Posts Tagged ‘Supplements’

Overview On Creatine: Safe Or Effective?


Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid (protein building block) that’s found in meat and fish, and also made by the human body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It is converted into creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine and stored in the muscles, where it is used for energy. During high-intensity, short-duration exercise, such as lifting weights or sprinting, phosphocreatine is converted into ATP, a major source of energy within the human body.

Creatine supplements are popular among body builders and competitive athletes. It is estimated that Americans spend roughly $14 million per year on creatine supplements. The attraction of creatine is that it may increase lean muscle mass and enhance athletic performance, particularly during high-intensity, short-duration sports (like high jumping and weight lifting).

However, not all human studies have shown that creatine improves athletic performance. Nor does every person seem to respond the same way to creatine supplements. For example, people who tend to have naturally high stores of creatine in their muscles don’t get an energy-boosting effect from extra creatine. Preliminary clinical studies also suggest that creatine’s ability to increase muscle mass and strength may help combat muscle weakness associated with illnesses such as heart failure and muscular dystrophy.

Athletic performance

Although not all clinical studies agree, some conducted in both animals and people have shown that creatine supplements improve strength and lean muscle mass during high-intensity, short-duration exercises (such as weight lifting). In these studies, the positive results were seen mainly in young people (roughly 20 years of age). Most human studies have taken place in laboratories, not in people actually playing sports. Creatine does not seem to improve performance in exercises that requires endurance (like running) or in exercise that isn’t repeated, although study results are mixed.

Although creatine is not banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or the International Olympic Committee, using it for athletic performance is controversial. The NCAA prohibits member schools from giving creatine and other muscle building supplements to their athletes, although it doesn’t ban athletes from using it. The French Agency of Medical Security for Food (AFSSA) asserts that the use of creatine supplements is “against the spirit of sportsmanship and fair competition.”

Creatine appears to be generally safe, although when it is taken at high doses there is the potential for serious side effects such as kidney damage and the risk of inhibiting the body’s natural formation of creatine.

Also of concern is the marketing of creatine-containing supplements directly to teens, with claims about changing one’s body with little effort. One survey conducted with college students found that teen athletes frequently exceed the recommended loading and maintenance doses of creatine. Meanwhile, neither safety nor effectiveness in those under 19 has ever been tested.

Heart disease

A preliminary clinical study suggests that creatine supplements may help lower levels of triglycerides (fats in the blood) in men and women with abnormally high concentrations of triglycerides.

In a few clinical studies of people with congestive heart failure, those who took creatine (in addition to standard medical care) saw improvement in the amount of exercise they could do before becoming fatigued, compared to those who took placebo. Getting tired easily is one of the major symptoms of congestive heart failure. One clinical study of 20 people with congestive heart failure found that short-term creatine supplementation in addition to standard medication lead to an increase in body weight and an improvement of muscle strength.

Creatine has also been reported to help lower levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a marker of potential heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

In one double-blind study, people with COPD who took creatine increased muscle mass, muscle strength and endurance, and improved their health status compared with those who took placebo. They did not increase their exercise capacity. More studies are needed to see whether creatine has any benefit for people with COPD.

Muscular dystrophy

People who have muscular dystrophy may have less creatine in their muscle cells, which may contribute to muscle weakness. One study found that taking creatine resulted in a small improvement in muscle strength. However, other studies have found no effect.

Parkinson’s disease

People with Parkinson’s disease have decreased muscular fitness including decreased muscle mass, muscle strength, and increased fatigue. A small clinical study found that giving creatine to people with Parkinson’s disease improved their exercise ability and endurance. In another clinical study, creatinine supplementation improved patients’ moods and led to a smaller dose increase of drug therapy. More research is needed in this area.

Dietary Sources:
About half of the creatine in our bodies is made from other amino acids in the liver, kidney and pancreas, while the other half comes from foods we eat. Wild game is considered to be the richest source of creatine, but lean red meat and fish (particularly herring, salmon, and tuna) are also good sources.

Available Forms:
Supplements are commonly sold as powders, although liquids, tablets, capsules, energy bars, fruit-flavored chews, drink mixes, and other preparations are also available.

How to Take It:

Safety and effectiveness have not been tested in those under 19. Creatine supplements are not recommended for children or teens.


Loading dose in exercise performance (for adults ages 19 and older): Take 5g of creatine monohydrate, 4 times daily (20s total daily) for one week.

Maintenance dose in exercise performance (for adults ages 19 and older): Take 2 – 5g daily.

For cholesterol reduction (for adults ages 19 and older): Take 20 – 25g daily, for 5 days, followed by 5 – 10g daily thereafter.

Your body may absorb creatine better when you take it with carbohydrate foods (such as fruits, fruit juices, and starches). The doses mentioned have been tested frequently in athletes. However, it is not known whether these dosages have the same effects in non-athletes.

Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.

