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    Steroid Guide

    Steroid Guide


    DISCLAIMER:

    The information you are about to read was gathered from sources including textbooks, professional athletes, avid steroid users, online sources, medical studies and my own personal experience. Neither I or the creators of these readings assumes any liability for the information presented in this thread. This information is not meant to be applied, not intended to provide medical advice, but instead be used as a reference guide to provide a summary of information for entertainment purposes only. Understand the rewards vs. the risks and be aware of the laws in your country. If one decides to use any of these drugs discussed, consult with appropriate medical authorities. I do not advocate you to engage in any illegal activities!

    I'm going to try and keep this as simple as possible for readers to easily navigate through and find/seek any answers they are searching for. Again, in this write-up you will find combined information and articles gathered over the years regarding AAS usage, compound profiles, cycle templates, ancillary usage, side effects, and information to remedy side effects in order to be safe as possible. After all, safety is our main goal here and we care about your health and well being.


    Research
    I think one of the biggest misconceptions that someone new to body building is that they need steroids to grow. That's not the case at all. Steroids are NOT a miracle drug and if you don't know what you are doing then serious health problems can come of it. Steroids are for those who have been training for at least a few years and have hit their genetic plateau and need a boost, they're not for someone who has just started training and has never researched them. Research is the main thing when it comes to steroids and it will help keep you safe from unwanted health problems or side effects. Researching them doesn't mean looking around on the internet for a few hours and calling that knowledge, it means taking a year or more to know exactly what it is they do, how they work and how to safely cycle them. If you are thinking about starting a cycle then do yourself a favor and research all compounds and get to know them and not just the common ones. Lets face it, if you don't know how to train, which most new guys don't, or if you don't have a good diet pan then all the steroids in the world won't help you out. - Gringo

    Firstly how do I research?
    Here are some pointers.
    • Books - because they are published by professionals and contain vital information; The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, Anabolics, Strength Training Anatomy and many more.
    • Internet – Google obviously but be careful because not all the right information is there you need to analysis it and compare it to what you know and other truths you may find. Comparing is a great tool because when you come into situations of discussions you will understand some things others will say and think ‘hey I read that, let me correct you’. Bodybuildingdungeon.com, steroids.com, *********.com, mesomorphosis.com & a heap more.
    • Look for Medical Studies, if you have a buddy that has the resources at school to find them then use that because nothing beats a medical study.
    • References to studies or information you may find, even google it to see if the reference is real you will be surprised at some being fake. -Anthony

    Caution when buying steroids

    I think one thing that should also be added is the possibility of buying fake steroids. Don't just get them from anyone who offers them to you or from any internet site claiming to have legit and quality steroids. Come on now, do you honestly think they will tell you they are selling fake or contaminated steroids? No they wont, they just want to scam you and take your money. Doing research on what labs are still around and what ones have a good reputation is a must before buying any type of steroids, pill form or injectable. Who knows what it is you might be injecting into your body, if you're real lucky it might be legit, if you're not so lucky it might just be plain oil and if your luck really sucks then it could be contaminated oil that will leave you in the hospital with a blood infection or a nasty abscess. And I might add that if steroids are not legal in your country then you shouldn't consider buying them! The penalties can be severe if caught and especially if you use the mail system to get them.

    Am I old enough?

    Yes if you're over 24, No if you're under. You run the risks of premature closing of growth plates which means you won't get any taller and your shoulders won't get wider, etc. if you use them too young. Your endocrine system is also at a vital stage in your life, which should incidentally provide you with plenty of natural testosterone anyway!

    Of course there are other considerations such as training experience of the individual. For example, it would be unwise for a 25 year old who has been training only a few months to want to use steroids. Their training and diet knowledge are likely to be limited (these should be 100% in check to make 'proper use' of a steroid cycle). Not only that, but there will be massive potential for natural gains, without the need to even think about steroids!

    Furthermore, cycling before the age of 2024-5 will put you at a high risk of temporary to permanent damage to your HPTA, andropause, TRT, erectile dysfunction, and low libido. Your hormones should not be tampered with while still in the stage of maturation. Use your already naturally high test levels to your advantage.

    You should have a significant amount of training under your belt (4-5 years at least) before any Steroids are considered. This will not only allow you to toy around with a few diet and training methods (possibly eliminating the reason for cycling in the first place) but will also you adequate time to let your CNS, bones/joints/tendons/muscles to mature so that you will have the proper foundation for when you begin your cycle. Cycling on a frame that is delicate and inexperienced runs many risks including temporary to permanent injury to any of the above mentioned. Bodybuilding isn't a sprint, and there is no rush to jump on steroids and get big. Transforming the body takes time, patience, dedication and discipline. There are no short cuts!

    Diet is probably the most important and vital tool is growing and gaining muscle/shedding fat. With a strong diet as your backbone, the steroids will not live up to their hype. No matter what your doses and duration of steroids you are taking, it just won't be worth the time and money spent without the sufficient calories and macros behind it. The 2 literally go hand in hand. A lack of diet will provide a lack of results, even with anabolic support. Having this experience will make cycling in the future easier and much more enjoyable, believe me.

    What are some side effects of steroids?

    This is the first thing that should be looked at when thinking of starting a cycle of steroids. First off ALL drugs have side affects... Even the multi-vitamins that you subconsciously take every morning have side effects. First thing I would like to clear up is that steroids DO NOT make your penis smaller. This is a ridiculous myth that was started by uneducated people and this is the first thing you will usually hear people say when you mention steroids. Steroids however do cause your testicles to atrophy while on cycle. HCG can be taken to prevent this, and If you take proper precautions after your cycle(s) your testicles should return to their normal size assuming you didn’t abuse steroids during this cycle. Another myth that is very common is “roid rage”. Roid rage is a myth created by the media to scare people away from using steroids and to give steroids a bad name. Steroids can cause you to be more aggressive than normal and/or have a shorter fuse. Steroids do not cause people to go on mass killing spree’s or killing your family (I.e. Chris Beniot). Put it this way if you were an ass hole before you were on cycle then you will be a bigger ass hole while on cycle. If you do feel more aggressive or feel like you have a short fuse then use this energy during your training sessions. If you feel like you’re going to blow up on someone then just disengage from the situation and take a step back and realize that you’re probably blowing it out of proportion. Now other side effects include…. Acne, Hypertension, loss of hair, aggressiveness, kidney problems, liver problems, cholesterol problems, gynocomastia, cardiovascular issues, stunting growth, sterility. Different steroids have different side effects; just make sure to really research your hormone to the fullest before starting. Most of the side effects from steroids come later on in life, so just keep that in mind when your thinking of using crazy amounts of steroids.

    What gains should I expect?

    Obviously the reason you have chosen to do steroids is because you want huge gains. This depends on many factors….. Genetics, diet, training, recovery. Genetics are the most important thing about your gains. You can not control this obviously and some people are just blessed with better genetics. Everyone responds differently to steroids. Diet is the second most important thing to think about when on or off cycle. This is something that you can control and is the most important thing to have in check at all times to get the best results. My advice would be to hire a nutrionist or at least make sure that the diet advice you are getting is correct. Training is obviously important, but the biggest mistake that people make while on cycle is you can train a lot more and get better gains. True that your body recovery’s faster while on cycle, but If you’re lifting 2 hours a day 6-7 days a week then your body is not getting a lot of time to recover. I train the same when I’m on as I do when I’m off. Recovery goes hand in hand with over training. Just make sure your getting enough sleep every night and taking your rest days when you need them. Listen to your body!

    Only use people you trust!

    When purchasing steroids always buy from a trusted source. If you plan on buying steroids then best case scenario is to buy from someone you have known for a long time that you trust because this way you have piece of mind that what your getting is real and hopefully sterile. Don’t buy from a stranger just because he is the biggest guy in the gym because you never know what you’re getting. Online sources….. All I can say about online sources is be very careful and do your research before buying online because they’re plenty of fake sites out there.

    There is a difference between use and abuse

    Bottom line steroids aren’t magic. The people you see in body building magazines didn’t just get that way over night. They spent hard years of diet and training to look the way they do. Do not ever think more is better, slow and steady wins the race. Yes you can hit plateaus while on cycles, but don’t start throwing everything and the kitchen sink into a cycle thinking your going be the incredible hulk when you wake up the next morning. If you do plateau then increase your dose gradually and/or you can add one compound at a time to see how your body reacts.

    You only get one chance in a life time so take care of your body. Hopefully you get the chance to grow old one day, and you don’t want to cause harm to your self for something you did 40 years prior. Be smart and stay safe.

    What are steroids & what is the difference between Orals & Injectables?

