Disclaimer: This FitnessVigil article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
Patrick Arnold, a U.S. organic chemist who introduced prohormone 1-Androstenediol in 2001. Upon ingesting the supplement, the enzymes in our bodies convert it into an anabolic hormone that supports growth. Its effectiveness is co-related to the enzyme conversion rate. Androstenedione, the first prohormone product in the market, was popularized by baseball player Mark McGwire. Steroids and sports have been talked about in the same breath for a long time, and the public has become aware of performance enhancing drugs.
The market saw an introduction of a number of such compounds which had different characteristics. Some used to convert into testosterone after the enzymatic conversion in the body, while others changed into nandrolone and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). However, there are harmful, long-lasting side effects that have put a ban on some of the compounds.
What is a Prohormone
These are precursors to anabolic hormones which stimulate growth and development in our bodies. Anabolic hormones, like testosterone and Human Growth Hormone (HGH), help strengthen our bones and affect the body's metabolism. These are mostly used by individuals who are into bodybuilding, and there are two techniques that are used variably. Stacking is one of the techniques in which the prohormones are introduced to the body orally and with injections. This is done to ensure that the body gets a good supply for the enzymatic conversion process. Cycling is another method where you take the bodybuilding supplements for 4 to 6 weeks, stop the dosage for some time, and then restart. The cycling method is believed to counter the side effects, although there isn't much scientific data to prove this.
Possible Side Effects
- As the prohormones turn into anabolic hormones after an enzymatic process in the body, the excess amount ingestion may lead to liver damage.
- Just like the side effects of steroids, the kidneys are also susceptible to damage.
- Some of the long-term side effects are infertility and baldness.
- If you use it extensively, it is more likely to cause hair loss as it tends to reduce the production of testosterone in the body over a period of time.
- One of the most common effects is the appearance of acne on the face and body of the user. Although this might seem like a mild side effect, body acne can lead to a lot of discomfort.
- In females, it may lead to an increase in testosterone production along with facial hair growth and deepening of the voice.
- Menstrual issues are very common in females who take the supplements.
- In men, it can lead to excess production of estrogen which can lead to benign enlargement of breast tissue.
- Loss of libido and infertility are also quite common, and these in turn can lead to psychological and social issues.
- An individual on a regular dosage may experience high and low periods which lead to mood swings. In a high period, you will notice a lot of aggressive behavior, whereas during a low period, depression is experienced.