Side effects of creatine include weight gain, muscle cramps, muscle strains and pulls, stomach upset, diarrhea, dizziness, high blood pressure, liver dysfunction, and kidney damage. Most studies have found no significant side effects at the doses used for up to six months.

Rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue) and acute kidney failure was reported in one case involving an athlete taking more than 10 grams daily of creatine for 6 weeks. People with kidney disease, high blood pressure, or liver disease should avoid creatine.

Taking creatine supplements may prevent the body from making its own natural stores, although the long-term effects are not known. The Food & Drug Administration recommends talking to your doctor before starting to take creatine.

There have been reports of contaminated creatine supplements. Be sure to buy products made by established companies with good reputations.

Possible Interactions:
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use creatine without first talking to your health care provider.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — Creatine may increase the risk of damage if taken with these pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).

Caffeine — Caffeine may inhibit the body’s ability to use creatine. Taking creatine and caffeine may increase risk of dehydration. Using creatine, caffeine, and ephedra (a substance that has been banned in the U.S. but that was used in sports supplements) may increase the risk of stroke.

Diuretics (water pills) — Taking creatine with diuretics may increase the risk of dehydration and kidney damage.

Cimetidine (Tagamet) — Taking creatine while taking Tagamet may increase the risk of kidney damage.

Probenicid — Taking creatine while taking probenecid (a drug used to treat gout) may increase the risk of kidney damage.

Hydroxycut Hardcore:Burn Fat Fast

Scientists of Muscletech’s company have really set the standards this time! Hardcore has been one of the market’s hottest products and the difference is that it truly works. Reports of shedding five to ten lbs off in the first three weeks of use. Also, the gains are not just fat loss, they are lean, hard, muscle gains as well without retaining any of the unwanted water retention.

Be sure to drink plenty of water while your taking this supplement as you should with any product that contains high amounts of caffeine. The thermogenic properties in the capsules will surprise you how powerful they are, but without water they simple won’t work. You need h2o for the body to shuttle nutrients and to assure proper hydration. When caffeine is a factor in your diet, its a natural diuretic which every caffeine capsule you need to make up that with 2 more cups of water.

Overall the products ratings are higher then any other supplement on the market today and continues to rise. The price is definitely affordable, a cycle of a month’s worth can be purchased for under fifty dollars. This product is great for women trying to get in shape for summer, bodybuilders preparing for a contest, or just about anyone that just wants to look good without extra pounds of flab. Muscle-tech is tried through scientific methods and also is supported by some of the best bodybuilders alive including Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, Dexter Jackson, Branch Warren, and many others. You will not be disappointed.

*When following a strict diet and maintaining a cardio and training regimen, results will be maximized.

Milk Thistle;Protect Your Liver

Milk Thistle comes from a plant grown wild throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. For thousands of years, Milk Thistle has been used as a remedy for alleviating liver problems. The plant contains silymarin, the active ingredient in the fruit of the plant which is extracted for use.

This liver-protecting substance can stimulate new growth of liver cells and replace damaged cells, while preventing further damage of the liver to occur.

Everything the body consumes through the mouth is filtered through the liver. In order for the body to maintain normal liver function, Milk Thistle can reduce the side effects of some drugs that may cause potential liver damage. For instance, individuals taking numerous amounts of medications would want to take Milk Thistle to help protect the liver.

Pregnant women can safely take Milk Thistle and it is also commonly used to increase breast-milk production. This drug can also be used to help relieve stomach discomfort, loss of appetite, and help common skin conditions related to poor liver function by detoxing or cleansing the system.

Milk Thistle should be taken in dosages of 175 – 350mg one or two times daily after meals.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12

Also indexed as: Adenosylcobalamin, Cobalamin, Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxocobalamin, Hydroxycyanocobalamin, Methylcobalamin

* What it does
* Where found
* Helpful for
* Are you deficient?
* Amount to take
* Safety check
* References

What does it do?

Vitamin B12 is needed for normal nerve cell activity, DNA replication, and production of the mood-affecting substance SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine). Vitamin B12 acts with folic acid and vitamin B6 to control homocysteine levels. An excess of homocysteine is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and potentially other diseases such as osteoporosis and Alzheimer?s disease.

Vitamin B12 deficiency causes fatigue. Years ago, a small, double-blind trial reported that even some people who are not deficient in this vitamin had increased energy after vitamin B12 injections, compared with the effect of placebo injections.1 In recent years, however, the relationship between B12 injections and the energy level of people who are not vitamin B12-deficient has been rarely studied. In a preliminary trial, 2,500?5,000 mcg of vitamin B12, given by injection every two to three days, led to improvement in 50?80% of a group of people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), with most improvement appearing after several weeks of vitamin B12 shots.2 The ability of vitamin B12 injections to help people with CFS remains unproven, however. People with CFS interested in considering a trial of vitamin B12 injections should consult a doctor. Oral or sublingual (administered under the tongue) B12 supplements are unlikely to obtain the same results as injectable B12, since the body?s ability to absorb large amounts is relatively poor.

