Steroids have been illegal for some time now and everyone knows the potency of the real thing but legal steroids and their alternatives are quickly catching up as a viable alternative to the black market illegal steroids.
Over the last few years the serious body builders have been using the alternative legal steroids and achieving amazing results. Legal steroids like Androstenedione ( andro), 1-AD,1-test and 4-Androstenedione are the closest thing to real steroids and some of these are available legally.
These alternative steroids fall into the category of prohormones when used correctly are both a safe and effective way to enhance and boost strength, energy and muscle recovery.
The first legal steroid that body builders used and promoted was Androstenedione. This is also known as a prohormone and was first used by East German athletes to enhance their performance and was their secret weapon for some time.
Androstenedione or Andro works in the following way. As a result of an enzyme conversion in the liver Andro exerts an anabolic effect. The enzyme in the liver acts on the molecular structure of Andro and from this reaction it converts, in a completely natural process, the andro into testosterone.
Since the introduction of Andro which was considered to be the first steroid alternative there have been many other related products over the last few years. There has and is much debate whether increasing the amount of Andro will increase the effect but as with any drug it is dangerous to start altering the dosage unless supervised by qualified people.
On January 20th, 2005 the US Federal Gorvenment’s ban on prohormones took effect. This included the Androstenedione ( andro), 1-AD. Body builders must now look to other alternatives to enhance their programs.
Androstenedione is considered a banned substance by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
DHEA Pre-Cursor Hormone is one of the alternatives at the present. As a pre-cursor hormone, it leads to the production of other hormones and as a supplement has shown some awesome results. DHEA supplements act as an anti aging by maintaining the levels of DHEA that occur naturally in the body that decrease as we get older.
Anyone considering using a product containing DHEA should first check the laws of their own country as they vary from one country to another.
Androstenedione studies : Myths and Facts
For a while, androstenedione was bodybuilding’s little secret as the outside world was oblivious to the fact that people all over the country were popping this testosterone precursor like candy in hopes it would increase their muscle mass. That all changed with the Mark McGwire fiasco and now “andro” has become virtually a household name.
Then came the mother of all anti-andro sound bites for the media, a major study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (King DS, Sharp RL, Vukovich MD, et al. Effect of oral androstenedione on serum testosterone and adaptations to resistance training in young men. JAMA. 1999;281:2020-2028) that painted a very negative picture of androstenedione.
The media then compared “andro” to those evil steroids on the ten o’clock news in their standard “don’t confuse us with the facts” style of journalism. Of course androstenedione’s Achilles heel has been the fact that so little research existed, no one could say either way what it did exactly or if it had any health risks associated with its long term use.
This article on webmd.com claims that much of the touted bodybuilding benefits attributed to Andro were actually misleading.
Research is a slow and expensive endeavor and many mistakes can be made along the way. In 1998 and 99, several studies were conducted on the andro products to see what, if any, claims held up. Though we now appear to have limited research on some of the andro products, in particular androstenedione, we are nowhere near answering the long list of questions we have on this compound and much of the research done to date has minimal if any usefulness in the real world.
According to some fitness and steorids experts, research on Andro wasn’t conducted properly. To quote one such expert “Will Brink”
The mother of all anti andro studies…
As the reader can see, what we have so far is a handful of small studies with a variety of problems, done for a short duration of time, with conclusions that range from positive to negative to neutral regarding the effects of androstenedione. None of them looked at lean body mass (LBM) or fat mass (FM) changes or even changes in strength of the users. Now along comes this big study in JAMA that the media jumped all over as proof that androstenedione is the worst thing for weight lifters since the invention of step aerobics. It was larger than any of the other studies, did check for changes in LBM, FT, strength, and hormonal levels and was published in what is considered a very distinguished journal. In a nut shell, the JAMA study basically concludes that androstenedione does not raise T, does not increase LBM or decrease FM, and increases estrogens and lowers HDL (the “good” Cholesterol) levels. Bummer. So is this the slam dunk the anti-andro camp were hoping for? No. If one looks closely at this study, one will find it was so full of problems and strange conclusions that it is of virtually no use in answering the many questions we have about androstenedione. Now, what follows is a detailed breakdown of the study and its potential problems and is for the more scientific minded. If you don’t want to deal with the techno babble, feel free to jump to the conclusion which pretty much sums it all up in plain English, though you would be missing some interesting info by skipping over it.
