While there are numerous hormones we may aptly label important in-terms of proper function and health, for men the hormone testosterone is of great importance. Both men and women require testosterone for a well-functioning body but men do so in far higher amounts then their female counterparts. While a very important hormone and largely misunderstood, testosterone is easily one of the most exciting hormones we can discuss, especially as it pertains to performance enhancing; in-fact, we can confidently say it is the most important hormone in the performance enhancing game. Without adequate levels of testosterone our goals will largely not be met and without increased levels you can in many cases wave goodbye to the idea of surpassing these goals to a great degree. As a very important hormone, in order to make the most of exogenous use, meaning in this case testosterone introduced beyond our natural production, we are best served to first have a general understanding the hormone itself and then how best to maximize its use regarding its various forms.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone belongs to a class of hormones known as androgens; in-fact this is the primary androgenic hormone. A very powerful hormone in its own right, testosterone is largely responsible for testicular and prostate development, as well as the development of muscle tissue, bone density and strength. Beyond these basic functions, testosterone is by-in-large imperative for our overall general health and well-being; low levels of testosterone can not only negatively affect muscle and bone strength but can negatively affect our state of mind.
While a member of the androgenic class of steroidal hormones, testosterone is also highly anabolic. As both androgenic and anabolic, like all steroidal hormones testosterone is derived from cholesterol and is largely regulated in terms of production by luteinizing hormones (LH) and follicle stimulating hormones (FSH). Being regulated by LH and FSH, in order for these hormones to be released the pituitary gland must first be stimulated in order to achieve this purpose; once achieved and LH and FSH are released, testicular stimulation is achieved thereby causing the production of testosterone. As you can easily see, as important as the testicles are in testosterone production, the pituitary gland is of equal importance; without adequate pituitary function natural testosterone production cannot occur.
The Birth of Exogenous Testosterone:
While a hormone we naturally produce and for centuries athletes of all types have experimented with testicular extract but true synthetic testosterone intended for human use first made its way to the scene in 1935, largely thanks to chemists Adolf Butenandt and Leopold Ruzicka who both received a Nobel Prize for their work. With the testosterone hormone now being isolated and synthesized the first successful injections of testosterone were available in the form of Testosterone-Propionate.
Once the first batches of testosterone were made available, soon after many other forms would be introduced and made ready for human use but there is something important you need to understand. All testosterone in a general sense is the same; it is the ester attached that gives it its own unique function regarding time release and duration of activity but by-in-large all exogenous testosterone is simply the same testosterone. We will explain as we go along and get into understanding half-lives.
- Click on the following link for more info on the [History of Steroids]
The Benefits of Exogenous Testosterone Use:
There are many benefits to testosterone use and while they are generally the same for anyone who uses they can be largely dose dependent in-terms of the overall effect. Many men who use testosterone simply do so as part of a hormone replacement therapy plan; the idea is to raise testosterone levels to a normal range after they have fallen short. Many other men use testosterone for an entirely different purpose; to increase levels far beyond normal in order to enhance performance. Regardless of your purpose you can expect to receive the following benefits to one degree or another:
- Increased Recovery Abilities: The most apt example revolves around training/exercise. The act of training is not when muscle is built but rather torn down; it is through the recovery process in-which muscle tissue is built. Testosterone will increase the rate of recovery, improve the efficiency of recovery in-turn leading to a more efficient and capable physique.
- Stronger Anti-Catabolic Protection: some hormones have a negative effect on muscle tissue and can promote body fat; most notable is the hormone cortisol. Testosterone can aid in blocking and reducing this negative hormone reaction ensuring your muscle tissue is protected and body fat is not accumulated.
- Increase Red Blood Cell Count: Testosterone can greatly increase your endurance; the higher the endurance will result in the ability to do more work, i.e. train. By this increase in red blood cells we are able to increase the amount of oxygen entering the blood which increases working capabilities and can lead to greater muscle tissue efficiency.