Where is it found?

Vitamin B12 is found in all foods of animal origin, including dairy, eggs, meat, poultry, and fish. Small, inconsistent amounts occur in seaweed (including nori and chlorella) and tempeh.3 However, many researchers and healthcare professionals believe that people cannot rely on vegetarian sources to provide predictably sufficient quantities of vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):
Rating Health Concerns
3 Stars Depression (in people with vitamin B12 deficiency)
High homocysteine (combination with folic acid and vitamin B6)
Pernicious anemia
2 Stars Age-related cognitive decline (in people with vitamin B12 deficiency)
Bell?s palsy
Canker sores (for deficiency only)
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Cystic fibrosis (in people with vitamin B12 deficiency)
Infertility (male)
Low back pain (in combination with vitamin B1 and vitamin B6)
Sickle cell anemia (for sickle cell patients with B12 deficiency)
1Star Alzheimer?s disease
Bipolar disorder
Crohn?s disease
Dermatitis herpetiformis (in people with vitamin B12 deficiency)
Heart attack
HIV support
Immune function
Lung cancer (reduces risk)
Osteoporosis (to lower homocysteine)
Phenylketonuria (in people with vitamin B12 deficiency)
Pre- and post-surgery health
Retinopathy (associated with childhood diabetes)
Seborrheic dermatitis (injection)
Shingles (herpes zoster)/postherpetic neuralgia (injection)
Tinnitus (injection)

Who is likely to be deficient?

Vegans ( vegetarians who also avoid dairy and eggs) frequently become deficient, though the process often takes many years. People with malabsorption conditions often suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency, including those with tapeworm infestation and those with bacterial overgrowth in the intestines. Malabsorption of vitamin B12 can also result from pancreatic disease, the effects of gastrointestinal surgery or various prescription drugs.4

Pernicious anemia is a special form of vitamin B12 malabsorption due to impaired ability of certain cells in the stomach to make intrinsic factor?a substance needed for normal absorption of vitamin B12. By definition, all people with pernicious anemia are vitamin B12-deficient. They require either vitamin B12 injections or oral supplementation with very high levels (1000 mcg per day) of vitamin B12.

Older people with urinary incontinence5 and hearing loss6 have been reported to be at increased risk of B12 deficiency.

Infection with Helicobacter pylori, a common cause of gastritis and ulcers, has been shown to cause or contribute to adult vitamin B12 deficiency. H. pylori has this effect by damaging cells in the stomach that make intrinsic factor?a substance needed for normal absorption of vitamin B12. In one trial, H. pylori was detected in 56% of people with anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency. Successful eradication of H. pylori led to improved blood levels of B12 in 40% of those infected.7 Other studies have also suggested a link between H. pylori infection and vitamin B12 deficiency.8 9 Elimination of H. pylori infection does not always improve vitamin B12 status. People with H. pylori infections should have vitamin B12 status monitored.

In a preliminary report, 47% of people with tinnitus and related disorders were found to have vitamin B12 deficiencies and may benefit from supplementation.10

HIV-infected patients often have low blood levels of vitamin B12.11

A disproportionate amount of people with psychiatric disorders are deficient in B12.12 Significant vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with a doubled risk of severe depression, according to a study of physically disabled older women.13

A preliminary study found that postmenopausal women who were in the lowest one-fifth of vitamin B12 consumption had an increased risk of developing breast cancer.14

Although blood levels of vitamin B12 may be higher in alcoholics, actual body stores of vitamin B12 in the tissues (e.g., the liver) of alcoholics is frequently deficient.15 16

Low blood levels of vitamin B12 are sometimes seen in pregnant women, however, this does not always indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency.17 The help of a healthcare professional is needed to determine when a true vitamin B12 deficiency exists in pregnant women with low blood levels of the vitamin.

How much is usually taken?

Most people do not require vitamin B12 supplements. However, vegans should supplement with at least 2?3 mcg per day.

People with pernicious anemia are often treated with injections of vitamin B12. However, oral administration of 1,000 mcg per day can be used reliably as an alternative to vitamin B12 injections.18 19 20 21 22

Absorption of vitamin B12 is reduced with increasing age. Some research suggests that elderly people may benefit from 10?25 mcg per day of vitamin B12.23 24 25

When vitamin B12 is used for therapeutic purposes other than correcting a deficiency, injections are usually necessary to achieve results.

Sublingual forms of vitamin B12 are available,26 but there is no proof (nor is there any reason to expect) that they offer any advantage to oral supplements (i.e. a sublingual preparation is eventually swallowed).

Are there any side effects or interactions? Oral vitamin B12 supplements are not generally associated with any side effects.

Although quite rare, serious allergic reactions to injections of vitamin B12 (sometimes even life-threatening) have been reported.27 28 Whether these reactions are to the vitamin itself, or to preservatives or other substances in the injectable vitamin B12 solution, remains somewhat unclear. Most, but not all, injectable vitamin B12 contains preservatives.