So what’s the bottom line on this study? Was it a slam dunk against andro? Not at all. The study used fat guys who never lifted a weight in their life who in fact started out with high estrogen levels and amazingly enough (we are being facetious here if you can’t tell) concluded androstenedione increased estrogen! Now the reader should be very clear that we are not particularly impressed with oral androstenedione per se, but feel strongly that a double standard exists for nutritional supplements. What bothers us most perhaps is much of the evidence presented in the JAMA study does not support the published conclusions, and twists the fact that they were unable to prove absolutely for sure that androstenedione raises testosterone and turned it into a conclusion that it actually does not raise testosterone. Even though their own graphs show an increase!
We all know that androstenedione is nothing great and other compounds such as 4-androstenediol are probably a better bet for raising T and some of the “nor” products may also have their uses. Future research needs to be done to confirm it however. Also, other delivery technologies such as topical, cyclodextrins, and certain time release formulas, might improve the effects of the above andro products.
Though it’s perfectly possible androstenedione won’t turn out to be the wonder supplement some companies make it out to be, as many of us have always suspected. Regardless, much of this seems rather reminiscent of the days when it was published repeatedly in scientific journals that anabolic steroids had no effect in improving athletic performance, and we all know that turned out to be true!
About 6-oxo review: Controversial Aromatase Inhibitor and Testosterone booster
6-OXO, better known as androstenedione (4-Androstene-3,6,17-trione), is a popular testosterone booster and estrogen blocker. It’s most commonly used among bodybuilders as a post-cycle treatment after exogenous steroid use in order to “jump-start” the body’s natural production of testosterone.
It surely is hailed as a “natural testosterone booster”, and used as an ingredient in many popular multi-ingredient testosterone supplements on the market.
However, the term “natural” is not exactly the best definition for 6-OXO, since it’s a prohormone, can be detected at urine, and the World Anti-Doping Agency banned its use in professional sports at the beginning of 2012.
6-OXO as a Testosterone Booster
6-OXO (androstenedione) was first formulated into a supplement in a company called ErgoPharm by Patrick Arnold who is one of the World’s most well-known steroid chemists.
Androstenetrione, like mentioned above, is heavily-used in post-cycle therapy (PCT) by bodybuilders after steroid cycles.
This is because 6-OXO is claimed to work by inactivating the aromatase enzyme by permanently binding into it.
Which leads to the following benefits:
Less testosterone is converted into estrogen, because the aromatase enzyme is inhibited.
Lowered estrogen increases the pulsatile release of luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates T synthesis.
The decreasing estrogen also suppresses SHBG, and therefore increases free testosterone levels.
Because 6-OXO basically deactivates most of the aromatase enzyme, one could expect it to be an extremely powerful “natural” supplement, and effective it seems to be for sure:
The Science Behind 6-OXO:
a) Starting from 1981, several in-vitro studies have found that 4-Androstene-3,6,17-trione, a.k.a, androstenedione, or 6-OXO permanently binds into aromatase enzyme, rendering it inactive in various tissue samples (study, study, study, study, study).
b) In a study from Baylor University, 300-600 mg’s of androstenetrione given to subject males for 8 weeks, was able to increase free testosterone levels by more than 90%. Significant increases were also seen in the ratio of free testosterone to estrogen and in DHT levels. As weird as it sounds, estrogen levels didn’t decrease in this study, suggesting that 6-OXO does not permanently bind into aromatase enzyme after all, and/or if it does, the body probably just produces more to replace that.
So as you can see, 6-OXO is a very effective suicide inhibitor of the aromatase enzyme in studies conducted outside the living organism.
However, this inhibition of the enzyme does not seem to occur inside the body on human subjects, at least if you look at serum estrogen levels which did not decrease after 6-OXO supplementation. What did occur though, was a significant (90%) increase in free-testosterone and significantly elevated dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels, the mechanism just isn’t as clear as claimed by the 6-OXO marketers.
Furthermore, the companies that produce prohormones often know themselves that the FDA will soon ban them, or if not that, they’re at least put into the WADA doping list. After that happens, they formulate the compounds again so that they’re basically the same thing, but with a slightly different name and structure, so that the compounds become legal and “natural” again, until the FDA catches up.
So does 6-OXO work?
Seemingly yes, at least it boosts free testosterone and DHT.
Is it really natural? Well, that depends on what you make of the word. Yes, it’s natural in a way that you can buy it without a prescription in many countries, but no, it’s not naturally occurring in nature like herbs and such.
And it’s also in the WADA doping list, so we can drop the word “natural” when describing 6-OXO.