I found this thought it would help alot of people with questions about pct
What’s going on in my body?
Before we start to discuss PCT, we first need to understand just what is going on in our body when we use a exogenous hormone (PH/Gear). Obviously the very appealing plus side of taking said exogenous anabolic hormones is to increase skeletal muscle strength and mass, but unfortunately in the same deck there is also the dark side that accompanies such substances. Your body is a wonderful thing, and it is constantly striving for equilibrium. We could go on all day and turn this into PubMed, but in this particular case this concept is known as Le Chatelier’s Principle of Chemical Equilibria.
“Ok, Petey, got it! Wait. What the f*** does that mean?”
In the simplest explanation, your body responds with negative feedback (trying to return to equilibrium) when there is a source of synthetic testosterone detected in the body. Your body, striving for equilibrium will raise estrogen and cortisol production to try and maintain a balance between them. At the same time, it will simultaneously slow down or even completely stop your natural testosterone production.
It’s all a matter of compensation, really. During your cycle, your body compensates for all the synthetic testosterone flowing through your body by lowering (or stopping) the natural production of test while at the same time it increases the production of your body’s other steroid hormones (Cortisol, Estrogen, etc). When you end your cycle, you are no longer ingesting the exogenous hormones and that means we’re left with little to no testosterone production and high levels of estrogen and cortisol: The exact opposite of what we want!
By now, most guys are thinking that estrogen is the b*****d of all hormones, thinking that it will do nothing but give them gyno and a soft look. We all fear what we don’t understand and most are under the impression that we should eliminate estrogen by all possible means. While uncontrolled estrogen can in fact lead to undesirable side effects such as the aforementioned gynomecostia, many don’t understand that extremely low levels can lead to negative side effects such as low sex drive. There’s more that can be said about why you shouldn’t try to eradicate estrogen completely, but that could be a whole other topic. The key is a handy little trick known as a…
SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator)
SERMS are chemical compounds that bind with estrogen receptors and exhibit estrogen action in some tissues and anti-estrogen action in other tissues.
"Wait! Why would I want to have a product that mimics estrogen action? I thought that I wanted to get rid of it?"
It’s important to understand that a SERM acts as a weak estrogen, binding to the receptors in your breast tissue where estrogen would bind. It’s also key to know that it doesn't lower or change the circulating amount of estrogen. So as estrogen builds up in your bloodstream as your testosterone levels rise, it has nowhere to go. The ideal SERM would deliver all the benefits of estrogen without the adverse effects. The purpose of a SERM is to block the negative effects of the estrogen while allowing your natural hormone levels to return to homeostasis.
I’m going to clear this up now: They are prescription drugs and aren’t sold in stores. How do you get them? There are the two most common ways:
1. Through a prescription from your doctor.
2. As a research chemical (You know, for those lab rats)
Remember kids, it’s against board policy to post or request sources for SERMS or any research chemical on the open forum.
Alright, that’s good and all, but what SERMS are there?
There are quite a few SERMS available and each has its own pros and cons. You should always do your research in advance of starting a cycle to understand the appropriate SERM and PCT regimen for the particular compound you are running. Also understand that SERMS do come with their own list of possible side effects, and some even have reported worse sides from the SERM than the cycle they ran.
With that being said, here are some of the most popular SERMS:
This is typically the most popular SERM for a PCT due to its wide range of ability, affordability and that it is fairly easy to get ahold of.
Pros: Cheap, relatively easy to obtain, Effective for gynomecostia prevention.
Cons: Heptatoxicity, Shown to possibly lower IGF levels.
Example Dosage: 40/40/20/20
**Note: Tamoxifen Citrate is less potent and may require slightly higher dosage.
Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid):
This is the second most popular SERM. In some cases it taken the first week to help jumpstart your test recovery with Nolvadex being used as the base of your PCT. Once again, it is extremely important for you to research what PCT is appropriate for your cycle.
Pros: Better than Tamoxifen for HTPA regeneration, Less heptatoxicity than Tamox, Doesn’t lower IGF.
Cons: Less effective against gynomecostia, can cause emotional issues, blurred vision and hot flashes.
Example Dosage: 100/100/50/50
This is one of the most powerful, but less well-known SERMS available today.
Pros: Much less heptatoxicity than Nolvadex and Clomid
Cons: Can be very expensive and hard to find in some cases. While it carries less heptatoxicity than Nolva and Clomid, users are more likely to experience side effects
Example Dosage: 120/90/60/30
This is one of the most effective SERMS against gynomecostia, but isn’t widely used.
Pros: Strong protection against gynomecostia, less heptatoxicity than Tamoxifen.
Cons: Very cost restricting and can be very hard to find. Some severe sides include abnormal blood clotting in the eyes, lunges, and legs as well as hot flashes, trouble breathing, and blurred vision.
Example Dosage: 120/120/60/30
Next up, Cortisol!