If a person is deficient in vitamin B12 and takes 1,000 mcg or more of folic acid per day, the folic acid supplementation can improve the anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency. The effect of folic acid on vitamin B12 deficiency-induced anemia is not a folic acid toxicity. Rather, the folic acid supplementation is acting to correct one of the problems caused by B12 deficiency. The other problems caused by a lack of vitamin B12 (mostly neurological) do not improve with folic acid supplements, and can become irreversible if vitamin B12 is not provided to someone who is vitamin B12 deficient.

Some doctors are unaware that vitamin B12 deficiencies often occur without anemia?even in people who do not take folic acid supplements. This lack of knowledge can delay diagnosis and treatment of people with vitamin B12 deficiencies. This can lead to permanent injury. When such a delayed diagnosis occurs in someone who inadvertently erased the anemia of vitamin B12 deficiency by taking folic acid supplements, the folic acid supplementation is often blamed for the missed diagnosis. This problem is rare and should not occur in people whose doctors understand that a lack of anemia does not rule out a vitamin B12 deficiency. Anyone supplementing 1,000 mcg or more per day of folic acid should be initially evaluated by a doctor before the folic acid can obscure a proper diagnosis of a possible B12 deficiency.

Importance of macronutrients/vitamins and nutrients for bodybuilders

A common mistake in bodybuilders? nutrition is neglecting those elements that do not provide calories. However, these elements, known as micronutrients, are indispensable for many physiological functions. This post reviews the importance of basic micronutrients (water, vitamins, and minerals) for achieving success in bodybuilding.

Water is one of the most important nutrients, as it has many health and performance benefits. It keeps your organs functioning properly, clears toxins from the body and regulates the body cooling system. In addition, it is essential for proper digestion, nutrient absorption and chemical reactions, and it contributes to muscle growth by favoring the transport of nutrients to the cells. It even increases the body’s ability to metabolize stored fat. On the other side, water is also very important for the athletic performance, since improper hydration can result in muscle cramping, decreased strength and reduced endurance.

In general, people wait to be thirsty in order to drink. This is not a good idea, because when you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. You should drink on average 3 or 4 liters of water per day, distributed at regular intervals regardless if you are thirsty or not. Use water itself as you main water source. Soft drinks, alcohol or coffee should be better avoided as a water source because they are diuretic (they take away more water than they provide to the body). In addition, soft drinks and alcohol supply a great number of calories which can turn into body fat.

Vitamins are organic substances essential to the normal functioning of the body, as they help to catalyze biochemical reactions controlling metabolism, growth and maintenance. A deficiency in a single vitamin can have great effects in the athletic performance and even in the health. Vitamins must be obtained from food (fish, fruit and veggies are great vitamin sources) since, with few exceptions, the body cannot synthesize them. Vitamins can be divided into two categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) are stored in the body fatty tissue and for this reason they do not have to be replenished daily. Don?t overdose since this can lead to toxicity. The water-soluble vitamins (vitamin C and all the B complex vitamins, namely B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalamin), folic acid, and biotin (a.k.a. vitamin H)) are not stored in the body and excessive amounts are excreted in the urine. This means that toxicity is generally not a problem, but these vitamins must be continually replenished through the diet.

Minerals have also a great importance. They act as catalysts for many biological reactions within the body, including muscle response, the transmission of messages through the nervous system, the production of hormones, and the assimilation of nutrients in foods. In addition, all tissues and internal fluids of our body (e.g. bones, teeth, muscle, blood, and nerve cells) contain varying quantities of minerals. Since the body cannot manufacture any single mineral, your entire mineral intake must provide from food. The most important minerals for a bodybuilder include magnesium, calcium, zinc, chromium, sodium, phosphorous, iron, selenium, cooper, and potassium. Be aware of overdosing on any mineral, since this can cause a functional imbalance of another mineral or even toxicity.

The Importance Of Water

Find out exactly what you need!

Water is a fundamental part of our lives. It is easy to forget how completely we depend on it. Human survival is dependent on water – water has been ranked by experts as second only to oxygen as essential for life. The water you drink literally becomes you! Since such a large percentage of our bodies is water, water must obviously figure heavily in how our bodies function. We need lots of fresh water to stay healthy. Aside from aiding in digestion and absorption of food, water regulates body temperature, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, and removes toxins and other wastes. This “body water” also cushions joints and protects tissues and organs, including the spinal cord, from shock and damage. Conversely, lack of water (Dehydration) can be the cause of many ailments.

Water and Weight loss

Among it’s other benefits, water plays a major part in weight loss. Since water contains no calories, it can serve as an appetite suppressant, and helps the body metabolize stored fat, it may possibly be one of the most significant factors in losing weight.

Drinking more water helps to reduce water retention by stimulating your kidneys. Studies have recommended that if you are overweight according to average height and weight comparison charts, you should add one glass of water to your daily requirement (of eight glasses) for every 25 pounds over your recommended weight.

