Mar 25, 2014

Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate) Explained

Clomid is a selective estrogen receptor modulator similar to Tamoxifen. Clomid is typically used to induce ovulation in females by blocking estrogen in selective tissue in the body. Clomid opposes the negative feedback of estrogens on the Hypothalamic Pituitary Ovarian Axis which enhances the release of LH and FSH. Some women report a reduction in female pattern fat deposits when employing a selective estrogen receptor modulator during an anabolic androgenic steroid cycle but typically Nolvadex would be preferred for this purpose over Clomid.

I consider Clomid the recovery drug and would never go into post cycle therapy without it. In men, the effects of Clomid are much more pronounced than women as an increase in FSH and LH will cause a rise in natural Testosterone. After just 7 days of Clomiphene citrate administration (100mg daily), mean serum total T and non-SHBG-bound levels in young men increased by a whopping 100% and 304%, respectively, while in older men these values increased by only 32% and 8%, Similar to previous observations, LH and FSH levels showed a significant elevation in response to Clomiphene citrate over the response to placebo.

Clomid is a very useful compound at the end of an anabolic steroid cycle because Testosterone quickly falls below baseline levels when anabolic steroids are withdrawn. This decline in Testosterone then allows the effects of cortisol to wreak havoc on our new muscle. We quickly go from an anabolic to a catabolic state. Thankfully this crash can be mitigated with Clomid. Clomiphene restores normal testosterone levels and improves sperm motility in most male patients. Clomid may be used on cycle to block the effects of estrogen in male breast tissue therefore reducing the likelihood of gynecomastia however Nolvadex seems the preferred medicine for this purpose. Additionally, Clomid supports improved cardiovascular values.

So how do we maximize the benefits of this recovery medicine? First we need to determine the clearance time of the aas being used. In other words, how long will it take for the anabolic steroid to reach baseline Testosterone levels? Most  anabolic steroids have a published duration in which they are no longer elevating Testosterone above natural levels but this is only an estimate as cycle duration, scar tissue and many multiple depots may extend release times of the aas administered when using injectable compounds. Once it’s determined when to employ Clomid, therapy should be about 4-6 weeks in duration. I like to start with a dose of 50-100mg’s daily for 3 weeks and then reduce that dose to 50mg daily the remainder of the therapy. I recommend getting labs after Clomid therapy to determine if recovery was successful. If not, another Clomid course may be needed.

Clomid users have reported various side effects like dizziness, vision problems, emotional swings and nausea. I personally have had mild vision issues while on Clomid but they went away when I stopped using the medicine. Overall Clomid is a relatively safe compound and in my estimation an absolute necessity for proper recovery.

Mar 20, 2014

Anabolic Steroids for Beauty

The potential benefits for an athlete, whether professional or amateur, are well known. Of course, these users have to consider the negative aspects of this usage; the damaging health effects, the illegality, the immorality, and if caught, the loss of prestige, of reputation, and possibly also a decent sized paycheck. Another common group of users of anabolic steroids are those taking them to achieve the effects for vanity reasons.

In our modern society, there is increasing pressure to the meet that high standards the media present to us with regard to physique, and the ideality of sexual attractiveness, the need for perfection. This compels us to meet this requirement, another version of the sports world mantra to win at any cost. Here, the door opens for anabolic steroid usage.

In 2006, researchers conducted an anonymous study through anabolic steroids use forums, whereupon they discovered that 78.4% of users were non-competitive athletes or body builders. This shocking figure leads to the question of why these users feel the need to push so hard. They want to bulk up, to become more attractive. Many users of anabolic steroids that do so for vanity purposes are reported to have a poor image of themselves. In fact, many vanity driven anabolic steroid users share the same acute misconceptions with regard to their bodies as those who suffer from anorexia or bulimia; it is in fact a symptom of a mental disorder. These users are also likely to have an addiction to anabolic steroids.

There are many myths and rumors surrounding addiction in association with anabolic steroids. It is widely accepted that there are two forms of addicition: mental, whereby the mind tells the body of the need, and physical, where the body becomes reliant on a chemical compound. Addiction can also be affected by the concepts of nature, an innate (perhaps hereditary) requirement, or nurture, a learned need. Herein lies the problem in anabolic steroid abuse. An individual commences use of the performance enhancer for one reason, yet continually uses the drug for a unknowing different reason. First time users, particularly those taking the substance for vanity purposes, insist to themselves that they will only do one cycle of anabolic steroids to kick start their routine of continuous physical improvement. An addictive high may result from the increased self-esteem, the commendation from others, the interest from the opposite sex, and so forth. The changes, both physically and in self-image, are gratifying, and lead to the want of more.

Users who take anabolic steroids for vanity are headed for just as much trouble as the pro footballer, but likely in a different way. As far as the law in concerned, you are just as much at fault. You are still taking the very serious risks with your health. And you are cheating yourself to that idealistic (and likely disproportionate) image of how you want your body to look. It is not only men who can fall prey to the appeal of improving physical aesthetics in this way. In the same way that men aim to increase their masculinity (an obvious effect of taking a testosterone based substance), women have been known to take it to increase their femininity by defining their curves and muscle lines.

Mar 13, 2014

Lonely men have higher testosterone levels

Men who socialise more produce less testosterone than men who live an isolated existence. It’s possible to deduce this from an animal study that researchers at the University of Padova in Italy.