    Testosterone is the main male sex hormone which is naturally produced by the human body. Steroids are a synthetic form of testosterone or its derivatives. Bodybuilders mainly use testosterone. Testosterone is what you can thank for Strength and Size. Testosterone can also assist with fat loss according to ones diet. So get out them ideas of 'NOT BEING ABLE TO CUT' on Test. Another thing to add is...Test IS AND SHOULD BE THE BASE ON ALL STEROID CYCLES. Simply put; Don't cycle without it, you'll be shooting yourself in the foot

    You've decided to take steroids, now the next thing to decide is whether you should take tablets or inject? What's the difference? Let's look at each in turn: Well the obvious difference is that one is swallowed, the other is injected. But let's be more specific; most oral steroids are hepatotoxic (i.e. toxic to the liver). As the tablet/pill travels through the body it passes through the gastrointestinal tract, then to the liver which has a mission to destroy it, thus preventing the steroid from entering the bloodstream. As a result, scientific boffins replaced the hydrogen atom with a carbon atom to the 17th position of the steroid molecule, which for the most part, will enable the steroid to survive the first pass hepatic metabolism. This process is commonly referred to as 17-alpha alkylation (17-AA or C-17).

    Whilst this alkylation is desirable for the athlete in terms of improving the bio-availability of the oral steroid, it does however, place undue stress on the liver. Liver values (a set of markers which are used to assess liver function) may be elevated whilst using 17-aa steroids and as such, they are generally used sparingly to compliment an injectable cycle. Certain nutritional supplement products are often used for liver protection:

    * Milk Thistle
    * ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid)
    * Liv-52

    Injectable Steroids are not for intravenous use (into the vein). Doing this could result in serious injury or even death. They must be injected intra-muscularly (into the muscle) and therefore avoid the 'first pass' through the liver; though some the harsher steroids will place a strain on the kidneys in large doses.

    There are two main different types of injectable steroids: Water or oil based. Water based steroids are metabolised quickly, requiring frequent (often daily) injections. Oil based ones are released more slowly into the bloodstream and are generally injected once or twice weekly.

    Oral only cycles are a complete waste of time. Gain will simply not be worth the sides you'll be going through. Let alone that you're gains on oral only cycles will NOT stick as well as they should.

    Half Life Of Steroids

    Half life's are a very important thing and should also be understood. Knowing what the half life of the steroids you plan on taking will help you plan out the cycle so all the compounds will be out of your system at the same time. This way you know exactly when to start your PCT and also to make sure you always have testosterone in your system while on other steroids.

    For instance lets say if the half life of the test you are on is 2 weeks and the half life of another steroid you are taking is 3 weeks, then you should stop the longer one a week before the last shot of test. Orals have short half lives so they can be ran up to pct time in most cases while the test is working out of your system.

    Active Half-Life

    Oral steroids

    Anadrol / Anapolan50 (oxymetholone) 8-9 hours
    Anavar (oxandrolone) 9 hours
    Dianabol (methandrostenolone, methandienone) 4.5 - 6 hours
    Methyltestosterone 4 days
    Winstrol (stanozolol) 9 hours
    (tablets or depot taken orally)

    Depot steroids

    Deca-durabolin (Nandrolone decanate) 15 days
    Equipoise 14 days
    Finaject (trenbolone acetate) 3 days
    Primobolan (methenolone enanthate) 10.5 days
    Sustanon or Omnadren 15 - 18 days
    Testosterone Cypionate 12 days
    Testosterone Enanthate 10.5 days
    Testosterone Propionate 4.5 days
    Testosterone Suspension 1 day

    * Winstrol (stanozolol) 1 day (Technically Stan Depot does not have a half-life simply due to the fact that it's UN-ESTRIFIED! It contains microcrystals that will dissolve slowly and once they've all dissolved the levels of the hormone will fall pretty rapidly)


    Steroid esters

    Formate 1.5 days
    Acetate 3 days
    Propionate 4.5 days
    Phenylpropionate 4.5 days
    Butyrate 6 days
    Valerate 7 days
    Hexanoate 9 days
    Caproate 9 days
    Isocaproate 9 days
    Heptanoate 10 days
    Enanthate 10.5 days
    Octanoate 12 days
    Cypionate 12 days
    Nonanoate 13.5 days
    Decanoate 15days
    Undecanoate 16.5 days

    Ancillaries

    Arimidex 3 days
    Letrozole 2 days
    Aromasin 27 hours
    Clenbuterol 1.5 days
    Clomid 5 days
    Cytadren 6 hours
    Ephedrine 6 hours
    T3 10 hours

    Injections

    When choosing an injection site make sure you know what you are doing before you begin. Injecting into an unwanted area can cause unwanted damage. Also make sure to use proper and sterile procedures. First thing is to chose the muscles you intend on using and research where in the muscle to inject and what length and gauge needle to use. Here are the steps to do a sterile injection.


    1.Clean the surface you intend to put all your supplies with an antibacterial wash.

    2.Lay down a paper towel and set your supplies on it.

    3.Wash your hands.

    4. Use an alcohol swab or cotton ball soaked in alcohol and wipe the rubber top of the vile if that is what you are using.

    5.With the cap still on the needle draw in the amount of air that you intend to draw out in oil.

    6.Remove the cap and insert the needle into the rubber toper and inject the air into the vile. If you are using an amp then step 4-6 don't apply.

    7. Draw out the amount of oil intended.

    8. Remove the needle and put the cap back on.

    9. Remove the needle from the syringe and put a new needle on. Make sure to not uncap the new one or touch it in any way since it comes sterile right from the factory. Don't even wipe it down with alcohol thinking you are doing any good because you won't be.

    10. By holding the syringe upright flick it until all the air bubbles are at the top and gently push the plunger until they're all out of the syringe. Remember, air and injections don't mix.

    11.Find the place where you intend to inject and thoroughly clean the entire area with an alcohol swab or a cotton ball soaked in alcohol. This will kill any microbes that might be in the area and stop them from entering your body.

    12. With the area clean and all your air bubbles out of the syringe take the cap off the needle and remember to not touch it. With a steady pace and pressure push the needle into the skin. You may feel a little poke at first but it goes away as soon as the needles in. With the needle inserted hold on the barrel and pull back on the plunger. You don't have to pull back much. If blood appears in the end of the syringe then that means you injected in a vein so pull the needle out of the site and place a cotton ball over it since it will probably bleed a good amount. Switch the needle to a new one and repeat steps 11 and 12. If no blood appears then at a steady pace push the plunger in and try not to move the needle in or out of the site. When all the oil is out of the syringe have a cotton ball handy and pull out the needle and put the cotton ball over the site and rub it for a second.

    13. Recap the needle and dispose of it and all the other needles and don't leave them laying around.

    14. Clean up your area and wash your hands again.

    If it is your first time injecting a muscle then it will more then likely leave you sore for a few days. Sometimes certain steroids have a high BA content also so that doesn't help either. Some people do their shots before a hot shower and some do them after, you'll just have to see what you prefer yourself and what helps you heal fastest. If you get sore from a shot you can try hot showers with some motrin to help with any swelling but only time will really heal it. But it never hurts to try. Remember it's your body and you only get one so be smart about this and don't listen to the dumb ass that says he doesn't do any of this and injects where ever. It doesn't take much longer to do it right and it could save you a trip to the ER or the doc's office or maybe even your life. If an injection site is sore for more then a week go to the doctors and tell him about it. It might beCellutosis or an abscess and require some antibiotics. If you don't get it treated then you might end up with some worse problems like having to have an abscess cut open and drained or a blood infection. Be smart about it and don't just go sticking needles where ever you want.

    Another thing that knowing the half life of certain steroids helps out with is knowing how often you need to inject them to jeep stable blood levels, or how often to take any orals you might be on. If the half life of steroid is only 2-3 days and you inject or take pill once a week you will cause a roller coaster effect to your blood levels and will get nothing from them.By injecting at the peak of the half life which would be an every other day injection you will keep a constant steady level of the hormone in your body which will give you the most from the steroid and will keep a steady blood level and is the safest way to take a steroid. By keeping a constant level in your body and a steady blood level, the side effects will be much less then having them all over the place and will help keep any of the side effects under control. -Gringo

    What causes injection pain?

    1. The shorter the ester, the higher the melting point
    2. The concentration of the gear.
    3. Solvents.
    4. Injection speed.
    5. Virgin muscle.
    6. Volume of injection in certain muscle groups.

    So how to remedy pain in brief:
    1:1 ration w/ sterile cotton or grape seed oil.
    Sleep with heating pads at night on the pin area
    Pre-warm oil to let the juice disperse easier
    Inject in the muscle prior to training that muscle to let the oil disperse easier
    Massage thoroughly 5-8 minutes to let the oil disperse easier
    Wait it out, for most the pain will subside
    Rotate spot injections
    Inject slow
    Make sure the volume of the injection is suitable for the muscle you are pinning in.

    Volume of injections

    Glute: Anything below 2cc.
    Delt: Anything below 1cc-1.5cc
    Tricep: Anything below 1cc.
    Bicep: Anything below 1cc.
    Trap: Anything below 1cc.
    Calve: Anything below 1cc-1.5cc
    Quad: Anything below 2cc
    Pec: Anything below 1.5cc
    Lat: Anything below 1.5cc

    If you are larger person, obviously these numbers will be higher. These are just my personal choices and what I would use on me.