Dehydration leads to excess body fat, poor muscle tone & size, decreased digestive efficiency & organ function, increased toxicity, joint & muscle soreness, & water retention. Water works to keep muscles and skin toned.

Digestive Systems

The digestion of solid foods depends on the presence of copious amounts of water. Constipation is a frequent symptom of dehydration. Increased water, along with increased fiber, will usually totally eliminate a problem. Pain from ulcers and heartburn all decrease with increased water intake. Water eliminates toxins and water from the body.

Water Loss

Adults lose nearly 6 pints (12 cups) of water every day. We lose 1/2 cup to 1 cup a day from the soles of our feet. Another 2 to 4 cups is lost from breathing. Perspiration accounts for another 2 cups. Another 3 pints (6 cups) are lost in urine.

Water Retention

If you’re not drinking sufficient water, your body starts retaining water to compensate for this shortage. To eliminate fluid retention, drink more water, not less. If you don’t drink enough water to maintain your body’s fluid balance, you can impair every aspect of your body’s physiological function.


Water lubricates our joints. The cartilage tissues found at the ends of long bones and between the vertebrae of the spine hold a lot of water, which serves as a lubricant during the movement of the joint. Joint pain frequently decreases with increased water intake and flexing exercises to bring more circulation to the joints.


75% of the upper body weight is supported by the water volume that is stored in the spinal disc core. 25% is supported by the fibrous materials around the disc. Back pain is frequently alleviated with hydration.

How much water should you drink?

A non active person needs a half ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. That is ten 8 ounce glasses a day if your weight is 160 pounds. For every 25 pounds you exceed you ideal weight, increase it by one 8 ounce glass. An active, athletic person needs 2/3 ounce per pound which is 13-14 8 ounce glasses a day if you’re 160 pounds. The more you exercise the more water you need. Spread out your water intake throughout the day. Do not drink more than 4 glasses within any given hour. After a few weeks your bladder calms down and you will urinate less frequently, but in larger amounts.


Technical Definition
Prohormones are compounds which, technically speaking, are converted via an enzymatic process to anabolic hormones in the body. As such they have similar effects in the body to anabolic steroids, causing rapid muscle and strength gains, but of a lesser magnitude due to the rate limiting effect caused by the enzyme conversion. However, this technical definition is considered somewhat out of date due to the advances which have occurred in supplement science since the introduction of the first prohormone androstenedione. Instead, nowadays the term prohormones commonly covers not just precursors to steroid hormones but also covers compounds active in their own right and which require no conversion to a different hormone to engender an anabolic effect. The term which is commonly used to cover the legal products which are not strictly prohormones is over-the-counter (OTC) steroids; however this isn’t strictly a correct term as in pharmacology OTC refers to those products which you have to ask your pharmacist for. Off-the-shelf (OTS) steroids is arguably a better term, though less commonly used, because you can simply pick up these products or buy them over the internet form on-line stores. In this article the terms ‘prohormone’ and ‘OTS steroids’ will be used as appropriate to cover all products which work via a hormonal mechanism to cause anabolic effects.

First Base
Prohormones were introduced into the supplement market in 1996 by Patrick Arnold who brought the prohormone androstenedione to the market. Androstenedione certainly generated a lot of excitement in the athletic world and is heavily linked in the popular press with baseball players such as Mark McGwire whose use of the supplement first brought notoriety both to that sport and garnered the attention of lawmakers in the USA. Androstenedione was rapidly followed by a number of compounds – androstenediol, norandrostenediol, 1-4-androstadienedione and 5 alpha androstenediol to name a few. These all had different effects profiles, some being converted to testosterone in the body after their ingestion, while others were converted in the body to target hormones such as nandrolone, boldenone, and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Eventually, Arnold introduced the prohormone 1-ad, which converted into a hormone called 1-testosterone. This was the first prohormone considered to be of comparable effectiveness to illegal steroids such as Winstrol or Primobolan. At this time prohormones had advanced considerably since the introduction of androstenedione (widely considered within bodybuilding to be pretty worthless). Following the introduction of 1-ad, the prohormone market changed dramatically. Realising that the process of enzymatic conversion meant that prohormones were necessarily weaker than taking an equal amount of the target hormone they converted into, some supplement companies began to avoid the use of hormone precursors, and began introducing onto the market products such as 1-testosterone (the hormone which 1-ad would convert to) and, eventually, methyl-1-testosterone (M1T), which was a 17-alpha alkylated or methylated hormone. In layman’s terms this meant that it was highly resistant to breakdown in the liver, and was the most powerful product on the market, causing rapid strength and muscle gains even for long-time steroid users, as well as causing a host of deleterious side effects such as high blood pressure, and elevation of liver enzymes.

The End of the Beginning
Many in the supplement industry argued that the proliferation of powerful products such as M1T would eventually cause negative publicity to attach itself to the supplement industry. They were proven right and eventually the US congress passed into law the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 which effectively classed all the products then on the market as illegal drugs on a par with anabolic steroids. By early 2005 they had been removed from the market.

