Because the ultimate goal of a steroid cycle is to increase strength and muscle size, the associated spike in estrogen which accompanies steroids such as Testosterone is considered undesirable. In order to disassociate the two effects, two classes of drug are used. Medications such as Nolvadex or Clomid target the estrogen receptors. They make it more difficult for the estrogen to exert it’s influence within the body thus allowing the testosterone to act more freely. The second class is aromatase inhibitors such as Femara. They target the aromatase enzyme itself in order to prevent the production of estrogen in the first place. Sometimes, it’s not always clear which option you should go with or even what the differences are between the two. Lets clear that up a little.
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs)
Clomid and Nolvadex belong to a class of drug known as selective estrogen receptor modulators or SERMs. This means that they work by selectively targeting the estrogen receptors in certain tissues. These are usually used in the context of breast cancer treatments as many forms of breast cancer rely on estrogens to support growth. Off-label, they are popular amongst the body building commnity as general purpose anti-estrogens. They do not actually lower the overall estrogen levels in the blood but are effective in combating undesirable estrogenic effects commonly associated with steroid use. It does not inhibit some of the positive effects such as the beneficial effects estrogens have such as on good and bad cholesterol levels.
The most commonly recommended SERM is Nolvadex. It’s active ingredient is a substance known as tamoxifen. Tamoxifen specifically targets breast tissue as an antagonist. This means it is significantly less likely to have unwanted effects in other areas of the body. Being as how gynecomastia is the primary estrogenic effect of concern when using steroids, this is an ideally targeted method of treatment. Tamoxifen is also an estrogen receptor agonist in relation to bones and the uterus. In this sense, it avoids bone loss or osteoporosis, a common effect of low estrogen levels within the body.
Aromatase inhibitors such as Letrozole (Femara for sale) target the enzyme responsible for production of estrogens. There are two different types of aromatase inhibitors that achieve much the same immediate result by targeting the aromatase enzyme in different ways. Non-steroidal inhibitors compete with estrogen for the aromatase enzyme and essentially distract it whereas irreversible steroidal inhibitors bond permanently to the enzyme to deactivate it. Over use of aromatase inhibitors can lead to lower levels of estrogen than is considered healthy. A significant, prolonged drop in estrogen levels can negatively impact overall health leading to osteoporosis, hypogonadism, lowered libido and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease as well as delaying or preventing the effectiveness of Post Cycle therapy.
Aromatase inhibitors prevent estrogen from being produced in the first place. As a result they are possibly the most effective in lowering estrogenic effects and they are almost always cheaper. Having said that, estrogen does have a variety of very positive effects on the human body including influence over good and bad cholesterol, bone density, and joint function. Aromatase inhibitors can effectively mitigate estrogenic side effects and add a sharper, more defined look to your physique but should not be used constantly. Over a short period of time, the lead up to a contest for example, aromatase inhibitors can lend an edge, but in the long term they can seriously impact normal bodily functions.
Therefore, over the short term, it is advantageous to employ aromatase inhibitors thanks to their cost savings and wide range of effectiveness. In the long term however, SERMs such as Tamoxifen are preferable as they prevent gynecomastia while at the same time allowing beneficial effects of estrogen in other areas of the body. As with anything, it is important to fully understand the ramifications of whatever you put into your body. Seriously consider which anti-estrogen solution is best for you before just going for the cheapest option. Anti Estrogen medications are not a cure all and they are certainly not an excuse to engage in steroid abuse. They can help mitigate the increase in estrogen from steroid cycles, but they won’t fix everything. Be responsible and prevent estrogen related side effects before they appear, not after.