Social environment determines to a large extent the amount of Testosterone that men produce. Athletes, for example, produce more testosterone when they win a competition – especially if it’s a home meeting. Even just thinking about previous conquests can boost athletes’ testosterone levels. That’s why biologists sometimes refer to testosterone as ‘the winners’ hormone’.

According to the Italians, this view of matters is not entirely correct. They measured the hormone levels in the blood of two groups of mice. One group had lived from birth in a cage with five other mice; the other group lived in individual cages.

When, after two and six months, the researchers measured the amount of testosterone and DHEA circulating in the mice’s bodies, they observed on both occasions that the mice living in isolation manufactured three times as much testosterone. The DHEA concentration was also higher in the isolated animals. So testosterone is not just the ‘winners’ hormone’ but also the ‘hormone of the lonely’.

The researchers suspect that living in groups is stressful for animals, and that this causes their testosterone level to decrease.

Before the advent of synthetic testosterone it was not unusual for athletes, strongmen and gladiators to live in relative isolation, devoting themselves to their sport or discipline away from society. Perhaps the Italian study helps understand why this was so.

Mar 7, 2014

Anabolic Steroids, High Blood Pressure, and the Kidneys

When discussing anabolic steroid use and its known side effects, it is not uncommon to see bodybuilders express concern over potential liver injury or other cardiovascular health issues. However, we are now starting to see a much larger contingent of our community suffering from an equally serious, although less frequently recognized side effect in kidney disease/failure. This is a fairly recent phenomenon, which started in earnest about 10-15 years ago. Although there were certainly documented cases of kidney disease/failure prior to this, they were not nearly as prevalent as they are today. Although there are many potential causes of kidney failure, in this article we are going to limit ourselves to those most often attributed to the bodybulding lifestyle.

Unfortunately, there is no single cause associated with kidney failure in bodybulders. Often, it is an accumulative effect brought on by the presence of multiple stressors affecting the body at one time, but before we can pinpoint these causes, we must first understand how anabolic steroids affect the body, as well as possess a basic understanding of how the kidneys work to protect the body from toxins.

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs which sit below the ribcage; one on each side of the spine. Their primary job is to filter the blood of toxins, which they do at a rate of roughly 120-150 quarts of blood per day. From this, they produce about 1-2 quarts of urine, which is then transported from the kidneys to the bladder for disposal.

The kidneys do not work as single, large filtering mechanism. Rather, each one contains about 1 million tiny filtering units called nephrons, which work to purify the blood at a microscopic level. Each of these nephrons contains a tubule, as well as its own filter (called a glomerulus). Just as the digestive system works in a multi-step process to break down food for absorption, nephrons also work through 2–step process to filter the blood. As blood moves through the glomerulus, it allows fluid and waste products to pass through it, while preventing large molecules, such as blood cells and proteins, from doing so. Afterward, this pre-filtered fluid is then sent through the tubules, which further refines the blood by separating toxins from beneficial substances, such as minerals. Ultimately, everything useful is sent back into circulation, while the final concentrated waste product becomes urine.

Let’s pause there for a second and transfer our attention over to a common side effect associated with AAS use - high blood pressure. Anabolic steroids have been thought to increase blood pressure through a variety of possible mechanisms, but it is their sodium retaining properties which are the primary cause of high blood pressure in most users. When anabolic steroids are administered they inhibit an enzyme known as 11-beta hydroxylase, which leads to the increased production of deoxycorticosterone and the subsequent retention of sodium and water. While AAS can vary substantially in their ability to influence this enzyme, as a general rule, the higher the dose employed, the more this enzyme is inhibited. Therefore, high dose users are more likely to experience elevated blood pressure compared to low-dose users.

High blood pressure is frequently implicated as a risk factor in cardiovascular disease and rightly so, but what about its effect on renal (kidney) function? Unfortunately, high blood pressure is a direct cause of renal stress and a leading contributor in the development of kidney failure. In fact, high blood pressure is the №2 cause of kidney failure in the United States right behind diabetes, being responsible for a full 28+% of documented cases and this number has only continued to grow over the last decade. With high blood pressure being one of the most common side effects associated with AAS use, one might think that it would garner more attention among the drug using community, but sadly, it does not.

When blood pressure is high, blood vessels stretch so that blood can flow more easily. This chronic stretching eventually weakens and scars the blood vessels of the kidneys, damaging them and impairing their ability to work properly. Once damaged, they become inefficient at waste and fluid removal. On top of the resulting toxin build-up, the inability to remove excess fluid can elevate blood pressure even more, resulting in a dangerous cycle.

Although anabolic steroid use alone is a potentially significant contributor to kidney disease/failure, as mentioned above, there are usually multiple causes involved in its development. Another potential risk factor is the use of nephrotoxic agents, such as NSAID’s. With anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen being routinely implicated in the development of kidney disease/failure and with many bodybuilders regularly using these drugs to treat various aches and pains, this risk factor should not be ignored. For anabolic steroids steroid using bodybuilders, the over-use of NSAID’s may be all it takes to enter stage 1 kidney failure, followed by entrance into the later stages if not addressed. Therefore, nephrotoxic drugs should be used sparingly and only as needed. In cases of chronic pain and inflammation, one should seek speak with their physician regarding alternative treatments.