of natural testosterone production.
HCG: Use it during the cycle to avoid testicular atrophy, not in post cycle therapy.
Post Cycle Therapy with Nolvadex
Nolvadex is an alternative to Clomid, which has been found to have adverse side effects.
Technically, it is an estrogen modulator used to treat and help prevent breast cancer, plus you need a prescription for it.
This drug naturally increases testosterone production. A popular SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator), Nolvadex is both a safe and an efficient way to restore your natural hormone creation within the body.
As far as supplementation schedule:
- Day One of PCT = 100 mg
- Next 10 Days = 60 mg
- Next 10 Days = 40 mg
This should get you stabilized enough on a post cycle therapy regimen.
Post Cycle Therapy with Over-The-Counter
If you plan to go over-the-counter, there are certain ingredients you should look for and certain ingredients you should avoid.
However, it will be easier to obtain, seeing as they aren’t SERMs, which require a prescription from a doctor. (And if you aren’t a woman, good luck getting that.)
First, you’ll want a natural testosterone booster, which are plant-based compounds that – you guessed it – increase natural testosterone production.
Compounds such as Tribulus Terrestris and fenugreek are fantastic at doing this, with minimal to zero side effects.
The next thing you want in your OTC supplement is an aromatase inhibitor.
This compound reduces the enzyme known as aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen, or something you definitely don’t want when recovering from using supps to add muscle.
Taking PCT with an AI helps the process of getting natural testosterone levels back to normal go that much faster.
Flavones, Flavanones, and Resveratrol are natural AIs that help reduce estrogen and increase testosterone.
Lastly, you want a cortisol control supplement. This can mean a ton of vitamins and minerals and should be easy to find.
Basically, cortisol is the stress hormone; by trying to get back to a natural homeostasis, your body will be under a lot of stress.
This reduces testosterone. So, adding DHEA, melatonin, a B-Complex, Vitamin C, or adaptogens will aid in controlling your stress levels.
As for other things included within your OTC PCT supplement, it’s best to steer clear of them.
The above three compounds are what you truly need to get back to a natural production state; anything extra won’t help exponentially, and in fact may do more harm than good.
Over-The-Counter PCT vs. Prescription?
When it’s time to choose your PCT supplement, there are pros and cons to whichever way you obtain them.
If you go with over-the-counter post cycle therapy capsules, there are some great benefits, such as cost, ease of access, and you get to choose which brand and PCT supplement you go with.
There are great OTC PCT supps out there (which we cover in our list below).
However, if you go with over-the-counter, you risk choosing a supplement that won’t react well with your body.
The capsule won’t be specifically tailored to your individual needs, which is why they can be somewhat inexpensive.
As for prescription post cycle therapy, there are obvious plusses: A catered prescription based on your blood type, an effective post cycle, and it is monitored by your primary physician.
Of course, the dilemma is cost and ability to find your PCT. While the availability is sometimes tough, it is mostly the cost that deters most bros from seeing their doctor.
And to that we say, “What’s your health worth?”
Whichever one you decide on, make sure it’s the best for you and your predicament.
Do PCT Supplements Actually Work?
In short, yes, they do work, but ONLY if you supplement correctly.
This means getting high quality post cycle therapy supplements that give you all of the important benefits, like natural testosterone production, estrogen reduction, and restoring normal bodily functions after a bout of steroids or prohormones.
In truth, you never know until you try. Perhaps specific PCT supps work well for you, while others fall far from expectations.
Trial and error should be your forte at this point, so find a few natural PCT supplements that have great reviews and high quality ingredients.
Experiment and discover your personal post cycle therapy routine.
How Do PCT Supplements Work?
As covered previously, PCT supplements take your inhibited hormone creators within your body and essentially “wake them up.”
During a cycle of steroids or prohormones, your body’s natural hormone tendencies and functions are either suppressed or shut down.
This is why you cycle between steroids and post cycle therapy.
You supplement additional hormones to upregulate the benefits of that hormone, then you get off that supplement and reestablish your natural production levels.
Most PCT supplements block aromatase, which turns testosterone into estrogen. It also uses natural testosterone boosters to help kick your Leydig cells into high gear.
Testicular testosterone activity ramps up to regular levels. Plus, it gives you an extra boost in keeping your other hormones at desirable levels, such as cortisol and metabolism.
