Choosing the proper post-cycle therapy (PCT) products can be difficult. For those new to steroids, you may be wondering why and the reason is because different steroids present different challenges and, in addition to this, simply the duration of a cycle can alter what drug to use during PCT.
Before we can truly appreciate the value of PCT drugs, we need to understand why they are necessary. PCT drugs are useful for the steroid using bodybuilding community because steroids either are, or imitate, testosterone. When the male body has excess testosterone, these hormones are converted by enzymes to estrogen. Excess estrogen from steroid abuse can cause a number of unappealing side effects for men from water retention to gynecomastia. To prevent this, many use anti-estrogenic drugs, both on cycles and during PCT.
One type of PCT drug is aromatase inhibitors (AI), also known as suicide inhibitors. These types of drugs work by latching onto the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen semi-permanently. The downside with AI is that they are a little too good; some estrogen in the body is helpful and thus long term use of AIs can have negative health effects. Some popular AIs are Exemestane (buy Aromasin, buy Aromaxyl, buy Exedrol), Anastrozole (buy Arimidex, buy Balkan Anastrozole, buy Arimixyl), and Letrozole (buy Femara, buy Letroxyl, buy Balkan Letrozole).
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators
Another type of PCT drugs are Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator which work by blocking estrogen receptors, as is suggested, in select parts of the body. It was originally used to treat infertility in women (ineffectively), but is now used in a clinical setting in the treatment of female breast cancer and even as a preventative treatment for those at high risk of developing it. Due to the fact that it does not halt the production of estrogen (it meres blocks it from certain areas), SERMs has proven popular in the bodybuilding community as a healthy way to prevent the ill effects of high estrogen while retaining the positive effects. The drawback for SERM’s are that they are hard on the liver and some can foster hormonal imbalance if used for even a short period. Some popular SERMs include: Tamoxifen Citrate (buy Nolvadex, buy Nolvaxyl, buy Tamoximed) and Clomiphene Citrate (buy Clomid, buy Clomed, buy Clomixyl, buy Fertomid, buy Klomen).
Anti-Estrogens in PCT
This may come as a shock to many steroid veterans, but anti-estrogens are actually not very useful for heavy steroid users. They are used to combat excess estrogen levels which are in turn caused by excess testosterone which is aromatized into estrogen. This makes them helpful while on a cycle, but when one stops taking steroids, if anything, their testosterone levels will fall far below normal thus resulting in little excess estrogen. To combat this, anti-estrogen champions typically cite studies where anti-estrogens raised Luteinizing Hormone (LH), a hormone which stimulates testosterone production. However, this is only applicable to men not on steroids. As steroids desensitize the testicles, the LH has no effect for those on heavy steroid cycles.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) on the other hand does have an effect. Although it is simply emulating LH, the fact that we can administer significantly more HCG than our bodies produce LH means we can shock the testes back into action. The drawback here, however, is that HCG can desensitize the body’s own LH production and possibly cause permanent hormonal imbalance. For this reason it is important to keep HCG administration short and reasonable (16 days, ideally).
Another product to consider is cortisol controllers. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, can wreak havoc upon the body and all of its components. It is especially harsh on muscles which it will quickly have converted to energy over fat. When coming off steroids, ones hormones will be out of balance and this can give cortisol a chance to increase, thus expediting the loss of any gains made. For PCT purposes, a four week run of a cortisol controller should be sufficient to prevent this.