Prohormone Characteristics
A breakdown of the actions of individual prohormones and OTS steroids follows so this section will only encompass actions attributable to all classes of prohormone/OTS steroid products. This in itself could be an article in its own right so here is the condensed version.

Prohormones and OTS steroids exert their effects through multiple pathways but the ones that are most important to people are their actions via their effects on the body’s androgenic, oestrogenic and progestogenic receptors. It is through these that their effects are largely mediated and their interaction with other pathways is of secondary importance. Most prohormones, like anabolic steroids, are androgen agonists meaning they work via their effect on the androgen receptor. A strong androgen receptor agonist will mean effects related to the male hormone testosterone will be particularly prominent – notably increased aggression, sex drive, increased risk of hair loss and acne. Linked to these is large increases in muscle strength, strong muscle gains of a dry nature, and a hardening effect on the muscles. Oestrogenic and progestogenic effects tend to be similar – prohormones that convert to oestrogen and progesterone can cause large increases in mass and strength but much of the mass is of a poor quality visually and such gains often disappear rapidly as they are associated with water retention more than anything else. Oestrogenic side effects are feared by bodybuilders and include increased water weight, increased susceptibility to fat gain in the presence of high oestrogen and worst of all, from a cosmetic standpoint, gynecomastia.

It should be stated that while there are some products which are almost exclusively androgenic in nature with little to no risk of oestrogenic/progestogenic side effects, the reverse is not true, in that compounds with high affinity for oestrogen and progesterone receptors will still have an impact on the androgen receptor. You will often hear of prohormones and OTS steroids being called androgenic or oestrogenic or even both, but it should be stated this is often based on their primary method of action and that all will have an androgenic effect at some level. Apart from this, prohormones will differ in their impact on other variables. Typically strong androgens are useful for promoting strength gains via the central nervous system (CNS) stimulation, independent of their anabolic or muscle building effects. All OTS steroids will promote enhanced red blood cell production which is why users of prohormones and OTS steroids typically experience great pumps and vascularity. Generally speaking, liver toxicity is a concern only for methylated, oral compounds, which is most OTS steroids nowadays but even then, as the list below shows, they can differ by a wide degree in magnitude of effect.

Prohormones and OTS Steroids Today
Since the removal of the first generation of prohormones, supplement companies have worked hard to create products which could provide an anabolic effect while complying with the requirements of the 2004 law. One of the most important considerations was to ensure that not only did they manufacture a product that was effective and legal, but also safe, as the slew of methylated prohormones released in the wake of M1T were certainly of doubtful safety given their noted negative effects on a range of body tissues.

Today we have a number of products on the market which have been around for some time and in favour with bodybuilders and athletes alike. To make things easy we will refer to the compounds by their brand names:

Halodrol- 50 (4-chloro-17a-methyl-1,4-diene-3,17 diol)
Halodrol-50 was introduced to the bodybuilding world by Gaspari Nutrition and is a prosteroid of Turinabol, the banned East German designer steroid. Although Halodrol is no longer available, there are generic equivalents today such as Competitive Edge Labs H-Drol or EST Hemadrol. The typical dose for products such as H-Drol is 50mg a day, which equates to one tablet daily.
Effects: solid gains in muscle and strength, often taken while dieting to aid preservation of muscle mass.
Side effects: considered stressful on the liver and can raise blood pressure significantly in users.

Havoc/Epistane (2a-3a-epithio-17a-methyl-5a-androstan-17b-ol)
RPN’s product Havoc and IBE’s Epistane were introduced at practically the same time and considered interchangeable by many. However, it should be noted that even when two products are identical, users can experience different effects depending on the quality of the isomer, manufacturing process and so on. With Havoc and Epistane they are chemically very slightly different 2a,3a-epithio-17a-methyl-5a-androstan-17b-ol 2 (Havoc), and 2, 3a-epithio-17a-methyletioallo cholan-17b-ol (Epistane). Dosages are usually in the 20-50mg range.
Effects: useful for promoting solid, lean muscle gains with a concomitant reduction in oestrogen leading to a drier physique, and significant strength gains. This will contribute to the vascularity users typically report. Havoc and Epistane are also sometimes used purely to combat gynecomastia as they act in the body as an anti oestrogen, so that endogenous testosterone levels are less suppressed by this compound than other prohormones.
Side effects: less hepatoxic and damaging to lipid levels than other orals but the usual androgenic and oestrogenic side effects associated with prohormones remain a possibility.

Pheraplex (17a-methyl-etioallocholan-2-ene-17b-ol)
Pheraplex is a brand name of Anabolic Xtreme (AX). This product is also sold by Competitive Edge Labs as P-Plex as well as Phera-Vol by EST. Typically dosed at 20-30mg a day.
Effects: gains with this product tend to be of a ‘wet’ nature, in other words, you will see some weight gain due to water retention.
Side effects: it is a risk for anyone with gynecomastia due to the fact it aromatizes to oestrogen and is considered to be both hepatoxic and bad on lipid levels.