    Liver Health

    PQ: It is important to stress that while life-threatening injury from oral steroid use is admittedly very rare, these issues do legitimately occur in otherwise healthy bodybuilders and should be taken seriously during your regular health screenings.

    As some readers may be familiar, most oral steroids are c-17-alpha alkylated compounds. This is a chemical alteration that allows a steroid to survive its first pass through the liver and into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, however, c-17 alkylation can place a good amount of strain on the liver in the process. While oral steroids are generally regarded as fairly safe in a medical sense, the abuse of these drugs can lead to serious liver damage (even cancer or death) in rare cases. If you are using a lot of oral anabolic steroids, or plan on using them, then it is important to understand a bit about monitoring and maintaining liver health. In this article, I’d like to review some of the basics of lab testing (blood work) and discuss the potential for liver support supplements to help maintain liver health. An obligatory rundown of the more serious consequences of oral steroid abuse is also in order. It is important to stress that while life-threatening injury from oral steroid use is admittedly very rare, these issues do legitimately occur in otherwise healthy bodybuilders and should be taken seriously during your regular health screenings.

    The four most common serious manifestations of steroid-induced liver toxicity are intrahepatic cholestasis, peliosis hepatis, hepatocellular adenoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. Intrahepatic cholestasis refers to a condition where the liver can no longer properly transport and metabolize bile (bile duct obstruction). This may coincide with jaundice, or a yellowing of the skin and eyes as bilirubin builds in body tissues. Cholestasis is usually resolved with the immediate cessation of steroid use. Peliosis hepatis is a rare and very serious condition characterized by blood-filled cysts on the liver. Hepatocellular adenoma is a rare non-malignant (non-cancerous) liver tumor. While in some cases it may require no further intervention other than abstinence from steroid use, hepatocellular ademona can lead to life-threatening bleeding or liver failure. Hepatocellular carcinoma refers to malignant liver cancer. This last and perhaps most serious consequence of steroid use has only been documented in one previously healthy recreational steroid user.

    Liver Support Supplements

    Aside from testing, the hepatic strain of oral steroid use may be reduced with the use of certain liver support supplements. While it may seem counterintuitive to use a dietary supplement to offset the side effects of a hepatotoxic drug, there is an increasingly large body of evidence supporting the use of certain natural compounds for this purpose. Nutritional products like silymarin and Liv-52 (a blended liver support supplement) have become increasingly common in the steroid-using community as of late, largely based on a growing number of medical studies demonstrating their ability to protect the liver from toxins like drugs, alcohol and certain chemicals. The ability for these products to help reduce actual steroid toxicity seems to be supported by anecdotal observations as well, although not proven. The European product Essentiale forte N from Aventis is also commonly used for liver protection and unlike silymarin and Liv-52, has been directly studied in steroid-using bodybuilders.

    “Compound N”

    Essentiale forte N actually has the distinction of being the only natural supplement that has been shown in clinical studies to offset the hepatotoxic properties of oral anabolic/androgenic steroids. During this investigation, 320 healthy weight-training individuals were recruited and divided into three groups. The first group (A) consisted of 44 steroid users who were given Essentiale forte N (identified in the study as Compound N) to use with their next cycle. The second group (B) consisted of 116 subjects using anabolic steroids only. The last group (C) was 160 non-steroid using controls. All steroid users abstained from drug use for five weeks prior to the study and resumed their normal regimens, usually of multidrug programs in doses in excess of therapeutic amounts. The investigators did note the perceived risk differences between therapeutic doses and above therapeutic levels, as well as the increased hepatotoxicity of c-17 alpha-alkylated steroids and divided their groups so as to minimize these influencing factors.

    The level of relative liver strain noted during the course of the study was assessed every 10 days by analyzing the blood for a full panel of liver enzymes. This specifically included aspartate aminotransferase (AST/SGOT), alanine aminotransferase (ALT/SGPT), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) and creatine kinase (CK). Baseline levels for all enzymes were similar between groups except creatine kinase, which is heavily influenced by training intensity. During the study, the steroid-only users (group B) noticed a significant elevation in liver enzymes, resulting in levels that exceeded the normal range. Liver enzymes were elevated in the remaining two groups, however, the elevations were similar and remained within the normal range at all times. The researchers were left to conclude: “The positive association of the abuse severity with the increased hepatic enzymes’ levels suggest a relationship between abused AAS and hepatic cell damage. However, when AAS were taken with …[Essentiale forte N], … the hepatotoxic effect appears to be attenuated.”

    The main focus of this article was to discuss some of the basics of examining and maintaining liver health when taking hepatotoxic oral (or injectable) anabolic/androgenic steroids. For those reading who have not taken a keen interest in having their liver enzymes examined, it is my hope that this article may change your perception of this issue just a bit, perhaps enough to begin regular testing. -

    Frequently, athletes research how to better layout an anabolic-androgenic steroid cycle, as well as proper post cycle therapy for making the transition back to a natural training state. Unfortunately, many neglect another component for a successful AAS cycle: maximizing the time spent on using pre-cycle therapy, better know as “priming.”

    What is priming?

    Priming is a preparatory method used to create a favorable growth environment so an AAS cycle can maximize muscle gains. The goal of priming is to make an athletes system very sensitive to increased calories, greater training intensity and elevated anabolic hormones. Psychologically, a trainee should feel pent up and ready to move heavy loads.

    Priming should be done before every cycle – no matter the athlete’s previous AAS cycle experience. If completed correctly, priming will lead to very quick and dramatic results. Because of the faster results, cycle duration can also be cut back to make coming off and restoring proper hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis functioning easier, for a faster recovery of the body’s endogenous androgen production.

    How should you prime?

    Priming involves correct dietary and training manipulations that allow an athlete to lower body fat while sparing muscle. Basically, it is essential to diet down slow enough to simply lose fat – again, no muscle or strength should be lost.

    Bodybuilders spend a lot of time preparing to exhibit a lean, muscular build. But other things are going on inside. Their body is getting really sensitive for a period of growth following the long period of dieting and depletion training. Most advanced bodybuilders – especially those that compete – know how responsive the body can be right after leaning up; such as the growth spurts frequently experienced after a competition with or without concurrent AAS administration. This is an example of what occurs by priming before a bulking phase, although pre-contest routines are generally too exhaustive since extremely low body fat levels are required. Simply put: priming opens the window for a great opportunity to obtain phenomenal muscle building results and end training plateaus.

    Training cycles must change as goals change. While priming, the training should not be so intense that overtraining is likely; in fact, a general maintenance routine would be best in many circumstances. The training routine should also let the athlete mentally prepare for a split that is very progressive. The amount of aerobic training (as well a total calorie intake) is determined by current lean body mass and what has previously been learned about personal metabolism and limitations. The concurrent aerobic and anaerobic training effect won’t limit results since the goal is not to gain strength or muscle but rather to preserve it.

    The diet should allow the body to become sensitive to carbohydrates and the other macronutrients. Generally, a cyclic-ketogenic diet works wonders. This method helps many lose fat while preserving lean body mass while becoming carbohydrate sensitive for superior calorie partitioning once the AAS cycle begins.

    It is very catabolic to train with no carbohydrate intake and no scheduled carbohydrate loads; lost muscle is inevitable. Why take two steps back and then two steps forward every time you cycle? Scheduling carbohydrate loads presents an opportunity to fill out energy stores for a productive – and frequently progressive – power workouts, opportunities to fight for strength levels and muscle mass.

    Using a CKD approach, carbohydrates remain very low for three or four days – maximum – followed by a “carb up,” a period where carbohydrate intake is substantial. Remember, glycogen levels must become grossly depleted during the weekly rotation to ensure the proper response from a carbohydrate load. Be careful of total calorie intake – results gained by obtaining low carbohydrate can be diverted if total calorie intake is too high; this can negatively affect the depletion phase.

    After successfully depleting glycogen levels, a subsequent carb up can not only replenish glycogen depots but super compensate them. Stick to high-protein and high-carbohydrate food sources during the carbohydrate load. Total calorie intake during this period can be very high – some can eat well over 6,000 calories and still burn fat! Any high-fat cravings should be curbed within the first several hours of the carbohydrate load. Studies show fat gain during this time is very low since the body is more interested in replenishing itself than it is in storing fat. As you advance through the carbohydrate load, high fat foods are more likely to be stored as fat.

    Regardless, carbohydrate loading will cause dramatic increases in bodyweight, though this is not suggestive of regaining fat. Weight fluctuations vary based on the athletes lean body mass. It is common for many to re-gain six to 10 pounds after a carbohydrate load due; much of this is due to the concurrent water uptake required to store the excess supply of glycogen. During the depletion week, it is common for many to lose seven to 12 pounds – roughly netting one or two pounds of fat loss per week with the rest of the weight composed mostly of dropped water.