How Long Does it Take for a PCT to Work?
There is no definitive answer. It mainly depends on how long your cycle lasts, as well as what you’re taking during your cycle.
Of course, your cycle should never last longer than 10 weeks as a standard rule.
That being said, if you are taking healthy prohormones without too much synthetic crap, you could get back to normal testosterone levels in around 2-3 weeks.
The full range could be from a week to four months. Test this out as well, because PCT is highly individualized.
Benefits of PCT
Considering you did it correctly, cycling off of whatever steroid you were using has one major health benefit: It brings you back to normal levels of hormone production.
So long as you don’t do post cycle therapy for too long (a.k.a. don’t overdo it), PCT supplements give your body the ability to create its own hormones.
This is vital, seeing as you are now off the synthetic hormones you were taking beforehand.
PCT helps you avoid any adverse side effects from the steroids or prohormones.
Prolonged usage of these types of drugs will eventually result in shrunken testicals, hair loss, aggression, and many other complications.
Make sure you get your testosterone levels tested before cycling, at the end of cycling, and after your post cycle therapy, to get a sense of how much your body changes.
If you cycle on and off effectively, you should avoid side effects from the cycle and keep your natural testosterone levels intact.
Of course, the main benefit of PCT is the preservation of your hard-earned gains. That’s the whole point of taking steroids or prohormones in the first place, right?
Cycling off by ramping up natural hormone production will salvage the muscle gain and fat loss you acquired during your cycle.
Post Cycle Therapy Dosage
This topic is also dependant on what you take and what you’re cycling off.
As we said before, Nolvadex has a specific dosage cycle, and combining it with Clomid (not recommended) changes the dosage levels.
However, if we are talking about over-the-counter post cycle therapy, there isn’t a set length or dosage like with prescription medication.
To start, you have to wait a few weeks after your last steroid admission. The reason being is that there may still be androgens in your system.
High androgens actually waste your PCT supp because the androgen receptors are telling the testes to stop testosterone production.
Seeing as we are trying to upregulate testosterone production, we need to make sure the steroids are completely out of the system before engaging in PCT.
Here is a general breakdown of when to start your post cycle therapy based on type of steroid, along with how long you should be in post cycle therapy (from Fitness Uncovered):
|Steroid||When to start after last admission||Length of PCT|
|Testosterone Enanthate||2 weeks||3 weeks|
|Testosterone Cypionate||2 weeks||3 weeks|
|Testosterone Propionate||3 days||3 weeks|
|Testosterone Suspension||6-8 hours||3 weeks|
|Sustanon||3 weeks||3 weeks|
|Winstrol||12 hours||2/3 weeks|
|Dianabol||6-8 hours||3 weeks|
|Trenbolone||3 days||4 weeks|
|Deca durabolan||3 weeks||4 weeks|
|Primabolan depot||14 days||2 weeks|
|Anavar||8-10 hours||2 weeks|
Prohormone cycles might differ. Some online forums claim you should start your PCT immediately after you get off prohormones.
It really depends on the half life of whatever it is you’re supplementing.
If there are androgens within your system, it might take a while to get them out. And if you start PCT before the androgens are out, you’ll be spinning your wheels.
As for dosage, follow the instructions on the bottle. The supplement companies know what they’re doing, and it shouldn’t take much to aid your body in getting back to normal.
Seeing as prescription drugs like Nolvadex and Clomid require minimal milligrams, OTC PCT should be roughly similar.
When Should You Take It?
Refer to the chart above for when you should start your post cycle therapy after the last steroid supplementation.
As for when to take it daily, in the morning with food is a great way to get the most bang for your buck with post cycle therapy.
Do I Need to Cycle a PCT?
Hopefully, this goes without saying.
You cycle steroids or prohormones, you cycle post cycle therapy, you repeat. Too much of either is never a good thing.
Keeping the timelines for both relatively short will enhance the benefits while reducing the side effects (more on these later).
Again, the length of cycle time depends on what you’re cycling off, how long your cycle was, and whether you’re going with prescribed SERMs or OTC.
As always, follow bottle instructions or doctor instructions. Also, get your testosterone tested to see where your levels are before beginning a cycle and post cycle therapy.