Methoxy-TST (17b-methoxytrienosterone)
This product was brought to the market by Bioscience Technologies and is usually dosed at 6-12mg to see results.
Effects: not a strong bulking product unless doses are pushed high despite its androgenic profile. In this respect it is not dissimilar to AAS such as Masteron and Proviron which are not efficient for bulking.
Side effects: androgenic side effects such as hair loss are reported quite frequently and many users report a damaging effect on libido.

Ergomax LMG (17-methyl-delta-2-etioallocholane & 17-methyl-delta-3-etioallocholane)
Introduced by ALRI, this is another ‘wet’ prohormone dosed at 20-40mg usually.
Effects: this compound is quite similar to Pheraplex so is useful for someone wanting to gain mass quite quickly of indeterminate quality.
Side effects: can cause gynecomastia, and has a detrimental effect on liver and lipid values, cycles should be kept short.

M-1,4ADD (17a-methyl-1,4-androstadiene-3,17diol)
This compound has recently been reintroduced by Competitive Edge Labs among others and is from the old school of prohormones – a classic wet bulker which converts into Dianabol.
Effects: this is a good choice for rapid mass and strength gains but the gains will tend to cause smoothness due to the water retention it causes.
Side effects: this compound can promote both androgenic and oestrogenic side effects so anyone with a predisposition to hair loss or gynecomastia should probably avoid this.

11-Oxo (andrenosterone, 11-oxo-androstenedione)
11-Oxo was developed by Ergopharm, whose founder Patrick Arnold first brought prohormones to the bodybuilding market. 11-Oxo is noted for its ability to lower cortisol levels. It is dosed at between 300-600mg a day with 450mg typical.
Effects: used mainly as a recomposition agent and to promote fat loss.
Side effects: although it can cause the same side effects as other prohormones, it is considered very mild in this regard so a good choice for people looking to diet with minimal side effects.

Propadrol (12-ethyl-3-methoxy-gona-diene)
This was formulated by EST Nutrition. It is usually dosed at 90mg a day.
Effects: noted to be good for reducing body fat and for promoting rapid strength and muscle gains.
Side effects: relatively mild with this compound, although those who worry about gyno or androgenic side effects should exercise caution.

Methoxy-TRN (17b-Methoxy-Trienbolone)
ALRI introduced this compound and this is dosed at 3-6mg typically.
Effects: Reviews are mixed on this product but those who like it often experience very good muscle and strength gains allied to a reduction in body fat.
Side effects: Being both quite androgenic and estrogenic it should be used with caution and remedies to combat hair loss and gyno are worth considering.

Max LMG (13-ethyl-3methoxygona-2, 5(10)-dien-17-one)
Another ALRI product. This is usually dosed at around 100mg a day.
Effects: rapid gains in bulk of a wet nature due to its progestogenic nature are possible. Great for those needing fast weight gain.
Side effects: one to avoid for anyone worried about a quality looking physique, gyno, or hair loss.

3-AD (2-androstenol acetate)
Anabolic Xtreme introduced this product into the bodybuilding world. Usually dosed at around 4-6 capsules a day, 3-AD also contains other products but the active prohormone is 2-androstenol acetate.
Effects: good overall mass gainer. Gains are a little wet but not too bad for those worried about oestrogen.
Side effects: it is not the worst but oestrogenic and androgenic side effects remain a possibility.

What is best for me?
So here we come to the part where readers ask ‘which is the best prohormone/OTS steroid to take and when?’ It is not possible, nor advisable, to offer specific advice on such a subject. People need to consider their own objectives and risk factors before taking any prohormone. Generally speaking, all we can say is that it is advisable to start with a mild steroid first and keep doses low, typically for 3-4 weeks. For a novice this will still lead to excellent gains. It is critical in our opinion, that an oestrogen blocking product should be held ready at the start of a prohormone cycle. Users unworried about oestrogen can take it for 3-4 weeks after the end of their cycle. Those concerned about oestrogen, should employ it both during and after. In this respect, Havoc and Epistane make good choices as they negate the need for an anti-oestrogen during the cycle, due to the fact they are inherently anti-oestrogenic. Still, even with them, an oestrogen blocker should be applied after all cycles with prohormones.

Dietary and Supplement Advice
Assuming a good clean diet is eaten, normally the only advice we would recommend is to increase protein intake to at least 2g of protein per pound of bodyweight. So for a 200lb individual, 400g of protein a day. Given the fact prohormones and OTS steroids are all oral in nature, we recommend increasing water intake also and employing the use of a liver protectant such as silymarin and N-acetyl cysteine, along with fish oil dosed at 6g a day. Those who are particularly anal may want to consider taking their prohormones with grapefruit juice. In theory, this will help increase their gains via inhibition of enzymes that break down drugs leading to enhanced absorption.