    The carbohydrate load also provides a key opportunity to train heavy and possibly make some gains in limit strength. A succeeding power training day is a great opportunity to accurately gauge muscle wasting or drops in limit strength. An abbreviated full body workout can be used with great success. All of the lifts should stay strong or possibly get stronger – use a workout journal!

    The last four or five days before the cycle starts should be low carbohydrate. The steroid cycle should commence on the same day as a carbohydrate load. Testosterone and most of its popular derivatives will make this carbohydrate load very effective. Glycogen super compensation can occur very quickly, especially if short-ester (suspension, acetate, propionate) steroids are used; otherwise, front load longer esters (enanthate, cypionate, decanoate) to get blood levels up quickly.

    Here is an example split for successful priming (based on Ultimate Diet 2.0 by Lyle McDonald, which is considered an up-to-date version of Underground Bodyopus by Daniel Duchaine):

    Day 1: Moderate Carb/Cardio at maintenance calorie intake.
    Day 2: Low Carb/Upperbody Supersets at a caloric deficit, either through diet or cardio.
    Day 3: Low Carb/Lowerbody Supersets at a caloric deficit, either through diet or cardio.
    Day 4: Low Carb/Cardio at a caloric deficit, either through diet or cardio.
    Day 5: Low Carb/Full Body Workout with daytime calorie intake should be slightly less than they were during the previous days. The carbohydrate load should follow immediately after evening training.
    Day 6: Carb Load/No training
    Day 7: Moderate Carb/Power Training (Squats, Deadlifts and Bench Presses), eating slightly above maintenance.
    Repeat

    Once the cycle has begun, your body will remain very responsive and you should begin training hard; using supersets, drop sets, rest-pause – heavy and intense training. You should feel pent up and ready for it. As always, a training log will help maximize the growth window.

    How long should the priming period last?

    Proper priming generally last about six to eight weeks, pre-cycle. The body will be very responsive if finished correctly and long enough. Obviously, finding the best ratio between priming, cutting and growth macro cycles can guarantee the greatest results during the training year. This relation is best identified through experience.

    Successful priming will bring your body fat levels down but the most important aspect is to become sensitive for a growth period. If body fat is high, an athlete could extend the priming period with a target body composition in mind before switching to a growth phase but don’t allow gross overtraining to occur. If body fat mass is currently out of control, it is better to focus on dieting and training strictly for fat loss. A lean body is much more effective at proper calorie partitioning. Once bodyfat levels are within reason, take a brief pause, and then begin priming for the AAS cycle.

    Are any ancillary drugs helpful for priming?

    Proviron and Bromocriptine can be very helpful for sustaining muscle mass and fat metabolism. Proviron helps to support natural testosterone levels during a calorie restricted diet. Bromocriptine helps support suitable hormone levels while training to metabolize body fat; in addition to dulling hunger pangs. Either drug can help trick your body from trying to put a stopper on fat loss and limit muscle wasting. Unfortunately, Bromocriptine is notorious for bad side effects, such as decreased appetite and nausea. This drug should be tapered up and only administered in the mornings, to avoid uncomfortable side effects. Exogenous insulin can help carbohydrate loads – especially brief loads under 24 hours – by increasing faster glycogen storage.

    Are any non-pharmaceutical ancillaries helpful for priming?

    A multi vitamin and mineral supplement is always good practice while on a macro-restrictive diet, to fill holes in daily nutritional requirements. Extra Vitamin C can also help deter flu symptoms and keep you from falling ill during an important training cycle. A daily dose of around four to eight grams of vitamin C per day will serve to support a healthy immune system during any training cycle. Obviously, getting sick can mess everything up.

    Taking a healthy dose of the essential branched chain amino acids helps to deter overtraining and over-reaching symptoms. They also help prevent muscle wasting during dieting to foster a better environment to remain on a progressive strength routine. Studies show that it’s harder to overtrain while taking at least 10 grams of the essential BCAA’s daily. Ten grams pre-workout can have a substantially positive effect on strength and mental focus while using a CKD program.

    When you stay low-carbohydrate your body starts to produce less of the digestive enzymes responsible for carbohydrate metabolism. This can cause bad gastrointestinal problems when carbohydrate loading. In particular, a low carbohydrate phase results in less production of the enzyme Amylase. To combat this, you could supplement with digestive enzymes to aid proper digestion.

    Charles Poliquin, a famous strength coach, has been quoted supporting the idea of post-workout high-dose glutamine. He suggests this in place of sugar for those needing to drop some body fat. The idea of mega dosing glutamine is debatable but many have used 30 to 40 grams of post-workout glutamine with great success

    Caffeine and other thermogenics are an absolute help when training during low carbohydrate intake. They support energy levels and depress appetite. During carbohydrate loading, they help with the lethargic feeling easily acquired from a dramatic increase in starches and sugars. Alternatively, the carbohydrate loading phase can be used as a break from caffeine-containing supplements and drinks.

    Taking the time to properly prepare for a steroid cycle can make the experience more rewarding. A properly primed system is more responsive to growth, allowing for a lower dose or shorter duration. Appropriate post-cycle therapy helps retain gains – proper pre-cycle preparation helps attain them. -WarriorFX

    To be continued.....

    ----------***Blood Work***----------

    Anybody who cycles should consider getting blood work done before and after their steroid use. Specifically metabolic, hormone, lipid panels. Get a baseline exam, then use this to compare for your post-PCT blood work. This is the only sure way to determine if you've recovered and if your PCT was successful.

    Doing Your Bloodwork

    A full liver panel is important to assessing hepatic strain. It is always a good idea before the intake of any c-17 alpha-alkylated oral steroids or injectable forms of these predominantly oral compounds that baseline readings be obtained on standard markers of liver health. While the exact forms of testing may vary depending on the physical and lab, a detailed screening of liver health usually involves examining a number of liver proteins, transaminase enzymes, cholestatic enzymes and bilirubin. The markers most commonly examined when looking to determine liver strain caused by steroid use include the following five variables. Note that what values are regarded as falling in the reference (normal) range may vary slightly between labs.

    ALT And AST

    Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) are the two enzymes most commonly discussed when it comes to steroid-induced liver toxicity. ALT and AST are necessary to the metabolism of amino acids and protein in the liver. While some may be present in other tissues, these enzymes are largely identified as liver enzymes. They are the subjects of regular testing because they can and commonly will leak out into the bloodstream as the liver becomes inflamed or damaged. As such, these two enzymes are generally regarded as important potential indicators of early steroid-induced liver toxicity. A substantial elevation in ALT and AST is usually looked at as immediate cause to suspend the intake of hepatotoxic steroids. It is of note, however, that there have been cases in which liver damage (such as hepatocellular adenoma) has occurred without substantial elevations in AST and ALT. While these enzymes are important to any examination of liver health, they should not remain the sole focus of blood testing.

    ALP, GGT And Bilirubin

    Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase (GGT) are known as cholestatic liver enzymes and are also very important to examining liver health during steroid use. Elevations in ALP and GGT can indicate bile duct obstruction (intrahepatic cholestasis). Intrahepatic cholestasis is a potentially very serious manifestation of steroid-induced liver toxicity, so elevations in ALP and GGT should never be disregarded. Bilirubin should also be measured, which is a yellow fluid that is found in bile. Bilirubin is responsible for the yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) that can be associated with bile duct obstruction. These three markers should be specifically requested before your testing in addition to ALT and AST, as it is not common that all five variables are measured in the same standard blood test.

    It is of note that mild elevations in ALT and AST (slightly above the reference range) may be caused by muscle damage (exercise) instead of liver toxicity. A comparison to baseline levels will be important in determining the cause of elevated ALT and AST. Elevations that come only after the addition of anabolic steroids (training is otherwise constant) point to the drug as the likely cause. Creatine kinase (CK) is a marker of muscle damage and can also be useful in making this determination. Mild ALT and AST elevations caused by muscle damage will usually coincide with similar elevations in CK, but normal levels of ALP and GGT. It is important to remember, however, that the substantial elevation of any hepatic markers above the reference range (even if the only markers elevated are ALT and AST) may indicate substantial liver toxicity and should be cause to discontinue the offending steroids and reassess risk. - William L.


    Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
    Also known as: CMP; Chem 12; Chemistry panel; Chemistry screen; SMA 12; SMA 20; SMAC (somewhat outdated terms)
    There is also a basic version of this Test but I would recommend this one.

    What is it?

    The Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) is a frequently ordered panel of tests that gives your doctor important information about the current status of your kidneys, liver, and electrolyte and acid/base balance as well as of your blood sugar and blood proteins. Abnormal results, and especially combinations of abnormal results, can indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. The CMP is typically a group of 14 specific tests that have been approved, named, and assigned a CPT code (a Current Procedural Terminology number) as a panel by Medicare, although labs may adjust the number of tests up or down. Since the majority of insurance companies also use these names and CPT codes in their claim processing, this grouping of tests has become standardized throughout the United States.

