Andro And Other Prohormones

Androstenedione has been sold as a nutritional supplement for almost four years now. During that time much has been learned about it. Also during that time androstenedione, and other next generation andro products, have received considerable media attention. Unfortunately most of that media attention has been unjustifiably negative. It is the purpose of this package to reveal the facts about prohormones, and to counter some of the inaccurate criticisms that have been leveled towards them.

What are prohormones?

Prohormones are naturally occurring compounds, of little or no biological activity, that the human body can convert to active hormones. For instance androstenedione converts in the body to testosterone. The conversion occurs with the help of certain enzymes. However, since the levels of these enzymes in the body are finite, there are strict limitations to the amount of prohormone that can be activated (the importance of this fact cannot be overemphasized!!) These limitations prevents testosterone levels from being elevated much beyond the natural range seen in young men, despite the dosage taken.

What are the health benefits of prohormones?

A discussion of the health benefits of androstenedione and other testosterone prohormones is really the same thing as a discussion of the benefits of testosterone. More specifically, it is a discussion of the health benefits of moderate increases in testosterone levels, as prohormones (unlike active anabolic steroids) are unable to increase testosterone to ranges much beyond the natural physiological upper limit.

Prohormones were originally marketed to bodybuilders and athletes to provide a safe and legal alternative to anabolic steroids, which are controlled substances and have the potential for harmful effects if abused. These people take prohormones to aid in recuperation from training and to aid in the development of their musculature. Many have found prohormones to be quite effective in this regard, especially those who’s testosterone levels have been suppressed from intense training (endurance athletes, pre competition bodybuilders) or those whose testosterone levels are naturally low. Athletes with normal or high normal testosterone levels to begin with have also reported benefits, although usually not as dramatic as the previous type.

Although up until now prohormones have been used primarily by younger athletes, the real target market is aging males with declining testosterone levels.

Andropause
After the age of 30 men experience a continuous slow (average of 1-2% a year) decline of testosterone levels. The syndrome of low testosterone levels in aging males is known as Male Menopause, or Andropause. Symptoms of andropause are

Depression
Decreased ability to concentrate
Memory loss
Loss of libido, erectile dysfunction
Diminished muscle mass, strength, and stamina
Bone loss
Increased visceral fat
Increase in several cardiac disease risk factors

During the past 5 to 10 years, a tremendous amount of research has been performed on the effects of testosterone replacement therapy for the treatment of andropause. The evidence gathered from these studies has been overwhelmingly positive in regards to efficacy and safety of restoring testosterone levels to youthful levels. The following benefits have been reported:

Increased lean body mass and strength
Increased libido and sexual function
Improved blood lipid profiles
Increased bone mass
Cognitive improvements
Increased coronary blood flow
Improved mood, well being
Improved memory
Protection against Alzheimer’s disease

As was mentioned before, prohormones can be effectively used to raise testosterone levels into the normal to high normal range, so all these benefits of testosterone replacement can be achieved with proper use of the appropriate testosterone prohormone.

What are the REAL risks of prohormones?

Some very serious dangers have been suggested to be associated with the use of prohormones, specifically androstenedione. What should first be stated concerning this is that androstenedione has been available for nearly 4 years and there has yet to be a single valid report of any serious adverse effects that have come to our attention. Furthermore, while androstenedione use is not completely without risk for certain adverse effects, these risks have to be taken into the correct context.

Lets examine some of the dangers that have been suggested for androstenedione:

Heart Disease: This is based mostly on the traditional myth that testosterone is associated with a greater risk of heart disease, primarily because men have more heart attacks than women. Paradoxically however, studies strongly indicate that the risk for cardiovascular disease is INVERSELY related to testosterone levels in men . However, while there is no legitimate evidence that the increased testosterone from androstenedione usage can increase the risk of cardiovascular
disease, there is conflicting evidence that increased levels of estrogens may or may not be a factor.

Liver dysfunction: The accusation that androstenedione usage, or the usage of any non-synthetic androgenic hormone, can lead to liver problems is misleading and completely false. Liver dysfunction is associated with the use of a certain class of synthetic oral anabolic steroids (testosterone derivatives), but NOT with testosterone itself or any of its metabolites (prohromones).