Training Advice
As you are taking a powerful prohormone or OTS steroid which will rapidly boost muscle mass, training volume should be increased but we recommend limiting the increase in weights. Instead, after your cycle has concluded, given the catabolic environment present post cycle, it is an excellent time to reduce volume and increase the weight which will help preserve your muscle and strength gains whilst keeping cortisol (a hormone indicated in the breaking down of muscle) levels low. A good rule of thumb is to double your normal training volume on cycle and then reducing it to a half of your normal training volume in the first few weeks post cycle while your body gets back to a homeostatic state (normal hormonal environment). So, if you do 10 sets a session normally, go to 20 on prohormones, and then reduce to 5 until your post cycle oestrogen blocker has finished its job.

Prohormones and OTS steroids are powerful compounds with the ability to impart significant gains in muscle and strength mass. We hope this article has provided some useful information for you to help understand their benefits, applications and how to structure their use within your overall training and dietary plan.

Supplements: what’s hot ?

Easily our favorite, we picked Apidexin because it is a fat loss pill, not a weight loss pill. Too many pills use extreme amounts of diuretics to make you lose only the water weight that you will put immediately back on. Apidexin has several clinically tested ingredients that have shown to burn fat in studies. This supplement has a powerful combination of patented ingredients and a 100% money-back guarantee. It really is not surprise to see it at the top of our list.

Phenphedrine is simply one of the most powerful supplements that we’ve ever reviewed. It is one of the only diet supplements that targets the hormones in the brain that cause hunger attacks and the desire to stress eating. It suppresses your appetite and increases your metabolism. It also increases insulin to deliver energy to your muscles while simultaneously decreasing body fat. By targeting hunger cravings where they start, Phenphedrine becomes one of the most powerful weight loss supplements on the market, and one of the few that has a unique approach to weight loss.

Liporexall incorporates a series of patented ingredients to perform several varied, yet important tasks. Super CitriMax curbs appetite, burns fat and results in significant weight loss without side effects. ChromeMate helps regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. Pinnothin significantly increases the release of the hunger-suppressing hormones sending signals of satiation to the brain and can help to control appetite. Phase-2 is an unparelleled carb blocker, made from an all-natural, non-stimulant extract of the white bean. It is the first clinically studied carb blocker shown to delay the digestion and absorption of starch calories.

DecaSlim was created by a college student in Hawaii after learning about 10 �super foods� on Oprah. He ended up with a phenomenally successful and powerful weight loss supplement that included antioxidant rich Acai and Green Tea, Flaxseed, Buckwheat, Soybeans and several other all-natural and incredibly potent ingredients. DecaSlim has an amazing track record of sales and a faithful and devoted fan base.

TestoRipped is a fast acting, powerful weight loss supplement for men. It contains several proven, safe and effective fat burners, such as Caffeine Anhydrous, Synephrine, Guggulsterones, Yohimbine and Cinnamon. What we really like about TestoRipped, however, is it lean muscle building ingredients. Creatine Ethyl Ester, Arginine AKG and Tribulus Terrestris work together to boost testosterone and increase workout intensity. TestoRipped is for men only.

SlendeSlim combines 7 patented ingredients like Slimaluma, Infinergy and Bioperine to make a supplement that suppress the appetite and send the metabolism into overdrive. SlendeSlim has a strong reputation and solid sales, but more importantly has amazing results. The company has a trimmed down, no-nonsense Web site and stands behind their product with the kind of resilience that convinces us that it is a company that truly believes in their products.

Lipofuze is packed with powerful products like Evodiamine and Razberi-K that have been proven to burn fat and increase metabolism. It has fat blockers, muscle builders and appetite suppressants. Most experts agree that it has the solid ingredient line up that shows that it is an effective weight loss pill. Users of Lipofuze rave about the results that they receive, some even burning off 10 lbs in 2 weeks. Not only that but Lipofuze backs their product for life. If at any point you aren�t satisfied, they�ll take it back.

Leptorexin focuses their ingredients into six different health profiles: Fat Burning, Euphoric, Superfood, Anti-aging, Cellular Detox, Lean Muscle, and Key Vitamins. It has a huge list of ingredients, and at the very least is guaranteed to make you feel better. By focusing specific ingredients on various deficiencies in the average diet, Leptorexin helps to balance out the metabolism�s normal functions. A little pricey to make it higher on the list, Leptorexin still has a high success rate and a high user-based rating. Also, because Leptorexin uses a �proprietary blend� and doesn�t reveal how much of each ingredient is in each pill, it makes it harder to rate higher.

Alli has a proven chemical fat blocker that essentially pushes lipids and fats straight through before your body has a chance to absorb them. Alli has documented results and is guaranteed to help customers lose at least a pound a month with no change in diet or exercise regiment. Though it is FDA approved, Alli is more expensive and less effective than several of the supplements that we have reviewed for this site. However, if you are looking for guaranteed minimal results, Alli is an acceptable choice.

These are in order from best to least best.

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