    The CMP includes:

    * Glucose
    * Calcium

    Both increased and decreased levels can be significant.

    Proteins

    * Albumin
    * Total Protein

    Albumin, a small protein produced in the liver, is the major protein in serum. Total protein measures albumin as well as all other proteins in serum. Both increases and decreases in these test results can be significant.

    Electrolytes

    * Sodium
    * Potassium
    * CO2 (carbon dioxide, bicarbonate)
    * Chloride

    The concentrations of sodium and potassium are tightly regulated by the body as is the balance between the four molecules. Electrolyte (and acid-base) imbalances can be present with a wide variety of acute and chronic illnesses. Chloride and CO2 tests are rarely ordered by themselves.

    Kidney Tests


    * BUN (blood urea nitrogen)
    * Creatinine

    BUN and creatinine are waste products filtered out of the blood by the kidneys. Increased concentrations in the blood may indicate a temporary or chronic decrease in kidney function. When not ordered as part of the CMP, they are still usually ordered together.

    Liver Tests

    * ALP (alkaline phosphatase)
    * ALT (alanine amino transferase, also called SGPT)
    * AST (aspartate amino transferase, also called SGOT)
    * Bilirubin

    ALP, ALT, and AST are enzymes found in the liver and other tissues. Bilirubin is a waste product produced by the liver as it breaks down and recycles aged red blood cells. All can be found in elevated concentrations in the blood with liver disease or dysfunction.

    How is the sample collected for testing?
    The CMP uses a tube of blood collected by inserting a needle into a vein in your arm. Ask your doctor whether you should be fasting for 10 to 12 hours prior to the blood draw. Depending on the reason for ordering the CMP, it may be drawn after fasting or on a random basis.

    How is it used?
    The CMP is used as a broad screening tool to evaluate organ function and check for conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. The CMP may also be ordered to monitor known conditions, such as hypertension, and to monitor patients taking specific medications for any kidney- or liver-related side effects. If your doctor is interested in following two or more individual CMP components, he may order the entire CMP because it offers more information.

    When is it ordered?
    The CMP is routinely ordered as part of a blood work-up for a medical exam or yearly physical. Although it may be performed on a random basis, the CMP sample is usually collected after a 10 to 12 hour fast (no food or liquids other than water). While the individual tests are sensitive, they do not usually tell your doctor specifically what is wrong. Abnormal test results or groups of test results are usually followed up with other specific tests to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis.

    Lipid Profile
    Also known as: Lipid Panel; Coronary Risk Panel
    Formal name: Lipid Profile
    Related tests: Cholesterol; HDL-C; LDL-C; Triglycerides; Direct LDL-C; VLDL-C; Cardiac Risk Assessment; Lp-PLA2

    What is a lipid profile?

    The lipid profile is a group of tests that are often ordered together to determine risk of coronary heart disease. They are tests that have been shown to be good indicators of whether someone is likely to have a heart attack or stroke caused by blockage of blood vessels or hardening of the arteries (atherosclerois). The lipid profile typically includes:

    * Total cholesterol
    * High density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) — often called good cholesterol
    * Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) —often called bad cholesterol
    * Triglycerides

    An extended profile may also include:

    * Very low density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C)
    * Non-HDL-C

    Sometimes the report will include additional calculated values such as the Cholesterol/HDL ratio or a risk score based on lipid profile results, age, sex, and other risk factors. Talk to your doctor about what these other reported values may mean for you.

    How is the sample collected for testing?

    A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm. Sometimes a drop of blood is collected by puncturing the skin on a fingertip. This fingerstick sample is typically used when a lipid profile is being measured on a portable testing device, for example, at a health fair. You need to fast for 9-12 hours before having your blood drawn; only water is permitted.

    How is a lipid profile used?
    The lipid profile is used to help determine your risk of heart disease and to help guide you and your health care provider in deciding what treatment may be best for you if you have borderline or high risk. The results of the lipid profile are considered along with other known risk factors of heart disease to develop a plan of treatment and follow-up. Depending on your results and other risk factors, treatment options may involve life-style changes such as diet and exercise or lipid-lowering medications such as statins.
    When is it ordered?
    It is recommended that healthy adults with no other risk factors for heart disease be tested with a fasting lipid profile once every five years. You may be screened using only a cholesterol test and not a full lipid profile. However, if the cholesterol test result is high, you may have follow-up testing with a lipid profile.

    If you have other risk factors or have had a high cholesterol level in the past, you should be tested more regularly and you should have a full lipid profile.

    For children and adolescents at low risk, lipid testing is usually not ordered routinely. However, screening with a lipid profile is recommended for children and youths who are at an increased risk of developing heart disease as adults. Some of the risk factors are similar to those in adults and include a family history of heart disease or health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), or being overweight. High-risk children should have their first lipid profile between 2 and 10 years old, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children younger than 2 years old are too young to be tested.

    A lipid profile may also be ordered at regular intervals to evaluate the success of lipid-lowering lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise or to determine the effectiveness of drug therapy such as statins.

    What do the results mean?

    In general, your doctor will take into consideration the results of each component of a lipid profile plus other risk factors to determine whether treatment is necessary and, if so, which treatment will best help you to lower your risk of heart disease. The National Cholesterol Education Program offers the following guidelines for adults for classifying results of the tests:

    LDL Cholesterol
    Optimal: Less than 100 mg/dL (2.59 mmol/L)
    Near/above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL (2.59-3.34 mmol/L)
    Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL (3.37-4.12 mmol/L)
    High: 160-189 mg/dL (4.15-4.90 mmol/L)
    Very high: Greater than 190 mg/dL (4.90 mmol/L)

    Total Cholesterol
    Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL (5.18 mmol/L)
    Borderline high: 200-239 mg/dL (5.18 to 6.18 mmol/L)
    High: 240 mg/dL (6.22 mmol/L) or higher

    HDL Cholesterol
    Low level, increased risk: Less than 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L) for men and less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) for women
    Average level, average risk: 40-50 mg/dL (1.0-1.3 mmol/L) for men and between 50-59 mg/dl (1.3-1.5 mmol/L) for women
    High level, less than average risk: 60 mg/dL (1.55 mmol/L) or higher for both men and women

    Fasting Triglycerides
    Desirable: Less than 150 mg/dL (1.70 mmol/L)
    Borderline high: 150-199 mg/dL(1.7-2.2 mmol/L)
    High: 200-499 mg/dL (2.3-5.6 mmol/L)
    Very high: Greater than 500 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L)

    The risk categories for children and adolescents are different than adults. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about your child’s results.

    Common Questions

    1. I had a screening test for cholesterol. It was less than 200 mg/dL (5.18 mmol/L). Do I need a lipid profile?
    If your total cholesterol is below 200 (5.18 mmol/L) and you have no family history of heart disease or other risk factors, a full lipid profile is probably not necessary. However, an HDL-cholesterol measurement would be advisable to assure that you do not have a low HDL. Many screening programs now offer both cholesterol and HDL.

    2. My lipid profile results came back with high triglycerides and no results for LDL-cholesterol. Why?
    In most screening lipid profiles, LDL-cholesterol is calculated from the other lipid measurements. However, the calculation is not valid if triglycerides are over 400 mg/dL (4.52 mmol/L). To determine LDL-cholesterol when triglycerides are over 400 mg/dL (4.52 mmol/L) requires special testing techniques such as a direct LDL-C test or a lipid ultracentrifugation test (sometimes called a beta-quantification test).

    3. What is VLDL?
    Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLDL) is one of three major lipoprotein particles. The other two are high density lipoprotein (HDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL). Each one of these particles contains a mixture of cholesterol, protein, and triglyceride, but in varying amounts unique to each type of particle. LDL contains the highest amount of cholesterol. HDL contains the highest amount of protein. VLDL contains the highest amount of triglyceride. Since VLDL contains most of the circulating triglyceride and since the composition of the different particles is relatively constant, it is possible to estimate the amount of VLDL cholesterol by dividing the triglyceride value (in mg/dL) by 5. At present, there is no simple, direct way of measuring VLDL-cholesterol, so the estimate calculated from triglyceride is used in most settings. This calculation is not valid when the triglyceride is greater than 400 mg/dl (see question 2 above). Increased levels of VLDL-cholesterol have been found to be associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

    4. What is non-HDL-cholesterol?
    Non-HDL-cholesterol (non-HDL-C) is calculated by subtracting your HDL-C result from your total cholesterol result. It represents the “atherogenic” cholesterol — the cholesterol that can build up in the arteries, form plaques, and cause narrowing of the vessels and blockages. Unlike calculation of VLDL-C (see question 3 above), this calculation is not affected by high levels of triglycerides. Your non-HDL-C result may be used to assess your risk for CVD, especially if you have high triglycerides since high non-HDL-C is associated with increased risk. As recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program, Adult Treatment Plan III, if you have high triglycerides (greater than 200 mg/dL), the non-HDL-C result can be used as a secondary target of treatments such as lifestyle changes and drugs that aim to lower lipid levels.