It’s extremely important to control cortisol as it can be extremely detrimental to your muscle mass. This is why in your PCT you need to include something to lower or block the high levels of cortisol until it returns to a relatively normal level. There are a ton of products on the market today to choose from, but some of the most common are:
This is one of the better cortisol suppressors available. However, you will be best off taking this transdermally since it has bad oral bioavailability. It is relatively easy to find and is contained in many cortisol control supplements.
Dosage: 25-50mg every 12 hours
Methyl B-Androstenetriol (MB-Triol):
This is basically an enhanced version of B-Triol designed for oral use. The only drawback associated with it is that due to its alkylation, it poses a minor threat of heptatoxicity.
This is another potent cortisol suppressor with great oral bioavailability. Two of the best products available that use this ingredient are: Lean Xtreme (by Designer Supplements) and Reduce XT (by SNS).
This is an often overlooked option for cortisol control. Most will dismiss it immediately due to its horrible bioavailability and a half-life of a mere 2 hours. If you want to give this one a whirl, use it in a transdermal product to bypass these cons.
Yes, that same ingredient that many of us here use for our joint health is great in this aspect. However, rather than suppressing cortisol like the previously mentioned products, it blocks the cortisol receptors. The exact dosage will depend largely on the quality and purity of the extract used. One of the best available is SuperCissus by USPLabs.
Branched Chain Amino Acids:
Scivation is definitely onto something when they advertise Xtend’s ability to help reduce body fat and build lean mass. If these aren’t already a staple for you, they are a great anti-catabolic that mitigates the muscle-wasting effects of cortisol among many other benefits.
"Follow this to a ‘T’ and I’m good to go, right? What about just running a OTC PCT?"
Yeah, I know everyone wants a step by step sheet telling them exactly what to take and when to take it...If only science were that easy. It’s nearly impossible to create a ‘cookie cutter’ regimen, so I’m once again reminding you that you need to conduct your own research well in advance of any cycle.
With that being said, you do in fact have a choice when it comes to OTC or a SERM for a PCT. However, I’m standing fully behind the SERM side of things and am going to state my opinion that an OTC PCT WILL NOT SUFFICE. Yes, you run the risk of the temporary side effects from using a SERM, but then again, without the SERM, you are risking:
- Poor HPTA function including high estrogen/low testosterone levels
- Loss of gains that could have been kept from restarting the body's natural production of testosterone.
“How about an over the counter or even research chemical grade AI, then?”
I’m just going to flatten this right now: An AI as a standalone is a terrible PCT. This is because crushing estrogen doesn't directly jumpstart LH production and if anything it may even worsen your recovery by suppressing test levels during your PCT. You see, once again going back to the concept of your body striving for homeostasis, by crushing estrogen you aren’t allowing the pituitary gland to find a natural balance. By killing the estrogen off, with already zero testosterone, there is no estrogen present in your body to "call to action" the pituitary into balancing a correct ratio of testosterone, therefore further hurting the chances of retaining your gains. Hell, if anything during PCT you want high estrogen as this will help the pituitary call for higher levels of testosterone. In case you missed it earlier or forgot, by having the receptors already occupied by the SERM, this will allow the high estrogen to give you the benefit of calling for test production while at the same time preventing the negative effects of high estrogen since the receptors are already bound. Yes, add in something for estrogen control in your PCT, but do so midway when your test levels have risen.
Now that’s out of the way, I'm going to state that I wouldn’t necessarily worry about a natural testosterone booster as I feel there are other areas you should address in your PCT stack. I know many have heard the test booster is absolutely necessary, so this is where it’s going to get a bit dicey and controversial, but hey, we can’t all agree, now can we? If you have a SERM, you can consider yourself taken care of in the homeostasis recovery department of bringing your testosterone back up, but if you think recovery of your natural test along with lowering cortisol and estrogen is the only aspect of sustaining gains then you are very naive and one-dimensional in your PCT.
Yes, a SERM will handle the homeostasis, however, you should address:
- Glycogen retention and Muscle Fullness
- Energy and Intensity
- Lowering of Estrogen levels
- Libido Levels
These are other departments besides homeostasis recovery which mean a lot for keeping gains. Take some Glycobol, Anabolic Pump or Need2slin to sustain high glycogen and muscle fullness, take some creatine for muscular energy via ATP, strength, and muscle fullness or even a pre-workout for the focus, take a product such as some Forma-Stanzol near the end of your PCT to drop the risen estrogen levels and if you want to boost up your libido get some Perform or HCGenerate.
Notice I am not mentioning products aimed at recovery (Natural Testosterone Booster) because a SERM is all you need for that. But if you want to hit PCT hard and truly optimize every aspect of it for gain retention, you should really consider adding these.
A Quick Summary:
Choose your SERM first. Everything else around it.
I highly recommend that you pick good supplements for:
- Muscle fullness
- Estrogen control
Have you ever ran clomid through out a cycle? If so did it help any?
Help what? If you are running a cycle, you will be shut down. Clomid is designed to help you get test production going during PCT. Some still use Nolva for Gyno during a cycle, but personally I think there are better options.
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