- Increased Protein Efficiency: By supplementing with testosterone we increase protein synthesis, thereby increasing the level and rate in-which we build muscle tissue or protect it in a calorie restricted diet. Further, we are able to maintain a higher level of protein storage in-part due to an increase in nitrogen production due to higher levels of testosterone.
These are all positive attributes to supplemental or exogenous testosterone use and the same effects can be achieved regardless of the form of testosterone we use. While these are not the only positive traits these are the most fundamental to our process and essential to our goals revolving around testosterone use.
There are many forms in-which testosterone can be found, as well as application methods. The most common form of application is by way of injection but there are transdermal gels and patches that may be used as well and even orally administered gel caps and tablets. While injectable testosterone is by far the most effective, all forms can be largely found in a hormone replacement plan but for the performance enhancer the injectable administration will prove to be far more efficient and desirable.
Beyond application, ester attachment is the largest difference most testosterones will display and this will be the most important aspect regarding the various types as it pertains to interest and understanding. While there are many types of testosterone, in the grand scheme there are six common forms worth discussing in detail; beyond these six there are other forms included as we will see but the following six will be of the greatest importance to you and they include:
The original testosterone; Testosterone-Propionate is one of the most popularly used forms the world over. This type of testosterone is defined by the fast-acting short ester it has attached known as the Propionate ester. The results and effects caused by this testosterone will largely be identical to all other forms but it is in the half-life it possesses where it differs to the highest degree. Testosterone-Propionate carries with it a half-life of approximately 48 hours; due to this short half-life most users will need to administer the hormone quite frequently; most performance enhancing athletes will inject this testosterone on an every other day schedule in order to maintain stable blood levels.
Milligram for milligram Testosterone-Propionate has been reported to be slightly more potent than many other testosterone forms; however, this difference is very negligible. There is another effect/benefit that is noted by many Test-Prop users as it is commonly called and it revolves around water retention. All testosterones have the ability to cause excess water retention; although very diet dependent, however, many Test-Prop users report less water retention with use as compared to other forms.
Theres no doubt about it; Testosterone-Propionate while a very simple hormonal compound is very effective and a more than solid choice in testosterone for most any athlete. Even so, some users will find this particular form difficult to use; some, the majority will not. Some individuals will find they are very sensitive to the Propionate ester and will find they experience a level of discomfort from the medication. If you fall into this category all hope is not lost; those who experience degrees of pain from Testosterone-Propionate in most all cases will not experience it from other common forms.
- For more info see: Testosterone-Propionate
Testosterone-Enanthate is a pure testosterone with a slow-acting long ester attached and is a testosterone of high popularity. Like the Propionate version it is one of the most common forms used the world over by performance enhancing athletes. As for the functional properties of Testosterone-Enanthate, the same exact results will generally be obtained in comparison to the Propionate version assuming doses are similar.
As a long ester testosterone, commonly known as Test-E, this steroid carries with it a half-life of approximately 15 days. Due to the long half-life, injections will not need to be of a frequent nature, especially if it is used in a hormone replacement plan. However, for the athlete an administration schedule of 2 injections per week is common place and generally accepted as the best form of application. Most athletes will find 2 injections of equal doses to provide them with the results they are looking for. As this protocol is very effective, increasingly many competitive bodybuilders will opt for a more frequent injection schedule, as often as once every other day. Although this is not necessary when we consider the long half-life and duration of drug activity many bodybuilders report more stable blood levels and a general better feeling by keeping testosterone levels at maximum peak levels.
There are many quality brands you may choose from when using Testosterone-Enanthate but there is one brand that is universally accepted as the premier form and that is Testoviron Depot. While there are many other quality pharmaceutical grade brands available, many just as good, Testoviron Depot has for whatever reason developed a grand mystique behind its name, so much so that it may indeed be the most popular brand of Testosterone-Enanthate or any testosterone of all time.
