The name androstenediol supplements is rarely heard in normal conversation. However, among a group of hardcore bodybuilders or athletes, one is likely to hear the name, among many other technical and scientific-sounding names. It is one of the many so-called pro-hormones and its use is highly specialized.
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So What’s a Prohormone, Again?
Prohormones are chemical compounds that are precursors of hormones. This means that through a special enzymatic process that takes place during metabolism, prohormones can be converted by the body into full-blown hormones. This gives the body the benefits (and side effects) of the increased quantities of these hormones.
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Prohormones may seem like ultra high tech substances but they have actually been around since the 1950s, when they were first used in medical science to treat certain conditions resulting from deficiencies in naturally-produced hormones.
In more recent times, the use of prohormones for non-medical purposes has become more prevalent. Prohormones have become popular among professional athletes and bodybuilders who are after the gains that increased levels of hormones (in particular testosterone) are purported to have.
Androstenediol Supplements and Friends
Androstenediol supplements is technically referred to as 4-androstenediol, abbreviated as 4-diol or 4-AD. This is an anabolic testosterone precursor; in the liver, during metabolism, an enzyme called 17-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase acts upon 4-AD to convert it to testosterone.
Among other things, this also means that 4-AD is an androgenic prohormone, or a prohormone that influences the development of masculine characteristics (more about this later). This conversion occurs in a single “step,” making androstenediol the closest thing to actual testosterone.
Similar prohormones to androstenediol include androstenedione, 19-norandrostenedione, 19-norandrostenediol, and 1-androstenediol.
All of these prohormones are similar in that they convert to testosterone, but conversion rates vary (conversion rate refers to the amount or percentage out of a single dosage that actually gets converted to testosterone). Other differences between these prohormones include the rate of aromatization to estrogen (yes, the female hormone; read on to learn more).
What does Androstenediol Supplements do?
As a potent anabolic steroid, 4-AD is primarily used by bodybuilders to increase lean muscle mass at a significantly faster rate than is possible without supplementation or prohormone use. It is this result that bodybuilders and professional athletes who depend on muscle strength are after.
When testosterone levels are increased as a result of prohormone use, the following benefits can be expected:
- increased stamina
- increased muscle growth and repair
- increased energy
- decreased body fat
- increased strength and virility
These benefits are common to all testosterone precursors. What sets androstenediol supplements apart is its conversion rate of 15.76%, a big improvement over its predecessors such as androstenedione.
This makes androstenediol much more anabolic than the others. As mentioned earlier, conversion rate is the amount out of a single dose that is actually converted or used.
In the case of androstenediol, out of the amount that is taken by a user, 15.76% of that gets converted to testosterone. Androstenediol also does not aromatize directly to estrogen. This is an important factor in the effectiveness of a prohormone.
Aromatization refers to a process during metabolism where a prohormone gets converted to a hormone other than what it is a precursor of. To illustrate, when a male uses a prohormone with a high estrogen aromatization factor, the level of estrogen present in his body actually increases, because a certain amount of the prohormone gets converted into estrogen. It is generally a good idea to avoid this (for bodybuilders, it is critical).
The increased estrogen levels can have a few benefits, none of which truly benefit bodybuilders and strength athletes, and it can also have some rather unpleasant side effects, such as a higher probability of gynecomastia (from the Greek words for “women-like breasts”).
Unfortunately, it is still possible for androstenediol supplements to convert to estrogen via secondary aromatization. However, at any rate, androstenediol supplements is much safer in this respect compared to other prohormones, in particular androstenedione, which has a high aromatization rate.
Androstenediol also does not metabolize into another androgenic hormone called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. DHT happens to be the most potent androgen of them all, but is associated with a number of negative effects such as male pattern baldness and the enlargement of the prostate gland.
This is yet another factor by which androstenediol is safer than its counterparts.
To summarize, androstenediol supplements and other testosterone precursors are primarily of interest and importance to professional athletes who require greater levels of muscular strength.
Androstenediol is considerably more anabolic than other testosterone precursors, with reduced chances of negative side effects.