This will help determine how long you should cycle PCT.
Post Cycle Supplement Side Effects
For the hardcore prescription SERMs like Clomid and Nolvadex, there are a few common side effects, more often seen in women over men:
- Blurred Vision
- Diarrhea or Constipation
- Upset Stomach
- Skin Irritation
- Loss of Libido
If you instead use SARMs – like HCG – you won’t necessarily have to cycle off this supplement. There are still side effects to these as well, including:
- Hair Loss
- Vision Impairment
Lastly, OTC post cycle therapy have similar side effects as to the prescription ones, but they are less severe. Headaches, shortness of breath, blurred vision, and nausea are the main issues.
Of course, all of these are reduced if you follow the regimen to the letter, don’t prolong the cycle past where you should, and eat/exercise properly.
Top Post Cycle Therapy Supplements Reviewed
First up on our list is a PCT made by Chaos and Pain. Cannibal ALPHA PCT is a testosterone and libido enhancer with 30 total servings, making it ideal for a month-long post cycle therapy session.
The list of ingredients is quite impressive. The main one is Brassaiopsis Glomerulata, which is a potent aromatase inhibitor extracted from a species of shrub.
Then there’s curcumin and indole-3-carbinol, the active herb in turmeric that reduces inflammation and a compound found in cruciferous veggies that prevents cancer, respectively. Plus, there’s a decent amount of D-aspartic acid, a natural testosterone booster.
Chock full of helpful compounds, consider using Chaos and Pain’s flagship post cycle therapy supplement the next time you’re cycling off your hormones.
This next post cycle therapy supplement is made in the VMI Sports lab.
If you’re looking to maximize your libido, increase your free testosterone, and promote anabolic drive, this PCT is for you.
With 30 servings, you have a solid month of your PCT regimen covered.
It includes Vitamin D3 and zinc, both important in regulating testosterone and overall health.
Also, it has an “LH Activation Complex” that consists of Tribulus Alatus Extract and purified Shilajit Powder, both Ayurvedic adaptogens that help regulate hormones, among other impressive benefits.
Then it has a “DHT Inhibition Complex” that is a combo of saw palmetto powder and stinging nettle root powder, helpful in promoting hair growth, water retention relief, and helps your prostate while maintaining testosterone levels.
Lastly, it has androgen hormone support, complete with DHEA and boron.
An overall solid supplement for your post cycle therapy, give Andragen XR a try today!
If you want a fully-packed, natural PCT supplement, InnerCues and their Natural PCT product has got you covered and then some.
The serving size is just 2 capsules, and a bottle will last you 30 days if you take your serving nightly as instructed.
But you can feel relatively good about the straightforward ingredients.
Innercues Post Cycle Therapy Formula helps support liver function, cardiovascular health and kidney function through recovery.
The final PCT supp on our list is made by the bros over at Nutracraft.
Again with 30 servings, there seems to be a theme between a month-long supply and post cycle therapy supplements.
With PCT Power, you get nothing but the best in terms of ingredients.
They blend indole-3-carbinol, Resveratrol, and chrysin (a flavonoid) to bring about the best aromatase inhibitor on the market.
Then, they pack in fenugreek extract, cissus quadrangularis, tongkat ali, and – you ready for this? – divanillyltetrahydrofuran for the ultimate natural testosterone boost.
(For the scientifically inclined, that last one increases the concentration of free testosterone and found in flaxseed.)
Finally, they include milk thistle and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (cough medicine), which help detox and protect your body from a litany of diseases and illnesses.
A blast of healthy goodness, PCT Power is a force to be reckoned with. Use it for your next post cycle therapy and you won’t be sorry!
Your post cycle therapy is just as crucial as your actual cycle.
Whether you take SARMs, prohormones, or steroids, there’s a post cycle therapy regimen out there for you.
Decide whether you’ll go with prescription or over-the-counter PCT, find supplements that work for you, and develop a schedule complete with dosage and timing.
The benefits of post cycle therapy vastly outweigh the potential side effects, and there are more adverse complications that can occur if you don’t do post cycle therapy.
Take a gander at our list of top over-the-counter PCT supplements and choose one that sounds perfect for your situation.
Preserve your gains and maximize muscle retention with post cycle therapy!