    Is there anything else I should know?
    There is increasing interest in measuring triglycerides in people who have not fasted. The reason is that a non-fasting sample may be more representative of the “usual” circulating level of triglyceride since most of the day blood lipid levels reflect post-meal (post-prandial) levels rather than fasting levels. However, it is not yet certain how to interpret non-fasting levels for evaluating risk, so at present there is no change in the current recommendations for fasting prior to tests for lipid levels.

    Article Sources


    The Male Hormone Panel

    The aging process is inevitable. However, restoring lost male vitality is within reach. The hormones involved in this restoration can now be collectively measured in one salivary panel using the Regular or Expanded Male Hormone Panels (MHP and eMHP). The problems that concern men that most can be grouped into 3 categories:

    Vigor:
    - loss of sense of well being
    - difficulty concentrating
    - depression
    - irritability and nervousness
    - alternation in behavioral patterns
    - change in sleep habits/insomnia

    Vitality
    - decrease in hair density
    - reduction in masculinity
    - decrease in muscle mass and strength

    Virility
    decline in sexual function and interest, diminished libido and erictile dysfunction (ED)
    - decrease in bone mass (osteoporosis)

    Andropause
    At around puberty, the important male hormone, testosterone, reaches adult levels. For a long time it was believed that men maintain adequate levels of testosterone throughout life. Many men in their fifties or older however, experience a progressive decline in their energy, vitality, sexual performance and mental capacity. This decline has been labeled "Andropause." The causes of andropause are believed to be a reduction in testosterone and other androgens. The testicles show a progressive annual drop of 1-1.5% in testoterone output after age 30. Furthermore, as men age, a 1-2% in both Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) has been documented. The clinical manifestations of andropause usually lag ten to twenty years behind the onset of hormone decline. Statistically, andropause effects at least 40% of men ages 55-65, and up to 80% of those aged 65 years or more.
    Knowing the levels of the 6-8 hormones measured in the Male Hormone Panels helps you formulate an effective plan to relieve andropausal symptoms.

    Regular Male Hormonal Panel (MHP)
    Several years ago, Diagnos-Techs, Inc. introduced the first salivary Male Hormonal Panel which evaluates the androgen pathway by measuring the free fractions of the hormones shown below.


    FIGURE 1. Pathways of testosterone biosynthesis and action. In men, testosterone biosynthesis occurs almost exclusively in mature Leydig cells by the enzymatic sequences illustrated. Cholesterol originates predominantly by de novo synthesis pathway from acetyl‑CoA with luteinizing hormone regulating the rate‑limiting step, the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone within mitochondria, while remaining enzymatic steps occur in smooth endoplasmic reticulum. The 5 and 4 steroidal pathways are on the left and right, respectively. Testosterone and its androgenic metabolite, dihydrotestosterone, exert biological effects directly through binding to the androgen receptor and indirectly through aromatization of testosterone to estradiol, which allows action via binding to the ER. The androgen and ERs are members of the steroid nuclear receptor superfamily with highly homologous structure differing mostly in the C-terminal ligand binding domain. The LH receptor has the structure of a G-protein linked receptor with its characteristic seven transmembrane spanning helical regions and a large extracellular domain which binds the LH molecule which is a dimeric glycoprotein hormone consisting of an α subunit common to other pituitary glycoprotein hormones and a β subunit specific to LH. Most sex steroids bind to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) which binds tightly and carries the majority of testosterone in the bloodstream.

    1. Progesterone is a precursor to all androgens and is a physiologic modulator of DHT production
    2. DHEA & DHEA-S, the main adrenal androgens are the precursors to both testerone and estradiol, and the limiting factor in their production especially under stress.
    3. Androstenedione, another adrenal androgen and precursor to estrone is freely inter-convertible with testosterone.
    4. Estrone is the major estrogen in mend and is the product of peripheral aromatization of androstenedione in fat and muscle tissue.
    5 & 6 Testosterone, the dominant testicular androgen, is the precursor to 5-dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The androgenic effect in various tissues is not exerted by testosterone buy by the locally produced DHT.

    Expanded male hormone Panel (eMHP)
    This panel includes all the 6 tests in the regular MHP, plus FSH and LH. Sallivary quantitation of FSH and LH is a technological breakthrough that seperates Diagnos-Techs from the crowd of copycat laboratores. Testosterone and sperm production in males are the equivalent of estrogen and ovulation in females. The pituitary neurohormones, FSH, and LH, stimulate and regulate sperm atogenesis and testosterone production respectively.

    • Early detection of an increase in FSH and LH levels is indicative of a progressive decline in male sexuality and functionality. The clinical utility of the Male Hormone Panel is shown in the:
    • Measuring of baseline hormones
    • Diagnosing andropause and hypogonadism
    • Therapeutic monitoring of HRT
    • Balancing of hormones
    • Investigating of prostate hypertrophy, thinning of hair and hirsutism
    • Evaluating of low-libido in both sexes


    Beneficial Effects
    Following the use of MHP/eMHP, treatment plans using hormones to replace the balance of endogenous production usually produce several positive effects:

    • Increase of fitness and sense of well-being
    • Decrease of body fat and increase in lean body mass
    • Resolution of hormone dependent libido problems
    • Prevention of hair thinning
    • Increase of hematocrit and RBC counts
    • Mitigation of esteoporosis and stimulation of bone formation
    • Decrease in total cholesterol, increase in HDL

    *Note* Unmonitored male HRT may account for increased incidence of prostatic complications, liver cancer, and accelerated atherosclerosis.

    Let's move on to the compound definitions/dosages and cycle ideas...

    THE BASE CYCLE: A lot of places you will find what the best thing is for a starter cycle and now that our science and knowledge have evolved the best thing to use is Testosterone. But why? Because your body produces Testosterone and it’s what makes use males, males! Every steroid is based on a Anabolic to Androgenic (AAS – Anabolic Androgenic Steroids) ratio which based on the original Testosterone AAS ratio.
    Let’s take a look to see what Testosterone is and what it does (very good information about this in the Anabolics book).

    • The male hormone which is released by both the adrenal gland and the testicles, promotes the development of male characteristics
    • Testosterone is the hormone responsible for many different physical and mental characteristics in males. It promotes sex drive, fat loss, helps with gaining and maintaining lean muscle mass and bone density and may even protect against heart disease.(1) All other steroids are actually the testosterone molecule that has been altered to change the properties of the hormone. This would make testosterone the "father" of all other steroids employed by athletes today. In fact, testosterone is the standard for the anabolic/androgenic ratio we use, it´s a "perfect" 100 score, against which we measure all other steroids
    .
    • Testosterone is a highly anabolic and androgenic hormone, it has an anabolic (muscle building) rating of 100, making it a good drug to use if one is in pursuit of more size and strength.

    • Testosterone promotes nitrogen retention in the muscle (2) the more nitrogen the muscles holds the more protein the muscle stores. Testosterone can also increase the levels of another anabolic hormone, IGF-1, in muscle tissue (3). Testosterone also has the amazing ability to increase the activity of satellite cells (4). These cells play a very active role in repairing damaged muscle. Testosterone also binds to the androgen receptor to promote A.R dependant mechanisms for muscle gain and fat loss, (5) it also significantly increases the concentrations of the A. R in cells critical for muscle repair and growth and A.R in muscle.(4, 6 ). Testosterone induces changes in shape, size and also can change the appearance and the number of muscle fibers (7). Androgens like testosterone can protect your hard earned muscle from the catabolic (muscle wasting) glucocorticoid hormones (8), thus inhibiting the actions of them. In addition, Testosterone has the ability to increase red blood cell production (9), and a higher RBC count may improve endurance via better oxygenated blood. More RBCs can also improve recovery from strenuous physical activity. As you may have suspected, Testosterones´ anabolic/androgenic effects are dose dependant, the higher the dose the higher the muscle building effect (10).
    Ok so what can i experience using Testosterone?
    • Massive strength gains while using testosterone (11). Testosterone improves muscle contraction by increasing the number of motor neutrons in muscle (4) and improves neuromuscular transmission (12). It also promotes glycogen synthesis (13) providing more fuel for intense workouts thus increasing endurance and strength. Also note that the water retention from testosterone use will cause the muscle to spring back when compressed during the lowering of a weight. Testosterone promotes aggressive and dominant behavior (14), this would explain the boost of confidence which gives athletes the mental edge they need to move the heavy iron.

    Cycle examples:

    CYCLE: Most common starter cycles range from 8-14 weeks but best experienced at 12 weeks
    Weeks :
    1 – 12 Testosterone Enanthate @ 400-500mg per week.
    1 – 12 Testosterone Cypionate @ 400-500mg per week.
    1 – 12 Testosterone Propionate @ 100mg every other day.
    1 – 12 Sustanon 250 (blend of 4 different testosterones) @ 400-500mg per week.
    PCT (Post Cycle Therapy) will start when the half life of the steroid is complete.

