So what do you think when you hear the word testosterone. Do you think my balls will shrink? That’s a steroid its bad for you? Well these are frequently asked questions when the topic comes up. No matter if you’re using it for recreation or have a testosterone deficiency, everyone has questions.
Legal prohormones entered the market in 1996. This was the first time they had become available over the counter and very easy to use. Some benefits were muscle enhancement, increased strength, changed your body composition, and increased your sex drive.
Getting to know Testosterone
Testosterone is a hormone produced by men and women. In men they are produced in the testes and in women they are produced in the ovaries. The adrenal glands play a part at producing a small amount of testosterone. Testosterone is largely responsible for the characteristics possessed by men such as a deep voice, facial or body hair and aggression. When you are talking about testosterone, the hormone is put into a group called the androgen class. In this class DHT (dihydrostesosterone), DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone), androstenedione, and androstenediol are all put together. Other groups are, estrogens, progestins, mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids, vitamin D, and bile acids.
Each also has a function
- Estrogens are something bodybuilders do not want in their system.
- Progestins are known as contraceptives
- Mineralocorticoids help with controlling water in your body
- Glucocorticoids act as an anti- inflammatory for the body.
- Vitamin D and Bile Acids is pretty much self-explanatory.
So testosterone can by synthesized in a few different ways. You start with cholesterol, which can be converted into either DHEA or progesterone before turning into Testosterone. The two pathways are shown below:
- Cholesterol -> Pregnenolone ->Progesterone ->Androstenedione->Testosterone
- Cholesterol ->Pregnenolone -> DHEA ->Androstenediol -> Testosterone
When Testosterone becomes usable for the body, almost 90% of it is used to bind to proteins called albumin and globulin. The reason for binding to these is to help when testosterone transports through the blood, also helps it not get broken down when going through the kidneys and liver, and it helps to store the unused testosterone for times that it gets out of whack.
So the question usually is well how do you regulate your levels especially when using recreationally. When trying to regulate your levels it is based off of two things; the amount of testosterone already in the blood and the amount of binding capacity that your body can hold. When your binding sites are higher and can hold more testosterone there is less room for waste. Especially when putting additional testosterone into your body, the reason your putting it in is so that you can use all of it so as your binding sites increase the percentage amount of testosterone your using is increasing as well.
Much of the lost testosterone, or unused I should say, gets converted into DHT which is a more potent androgen. The enzyme 5-alpha reductase converts this. The conversion into other groups is uncommon but all occurs in the liver, brain, and fat tissues. So to keep away from side effects that could potentially hurt you the goal for bodybuilders, or people simply looking to put on a bit of muscle, is to keep the body fat low and use good supplements. This will then minimize the conversion to DHT and estrogens.
What does it mean to be Androgenic?
So sometimes you may hear the word AAS or the longer version anabolic, androgenic steroids. AAS is synthesized this means made in a lab. Even though your body naturally produces it doesn’t stop people from wanting more.
Examples of some potent and dangerous ones are: Halostin, Parabolan, Dianabol, and Anadrol. Although they may be more potent you run the risk of getting fake or under dosed steroids, risk of infection from injecting, steroids laced with heavy metals, and legal issues.
There are lots of side effects for any hormones you put into your body. The most common side effects are: Lower cholesterol levels, reduced sperm count, prostate enlargement, liver damage, suppression of your regular hormone levels in your body, acne, and possible added breast tissue (gynocomastia).
No person is the same. Everyone has a different reaction to each different AAS they decide to put into their body. It also doesn’t just depend on their body but it also depends on how much they are taking.
So maybe you think putting a steroid into your body isn’t the best option or at least your best option. Well the alternatives are prohomones. Prohormones may not be as strong as AAS but they will help you if you would like to go for that route as well.
A product we have right now is called 4-AD; the technical name for it is 4-Androsterone and is primarily used as a bulking prohormone. This is one of the legal versions of Testosterone.
No matter what you choose just make sure to be informed. These hormones are not suggested for teens to use or women. Most men can start with 200mg and move up to 600mg once they see how their body reacts.
As with any supplement you take there are risks and benefits and you should always make an informed decision based on your goals, safety, and listening to your body to how it responds when using any supplement.