Are Prohormones Steroids?

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


Pro-Hormones Explained

Pro-hormones are a type of synthetic supplement used by strength and power athletes to promote anabolic gains during bulking and cutting seasons.

They are said to provide many of the same benefits of anabolic steroids without the disputed legal positioning.

These hormones can help you build muscle mass and strength faster, increase your energy levels, and even improve your overall level of performance.

Prohormones are a classed as pharmacological drugs. They are precursors to anabolic hormones, but do not themselves have any anabolic activity until they are ingested by the user, and it is this which makes ensures they are legal to buy.

They undergo an enzymatic process to convert to anabolic compounds. Designer steroids, on the other hand, are anabolic steroids that have a different chemical formula and can circumvent laws regulating steroid use.

Regardless of how they're categorized, the question remains: Are prohormones steroids? and how they are used? One controversial question is: Should athletes and bodybuilders take them?

This is a complicated question, but one that should be answered honestly. The answer depends on the individual.

Prohormones can lead to muscle gains, but the downside is that they aren't suitable for all athletes.

Moreover, the risk-to-reward ratio is unbalanced, and not all people are ready to use anabolics which can pose health risks, and also end careers for those involved in sport or the military where drug testing is present. 

Another form of pro-hormones is the aromatase inhibitor. This drug blocks the production of estrogen in the body. It is often used as a PCT, or Post-Cycle Therapy that is required after an anabolic steroid cycle.

The reason this is important is that a prohormones can cause the body's enocrinolgical system to 'shut down' as the drugs flood the body with more testosterone and thus the body doesn't [roduce any of it naturally, which can lead to unwanted side effects and reduced gains.

There are methlyated and non-methylated prohormones, the former are more taxing on the liver than non-methlyated products, but they tend to be more effective. 

How Do Pro-Hormones Work?

Pro-hormones are not hormones themselves, but they do play a role in the body. They help the body make natural hormones and increase muscle growth, strength, fat-burning abilities, stamina, and more.

They differ from anabolic steroids, which are illegal and cannot be used for dietary purposes. Instead, they alter hormone levels by increasing the production of certain molecules.

Some athletes use pro-hormones to increase muscle mass, the effects of pro-hormones are similar to those of anabolic steroids, so they may be a viable and legal alternative.

Some pro-hormones may cause serious side effects, including liver damage. As with any drug, abusing them can cause serious health issues, and if you have a preexisting condition, they could be much more detrimental to your health.

They are not recommended for children or pregnant women. In addition, they may be banned by certain organizations.

Some federations, including Strongman, Crossfit, and Bodybuilding, for example, may not allow them and neither does the military. Prohormones also feature on the WADA list of banned substances.

What do Pro-Hormones do to the Body?

Prohormones come in oral format. It's vital for novices to understand the risks and benefits associated with taking these supplements.

It's a good idea to consult a health professional or doctor before taking any drugs. It's important to also understand the reputation of the company and brand that you are buying from.

Do some prelimanary research, check forums and any available reviews.

Pro-hormones can help you gain more muscle and lose fat. However, there are some potential drawbacks to these supplements. They can cause cardiovascular problems, gynecomastia, and prostate issues as often seen in anabolic steroid abuse.  

Although many people use these supplements to gain muscle, the results may not be as desired.

There are many types of pro-hormones, and the results will vary. As prohormones are not regulated, you are at the mercy of the manufacturing process.

Some unscrupulous companies maynot include any of the active ingredients, whereas others may taint their products with anabolic steroids.

What Are the Effects of Pro-Hormones on the Body?

Body builders often use pro-hormones to gain more muscle. They are legal in most regions and can be purchased in stores or online.

However, the level of the effects may vary greatly. Low doses of pro-hormone may not cause the desired amount of muscle gain

Some pro-hormones are known for their ability to convert into testosterone and other androgenic steroids.

Some of the more popular pro-hormones include DHEA, androstenedione, and androstenediol. The most common of these is DHEA, which has the ability to convert to all three hormones.

While these pro-hormones may have positive effects, they are not necessarily safe to use.

Pro-hormones can also cause changes in the body's lipid profile. This can include an increase in sodium and water retention, which may lead to hyperhydration which can lead to hyponatremia.

Prohormone use is not recommended for people with certain health conditions, so you should consult a physician before beginning a pro-hormone cycle.

The effects of pro-hormones depend on whether they act on the estrogen and progesterone receptors in the body.

Some of these hormones can cause estrogenic side effects while others can produce mixed estrogenic/progestogenic effects. 

As a result of enhancing the level of testosterone, pro-hormones can lead to a number of benefits, including increased muscle protein synthesis which improves strength, fat burning abilities, and hypertrophy

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Methylated Pro-Hormones

Methylated pro-hormones are potent anabolic steroids which affect muscle tissues. They also affect liver function and are considered liver toxins.

They should only be used for a short time of four to six weeks. The risk of liver damage is higher when methylated pro-hormones are used for a longer time.

Methylated pro-hormones are available in different forms. Some are exclusively androgenic, such as Havoc.

Others are estrogenic, or both, and are classified according to their main action. However, all pro-hormones work through the androgen receptor.