    Basic Bulking Cycles
    Weeks
    1 – 14 Testosterone E or C @ 500mgs – 800 mgs per week
    1 – 13 Deca @ 400mgs per week
    PCT (Post Cycle Therapy) will start when the half life of the steroid is complete. (15 days)

    1 – 16 Sustanon250 @ 750mgs per week
    1 – 16 Equipose @ 600mgs per week
    PCT (Post Cycle Therapy) will start when the half life of the steroid is complete. (21 days)

    Adding Dianabol is a choice at the start of a cycle; Weeks 1 – 5 @ 50mgs per day.

    Basic Cutting Cycles
    Weeks
    1 – 12 Testosterone P @ 100mgs every other day
    1 – 10 Trenbolone A @ 75mgs every other day
    PCT (Post Cycle Therapy) will start when the half life of the steroid is complete. (3 days)
    1 – 12 Testosterone P @ 150mgs every other day
    6 – 12 Winstrol @ 50mgs everyday
    PCT (Post Cycle Therapy) will start when the half life of the steroid is complete. (3 days)

    Anavar can be added; Weeks 1 – 4 @ 50mgs every day &/or 7 – 12 @ 75mgs every day.

    Advanced cycles (experienced users) you can look into substances such as;
    Primobolan, Anadrol, Insulin, Growth Hormone, Halotestin, Masteron, IGF – 1 and many more.
    That’s what I can cover on the basis of Testosterone & Cycles.
    -Anthony

    Esters: What is the different between these types of Testosterones?
    One can find compounds like testosterone cypionate, enanthate, propionate, heptylate; caproate, phenylpropionate, isocaproate, decanoate, acetate, the list goes on and on. In all such cases the parent hormone is testosterone, which had been modified by adding an ester (enanthate, propionate etc.) to its structure. The following question arises: What is the difference between the various esterified versions of testosterone in regards to their use in bodybuilding?
    An ester is a chain composed primarily of carbon and hydrogen atoms. This chain is typically attached to the parent steroid hormone at the 17th carbon position (beta orientation), although some compounds do carry esters at position 3 (for the purposes of this article it is not crucial to understand the exact position of the ester). Esterification of an injectable anabolic/androgenic steroid basically accomplishes one thing, it slows the release of the parent steroid from the site of injection. This happens because the ester will notably lower the water solubility of the steroid, and increase its lipid (fat) solubility. This will cause the drug to form a deposit in the muscle tissue, from which it will slowly enter into circulation as it is picked up in small quantities by the blood. Generally, the longer the ester chain, the lower the water solubility of the compound, and the longer it will take to for the full dosage to reach general circulation.
    Slowing the release of the parent steroid is a great benefit in steroid medicine, as free testosterone (or other steroid hormones) previously would remain active in the body for a very short period of time (typically hours). This would necessitate an unpleasant daily injection schedule if one wished to maintain a continuous elevation of testosterone (the goal of testosterone replacement therapy). By adding an ester, the patient can visit the doctor as infrequently as once per month for his injection, instead of having to constantly re-administer the drug to achieve a therapeutic effect. Clearly without the use of an ester, therapy with an injectable anabolic/androgen would be much more difficult.

    Esterification temporarily deactivates the steroid molecule. With a chain blocking the 17th beta position, binding to the androgen receptor is not possible (it can exert no activity in the body). In order for the compound to become active the ester must therefore first be removed. This automatically occurs once the compound has filtered into blood circulation, where esterase enzymes quickly cleave off (hydrolyze) the ester chain. This will restore the necessary hydroxyl (OH) group at the 17th beta position, enabling the drug to attach to the appropriate receptor. Now and only now will the steroid be able to have an effect on skeletal muscle tissue. You can start to see why considering testosterone cypionate much more potent than enanthate makes little sense, as your muscles are seeing only free testosterone no matter what ester was used to deploy it.

    ACTIONS OF DIFFERENT ESTERS
    There are many different esters that are used with anabolic/androgenic steroids, but again, they all do basically the same thing. Esters vary only in their ability to reduce a steroid's water solubility. An ester like propionate for example will slow the release of a steroid for a few days, while the duration will be weeks with a decanoate ester. Esters have no effect on the tendency for the parent steroid to convert to estrogen or DHT (dihydrotestosterone: a more potent metabolite) nor will it effect the overall muscle-building potency of the compound. Any differences in results and side effects that may be noted by bodybuilders who have used various esterified versions of the same base steroid are just issues of timing. Testosterone enanthate causes estrogen related problems more readily than Sustanon, simply because with enanthate testosterone levels will peak and trough much sooner (1-2 week release duration as opposed to 3 or 4). Likewise testosterone suspension is the worst in regards to gyno and water bloat because blood hormone levels peak so quickly with this drug. Instead of waiting weeks for testosterone levels to rise to their highest point, here we are at most looking at a couple of days. Given an equal blood level of testosterone, there would be no difference in the rate of aromatization or DHT conversion between different esters. There is simply no mechanism for this to be possible.
    There is however one way that we can say an ester does technically effect potency; it is calculated in the steroid weight. The heavier the ester chain, the greater is its percentage of the total weight. In the case of testosterone enanthate for example, 250mg of esterified steroid (testosterone enanthate) is equal to only 180mg of free testosterone. 70mgs out of each 250mg injection is the weight of the ester. If we wanted to be really picky, we could consider enanthate slightly MORE potent than cypionate (I know this goes against popular thinking) as its ester chain contains one less carbon atom (therefore taking up a slightly smaller percentage of total weight). Propionate would of course come out on top of the three, releasing a measurable (but not significant) amount more testosterone per injection than cypionate or enanthate.

    Bulking or Cutting: Now we move on to more experienced cycles, you have the choice of bulking or cutting.
    Bulking you want to add weight so your calories have to be higher and sourced from good foods.
    Cutting is maintaining muscles while loosing fat which means you need to watch your calorie intake and increase cardio. NO STEROID IS MADE SPECIFICLY FOR FAT LOSS but it will bind to your AR receptors and assist in fat loss. Cutting steroids will help you look harder and more vascular when your bf% is low.

    When it comes to bulk cycles and other cycles the use of AI substances will help to lower estrogen levels when they become too high so you won’t experience heavy sides effects.

    Females and AAS

    The use of anabolic steroids by female bodybuilders is an issue which sparks controversy in media circles and a degree of secrecy in the world of bodybuilding. Ask any male competitor what drugs he uses on and off season and you will usually get a fairly honest response maxibolin_zoom(some are even prone to exaggeration!). On the other hand, steroid use in the female bodybuilding world is still shrouded, to some extent, in a veil of secrecy. Few women will open up (except possibly to their closest friends) and reveal exactly which anabolic substances they're using. The tendency amongst women is to underplay their use of steroids for reasons best known to them. Perhaps there's still a stigma attached to the use of what are essentially male hormones. I doubt if women would be so guarded if you were to ask what kind of estrogen replacement therapy they were using!

    Now don't get me wrong, I am not attacking female bodybuilders here (after all, I consider myself to be one!), I'm merely questioning why, when it comes to anabolic steroid use, there's such a veil of secrecy? After all, how can women make safe choices when it comes to steroid selection and use if there's no real information out there to assist them? With this in mind, I have decided to produce a series of articles discussing the role of anabolic steroids by female bodybuilders. To kick things off, let's begin this series with a basic introduction, which I will call. . .


    WOMEN AND STEROIDS...THE BASICS

    Due to their hormonal make up, female athletes need to take a different approach to the use of steroids than their male counterparts. The specific compounds considered to be the safest for use by women are Anavar, Primobolan, Nolvadex, Winstrol, Maxibolin and Durabolin. It's also very important to note that even on low doses of these particular steroids, some women will develop virilizing effects. This is due to the fact that any amount of steroid introduced into the female endocrine system will trigger a reaction, since it's essentially a derivative of a male hormone. With this in mind, it's always recommended that low dosages of weak androgenic steroids are used for short periods of time.

    SIDE EFFECTS

    Most common side effects experienced by women using steroids are:

    * Acne and oily skin
    * Aggression
    * Male pattern baldness
    * Lowering of voice tone
    * Disruption of menstrual cycle
    * Clitoral enlargement
    * Increased hair growth on face, legs and arms

    More positive side effects of steroid use in women would be:

    * Increased feeling of well being
    * Increased energy
    * Decreased recovery time from workouts
    * Heightened sex drive
    * Muscle and strength gain
    * Decreases in estrogenic fat (e.g. upper legs, abdomen, upper arms, butt)


    COMMONLY USED STEROIDS BY FEMALE BODYBUILDERS

    The most commonly used steroids by women are Anavar, Primobolan, Winstrol and Nandrolone Phenylpropionate. So let's take a closer look at these substances:

    * Anavar (oxandralone) - This is one of the mildest anabolic out there. Its androgenic activity is also extremely low. Most women who fear side effects usually opt for low dose (5-10mg/day) short duration (6-8 weeks) cycles. Anavar usually produces good gains in strength and reasonable gains in quality muscle mass with little in the way of side effects.