Prostate enlargement / cancer: Researchers have found no correlation between testosterone levels and BPH / prostate cancer. Estrogen however has been suggested to be a causative factors in BPH Masculinization of females: This is a possible effect of androstenedione or any other testosterone derivative (androgen) when women use it. It is dose dependent and also dependent upon the
sensitivity of the woman to such compounds. Women can take androstenedione or other prohormones safely, however they must use small amounts and be aware of changes such as increased body hair growth or voice changes. Permanent virilization is easily avoidable if usage is stopped when these signs appear.

Stunting of growth of teenagers: Androstenedione and other prohormones have always been sold with the understanding that they are for adult use only. Teenagers using the compounds run a risk of premature epiphyseal closure, which means they may not grow to the height they normally would have. While really not a threat to health, this certainly can be a significant cosmetic concern.

Gynecomastia: Gynecomastia is the development of benign breast tissue in men. It is more of a cosmetic concern than a threatening health concern. It most commonly takes the form of small (usually visually undetectable) lumps underneath the nipples. Due to the fact that androstenedione has an unfortunately high propensity to convert to estrogens, gynecomastia can occur in susceptible males.

So while androstenedione is not the “killer” that some would make it out to be, it is associated with certain undesirable side effects. These side effects are by and large caused by estrogens that androstenedione converts to in the body. This leads us to one of the most important points of this report, and that concerns the fact that for 2 years now a much safer prohormone has been available, it is the one that people are now using, and it is the one that should have been studied all along in clinical studies.

THE ESTROGEN PROBLEM AND SOLUTION
Androstenedione can effectively raise testosterone, however it unfortunately is quite efficient at raising estrogen levels as well. As was pointed out in the potential adverse effects from androstenedione, estrogens from androstenedione are potentially problematic.

Androstenedione is good at raising estrogen levels because one of the fates it can undergo in the body (other than converting to testosterone) is a direct conversion to estrone. This can lead to a potential imbalance between testosterone and estrogen levels and that has the potential for trouble.

Luckily there are other direct metabolic precursors to testosterone naturally present in the body. One of these is the prohormone 4-androstenediol (androdiol®). Androdiol® is very efficient at raising testosterone levels; one study showed that it was three times as effective in this regard as androstenedione. Most importantly however, androdiol®cannot convert directly to estrogens, and as a result there is no extraordinary rises in estrogens seen with its use. As a consequence, almost none of the potential adverse effects suggested for androstenedione can justifiably be attributed to androdiol® as well.

A 4 week safety study was recently completed on a product containing androdiol® In this study no significant rises in estrogens was detected. Testicular production of testosterone was not affected, nor were there any significant changes in blood lipids, liver function, or kidney function. There was however significant changes in body mass, fat free mass, and vertical leap ability versus placebo. A six week study with androdiol® is currently underway which is even more comprehensive.

CONCLUSION
There are several things that we wish the reader to leave with an understanding of from this review. First of all, we want the reader to understand that the company behind the prohormone products in the United States consists of scientifically minded individuals who are dedicated to manufacturing the safest and most effective product possible, and who are also dedicated to proving safety and efficacy in clinical studies. We also wanted the reader to know the actual facts about the safety of these products, and specifically to know that one in particular is clearly superior in both safety and performance. Finally (and most importantly) it was our intention to alert the reader to the existence
of the widespread and grossly unrecognized condition known as andropause, and also to demonstrate why andropause is where the benefits of prohormones can truly improve health and quality of life for millions of people.

Above written by Patrick Arnold

Update:

Androstenedione was manufactured as a dietary supplement, often called andro (or andros) for short. Sports Illustrated credits Patrick Arnold for introducing androstenedione to the North American market.[2] Andro was legal and able to be purchased over the counter and consequently it was common use in Major League Baseball throughout the 1990s by record-breaking sluggers like Mark McGwire. The supplement is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, and hence from the Olympic Games.

On March 12, 2004, the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 was introduced into the United States Senate. It amended the Controlled Substance Act to place both anabolic steroids and prohormones on a list of controlled substances, making possession of the banned substances a federal crime. The law took effect on January 20, 2005. Surprisingly, andro was legally defined as an anabolic steroid, even though there is scant evidence that androstenedione itself is anabolic in nature.

On April 11, 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of Andro, citing that the drug poses significant health risks commonly associated with steroids.

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