Taking steroids causes intense changes in the hormonal balance of the body. Although the desired effects can be positive for muscle building and fat-loss, there are many negative side effects that can, and will, occur. After a steroid cycle, users should prepare to combat the unwanted effects by planning what is called a Post-Cycle-Therapy.
To understand the need for and properly plan a successful PCT, we must first understand what is going on when the body takes in anabolic steroids. When the body takes in excess testosterone, it produces excess estrogen to reach a balance. When the testosterone intake is suspended, the excess estrogen will cause the user unwanted characteristics, such as breast growth. Anabolics also tend to shut down the body’s natural testosterone production for an extended period of time, so the effects of the extra estrogen in the body go to work without the body’s natural protection of increasing its own testosterone. What this means is that even though rest, a good diet and proper weight training will help the body recover from steroids, a proper post-cycle-therapy will most likely require taking ancillary drugs to bring the body’s levels of hormones back to normal.
The best defense against unwanted estrogen in the body is, ironically, by taking estrogen. The same way that the body creates estrogen when there in an increase of anabolic testosterone, the body will also boost testosterone when there is added estrogen. But how do we avoid unwanted estrogenic effects like breasts and water-retention? By taking a special form of estrogen called Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs). SERMS are designed to add estrogen to the body yet block the receptor sites in the cells that would stimulate the unwanted effects of estrogen.
The two most widely used types of SERMs on the market are Clomiphene Citrate and Temoxifen. These drugs are usually taken during the last few weeks of an anabolic steroid cycle and continued for a few weeks after in order to stimulate testosterone production in the testicles. Taking one or both of these drugs will greatly reduce the estrogenic effects of a steroid cycle.
Besides the estrogenic effect of taking testosterone, there is also another unwanted effect that needs to be addressed in PCT the catabolic effect. Anabolic steroids work by making the muscles retain nitrogen and amino acids the building blocks of muscle tissue. Unfortunately, the body likes the muscle tissue it already has and therefore maintains a balance between an anabolic, or muscle-building, state and a catabolic, or muscle-depleting, state. Anabolic steroids work by blocking the receptors in muscle tissue that take in cortisol the chemical that causes the body’s catabolic state. To combat this, the body produces more of the receptor sites that take in cortisol and when steroid use is discontinued, these extra sites wreck havoc on the gains you’ve maid during your steroid cycle. A good PCT will include cortisol suppressors, such as B-Androstenetriol, 7-Hydroxy-DHEA or similar compounds.
Along with SERMs and cortisol suppressors, there are many other natural substances to aid the body’s recovery from anabolic steroid cycles and their side effects. There are products to help with liver toxicity, erectile dysfunction, hair loss and a host of other issues that may come up during a cycle. However, by keeping a PCT plan simple, it will be easier to pinpoint which products are working and which ones are not, so keeping the list of PCT drugs short will give you a better chance of finding a successful plan that works for you.