    * Primobolan Depot (methenolone enanthate) - Primobolan has long been a favorite with female bodybuilders since it does not primoject_zoomconvert to estrogen and produces very little in the way of water retention. Most women use 25-50mg/week for about 8-10 weeks. Side effects with Primobolan can include oily skin, acne and a possible increase in facial/body hair. Primobolan can be slow to take effect but its long duration of action can produce some pretty dramatic results in women. These steady lean muscle gains are unique in that they don't seem to be dependent on a ‘hyper-caloric' diet.

    * Winstrol (stanozolol)- This substance can be taken orally or via injection (some even drink the injectable form). Winstrol is a good mass builder and produces significant gains in strength. However, many women do not like it due to its tendency to produce androgenic side effects such as male pattern baldness, voice deepening, acne and clitoral enlargement. One way to avoid these sides is to keep the dose low (e.g. 5-10mg/day). Since Winstrol can be stressful on the liver, it's also wise to include a liver protecting supplement such as Milk Thistle or Liv- 52. If the injectable form is being used, 12.5mg every 2nd to 3rd day is ideal.

    * Durabolin (nandrolone phenylpropionate) - Also known as "fast-acting Deca", this is another drug often used by female durabol_frontbodybuilders. This drug produces slow and steady gains in strength and lean muscle tissue. Even though it‘s only slightly androgenic, it can produce side effects such as excess facial and body hair. However, unlike its longer-acting cousin, Deca Durabolin, NPP causes significantly less in the way of water retention and severe masculinizing side effects such as thickening of the jawline and deepening of the voice. The usual dosage for this compound is 50mg/week.

    * Maxibolin (Ethlestrenol)
    This is a low androgenic oral steroid, which is derived from the 19-nortestosterone parent molecule. This drug is popular with women who favor its high anabolic, low androgenic, compounds. Although hard to find nowadays, many women athletes feel this drug is quite effective for quality muscle gains with minimal water retention. Effective dosages range from 5-15mg per day for women.


    OTHER DRUGS FAVORED BY WOMEN

    While the above-mentioned drugs could be considered the basic introductory compounds, they are by no means the only drugs used by women...and this is where the grey area lies! Most women will freely mention the above drugs as part of their cycle. When it comes to contest preparation they'll also talk about Clenbuterol and T3 use (which will be discussed in greater depth in future articles); however, the truth of the matter is that many competitors also use substances like Equipoise, Turinabol, Dianabol and Testosterone. In fact, the use of testosterone by female bodybuilders is perhaps the most closely guarded secret amongst competitors. Those who are willing to talk about its use usually cite the propionate ester as their testosterone of choice with 25-50mg being injected every 5-7 days by the cautious and doses far exceeding this by the highly adventurous (crazy) women. -Leigh Penman

    PCT OVERVIEW

    PCT's dont change dramatically, I dont think, even for supplement(s) cycles.

    There seems to be a never ending number of, "What PCT for Sust/Deca?", "What PCT for Dbol/Test?".

    When using androgens, that cause shutdown or inhibtion, the PCT should remain, mostly, unchanged. 95% of cycles cause complete shutdown (shutdown of endogenous testosterone production). Cyles containing Testosterone or 19-Nors, will cause almost complete testicular shutdown. Therfore an aggressive PCT is needed.

    Use an AI if you havent used one when "on" to lower estrogen, which is extremely suppressive (leydig cells) during PCT.

    Use proven SERMs (Clomid, Nolva).

    Use Tormifene, which has recently been reported to be the best SERM at restarting an inhibited HPTA.

    Use HCG when "on" to maintain testicular size/function.

    My advice is:

    Steroid/ProHormone cycle causing HPTA shutdown (HCG may not be needed in cycles below 6 weeks IMHO)

    Use HCG 125-250ius 2-3 times weekly. 10-15 days from PCT, ramp your HCG to 250-500ius and ramp you AI slightly. This will cause a spike in endogenous testosterone and aromotase. We then use PCT to restart GnRH from the hypothalamus and LH/FSH from the pituitary. When beginning PCT, which to another AI also.

    wk 1-5 Clomid 25-50mg/ED OR Torm 120/60mg/ED
    wk 1-5 Nolva 20mg/ED OR Torm 60mg/ED
    *Aromasin 25mg/ED OR Arimidex 0.5-1mg/ED

    Tribulas or another labido enhancer (Proviron).

    Supplement cycle inhibiting the HPTA

    wk 1-4 Clomid 25-50mg/ED OR Torm 60mg/ED
    wk 1-4 Nolva 20mg/ED

    Trib or another libido enhancer.
    NapsGear

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    Sorry so long.... ALot of good info
    NapsGear

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    There is a lot of good info here but there is a good bit that is outdated. Needless to say it is more beneficial than not. If anyone has a question about something in this article and whether or not it is current please post here to get an answer. Some of the techniques recommended can now be replaced with more effective solutions. This is still a great must read for anyone looking to learn about AAS. Good post. Any questions please ask.



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    This is awesome, thanks!

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    great post. Lots of good info for a newbie. nice job. Now if we can just get them to read it................................................

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    Quote Originally Posted by tgb1987 View Post
    there is a lot of good info here but there is a good bit that is outdated.
    +1

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    Good info! This should probably be a sticky, assuming one of the mods updates it.
    I'm priming right now, then starting my first cycle. How quickly can I bump up calories once I start? Does increasing 500cal/week sound reasonable?

    I know this will depend on how I gain, but I was hoping there was a general consensus on this so as to avoid fat gain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hubauer View Post
    Good info! This should probably be a sticky, assuming one of the mods updates it.
    I'm priming right now, then starting my first cycle. How quickly can I bump up calories once I start? Does increasing 500cal/week sound reasonable?

    I know this will depend on how I gain, but I was hoping there was a general consensus on this so as to avoid fat gain.

    How many calories are you eating now? Increasing 500cal/week is fine but depending on your weight you are going to have make sure you are taking in enough calories to support growth when on cycle. Doing the priming is mainly to set your body for more growth by cycling your carbs so once you increase your body will respond by loading up the muscles. Any time you go into a bulking cycle you are going to have to eat enough calories for growth. When bulking you are going to add some fat and water but since you primed, your body should be able to handle it well if that makes sense. Then after your cycle try to shed off any excess fat you may of gained.



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    Willread thisalllater, thanks OP

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    Quote Originally Posted by TGB1987 View Post
    How many calories are you eating now?
    I'm finishing up my cut with UD2.0, so not much on weekdays, but I have been eating an average of 2500cal/day. And I want to work up to 4000-4500cal/day pretty fast. I'm not that worried about fat gain, but would like to minimize it if possible.

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    I wouldn't worry too much about upping the calories. Increase a couple hundred a day and you will get there quickly.



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    I vote to sticky this

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    A good read for anyone. A good refresher for the old, and a good start for the new.

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    It was a very good start for me... gave me some good knowledge to go off of to start my journey known as AAS
    NapsGear

    Light Days; What is that? Some kind of tampon?

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    Great post with a lot of good info but I have a few questions.

    1- What role does Toremifene (fareston) play in modern pct. I have been reading as much as I can but I have never heard this compound mentioned, and the PCT at the bottom of the post seems to use it interchangeably with clomid and nolva.
    2. If you are using any 19-Nor compounds in your cycle are there any other side effects or PCT issues that you should be concerned with?
    3. HCG dosage and timing seem to be all over the place from "post to post". What are your recommendations on this? And are there any clinical studies with persons that are "on cycle" that we can look at?

    To TGB1987 and many others here.
    Your posts and info have been consistent, backed up by studies and the experiences of many of the seniors and mods here so I would like your opinion on my questions. I appreciate all of you work, thank you.

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    Thanks from newbie!

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    Thanks from a new guy. Read EVERY word!

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    read it all - where to go from here?

    I keep reading about all the bad sites to stay away from but never hear of a solid mention of a good reliable site that doesn't look like a plug from the site itself. new to supplements and looking for some direction.

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    I'm getting my baseline bloodwork done this week. I'm following the cheap test (female hormone panel) as found in another thread (yes, it is fine for a guy to do this test). Quick blood test from a LabCorp. It measures:
    - Comp. Metabolic Panel(14);
    - CBC with Differential/Platelet;
    - Estradiol; FSH (Serum);
    - Luteinizing Hormone (LH) (S);
    - and Testosterone (Serum).


    I understand from the article above that you want to know lipids as well.


    My question is, since this test only measures the above listed levels, how important would it be to order the separate tests for SHBG, IGF-1, and testosterone (free) to establish those baselines? Is it important to know these other three levels as a baseline to compare with a post-PCT blood test, or is this basic test sufficient?


    Thank you for your experience.
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