The problem with methylated pro-hormones is that many of these products contain the older "classic" AAS.

These were used by many consumers in Europe, who were unaware that they were illegal in the USA. As a result, many people thought they were taking supplements from a reputable source.

However, this is not a good situation for consumers because they don't know which hormone is in them and how much.

Without this information, they can't plan safe treatment and have no idea about possible long-term consequences.

Moreover, it's important to note that prohormones have different effects on the body and its health markers.

For instance, testosterone is a strong androgen, promoting gains in strength and stimulation of the central nervous system.

In addition, it stimulates the production of red blood cells, which is why users experience great pumps. Methylated pro-hormones are only dangerous when they affect liver function.

NonMethylated Prohormones

Non-methylated prohormones are not toxic and do not harm the liver as much as methylated versions. They can be easily absorbed into the body and quickly harden muscles.

Non-methylated prohormones are safer than methylated ones, since they do not require the support of the liver. In addition, non-methylated prohormones do not retain water.

Nonmethylated Prohormones also have side effects. It is important to remember that methylated prohormones are harmful to the liver, so it is best to limit your dosage.

During the early 2000s, 19-Norandrostenediol was a popular nonmethylated PH.

It converts to nandrolone, which has an anabolic effect while showing minimal androgenic effects. Nandrolone is often used in combination with testosterone by AAS users.

Are Prohormones Steroids?

A prohormone is a synthetic compound that converts to anabolic hormones when it enters the body.

They are precursors to anabolic steroids, but they are not classed as such and as a result do not always fall under the same laws.

This means that they are widely available to buy, but they are considered a banned substance for athletes or military personnel. 

What Are the Side Effects of Pro-Hormones?

Although many people may think that pro-hormones have negative effects, they can pose risks, but if taken with caution it may limit health complications. However, abuse of pro-hormones may cause serious side effects.

These can include liver and kidney toxication. You may also notice that your urine is darker, in such cases, it is important to ensure that you are optimally hydrated.

However, in some circumstances these side effects may be reversible once you stop taking them.

If you want to take pro-hormone supplements to gain muscle mass and strength, you should follow certain safety procedures, but some studies have shown that there's an imbalance between the benefits and risks associated with prohormone use, and the risks outweight the benefits.

Pro-hormones work by supplementing the body's testosterone levels. This helps to increase muscle mass and strength while increasing red blood cell count.

These supplements can also improve the recovery process after a workout meaning that you can hit the gym again in a shorter period of time.

Many people confuse prohormone supplements and designer steroids, believing that they are the same thing.

However, prohormones are not steroids themselves; they are precursors to anabolic hormones. These substances are converted into anabolic compounds through an enzymatic process.

Designer steroids, on the other hand, are "masked" anabolic steroids that have biological activity. Their main components are changed in order to circumvent legislation.

Are Pro-Hormones Dangerous?

Pro-hormones are a popular supplement among athletes. They help increase testosterone, a male hormone that is responsible for strength, endurance, and aggression.

Pro-hormones can have side effects that may differ from person-to-person and from product-to-product and are probably not safe to use for long periods of time. They are also linked to cardiovascular problems, acne, and prostate issues. 

Side effects may include darker urine, headaches, high blood pressure, ligament and tendon damage from a lack of conditioning, organ damage and endocrinology complications such as an inability to produce your own natural testosterone.

How Long Should I Cycle Pro-Hormones?

When it comes to prohormones, you need to cycle them correctly to reap their benefits.

This means that you should limit your intake of alcohol and other drugs. These things will cause the hormones to aromatize and convert into estrogen.

In other words, they will not work as well as you hoped, and can lead to side effects.

Before starting a cycle, you should have a baseline blood work done to see how your body responds to the pro-hormones. Taking them can increase cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

However, this should only last for a short period of time. You should avoid taking prohormones for long periods of time and only cycle them two to four times a year. This will allow your body to re-establish its normal hormonal balance.

A typical cycle may last between 4 to 6 weeks. If you are new to prohormones it is advisable to start with a lower dose and see how your body reacts and then, if you feel confident, slowly increase your daily dose.

Once you have finsihed your cycle, it is important to use an effective PCT supplement to kick-start your hormone production to maintain your gains.

In addition, you should protect your liver, which is vital for metabolizing exogenous testosterone, using a product such as Liv.52 which is an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant which can help protect the liver from stress and damage.

How Long Do Pro-Hormones Stay in Your System?

Pro-hormones can last up to 60 days in your body. If you use them they'll show up on a drug test. Therefore, you should be aware of the policies in regards to employment or sporting federations. 

Pro-hormones are precursors to anabolic steroids and are often used for a variety of medical purposes. Although they are not a legitimate steroid, they are often confused with them and often have similar effects.

In fact, depending on the product you're using, they may act just like steroids. Generally, they'll suppress your testosterone production for a short period of time which needs to be reinstated when your cycle ends.


Prohormones are not anabolic steroids, and therefore benefit from being available to buy (relatively) freely in most regions. 

However, they can act upon the body with similar effects to anabolic steroids, and with that can come the associated risks, notably toxicity of the liver.

And, as with anabolic steroids use, abuse can lead to longer term and irreversible damage or further health complications.

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