- For more info see: Testosterone-Enanthate
Virtually identical in almost every way to Testosterone-Enanthate, Testosterone-Cypionate is another slow-acting long ester testosterone of high popularity. Absolutely everything that can be said of Testosterone-Enanthate can be said of Testosterone-Cypionate with one minor difference. While generally structurally the same as the Enanthate ester, Test-Cyp or simply Cyp as its commonly known possesses a half-life of approximately 24 hours longer. The very slightly longer half-life is of negligible mention when we consider the total half-life time span, so much so that injection frequency schedules will be the same with Cypionate as they were with Enanthate.
There is however a more or less urban legend regarding Testosterone-Cypionate; for one reason or another this legend has really taken hold in the United States. The common story goes and is believed by many that Testosterone-Cypionate is stronger than Testosterone-Enanthate; the truth is thats a lie. You may absolutely find a more powerful Cyp if youre basing your experience on underground versions but as Human Grade pharmaceutical testosterone goes both Test-E and Cyp are virtually twins and this includes the kick they provide.
- For more info see: Testosterone-Cypionate
While Test-E and Cyp are virtually identical and Test-Prop is close to the same except for the shorter ester, while Testosterone-Suspension is simply testosterone too it has perhaps the most notable differences of all; two of importance. Unlike most forms, Testosterone-Suspension does not have an ester attached. Because of the lack of ester the conversion rate or actual usable and absorbed testosterone from each injection is 100% while other common forms carry with them absorption rates of approximately 75%.
Another important aspect regarding Testosterone-Suspension revolving around its lack of an ester is the frequency in-which it must be administered. As you may or may not understand, the ester attached to a steroid will determine its duration of activity; for example, if we inject 100mg of Testosterone-Propionate with a half-life of 48 hours, at the 24 hour mark after injection we now have 50mg of active testosterone left; after another 48 hours we now have 25mg of active testosterone left and so on until there is none left at all. From one 100mg injection of Testosterone-Suspension in less than 24 hours we will have no active testosterone left. For this reason very frequent injections of this steroid must be administered to have any desired effect; athletes will inject this steroid at minimum once per day and often at least twice.
Testosterone-Suspension further carries the trait of being suspended in water; while almost all testosterones are suspended in oil this gives Testosterone-Suspension an even more potent and fast acting effect. It is important to note, as a water based steroid this testosterone can be very painful to inject; so much so that most athletes cannot tolerate the pain. As this pain can be very intense, it is largely an individualistic type of thing; much of steroid use is largely trial and error and while it may be painful to inject this steroid for you, for another there may be no pain at all.
- For more info see: Testosterone-Suspension
Sustanon-250 is not a testosterone in of itself but a mixture of four different testosterones. Like all testosterone, the four various forms mixed together here are simply testosterone; in that there is no difference. However, each form mixed to comprise Sustanon-250 has a different ester attached to it thereby giving a slow steady release of testosterone for an extended amount of time. The composition of Sustanon-250 is as follows:
- Testosterone-Propionate: 30mg
- Testosterone- Phenylpropionate: 60mg
- Testosterone-Isocaproate: 60mg
- Testosterone-Decanoate: 100mg
While we are familiar with the Propionate ester the remaining three esters that create Sustanon-250 are almost always found as part of a mixture or compounded anabolic androgenic steroid.
Developed by Organon, the original idea behind Sustanon-250 was to provide a testosterone form well-suited for hormone replacement therapy that would only needed to be administered once every few weeks and for all intense purposes the idea was a success. For the performance enhancing athlete Sustanon-250 can be a fine choice but the idea of injecting only once or twice a month is not applicable here. As a performance enhancer this testosterone like all forms will need to be administered on a more frequent basis. This mixture carries with it two fast, short esters, Propionate and Pheylpropionate, a longer more moderate ester Isocaproate and the very slow and long Decanoate ester. In order to keep testosterone levels stable and at their peak most athletes will inject Sustanon-250 at a minimum of every 3 days and more commonly every other day for optimal results.
For more info see: Sustanon-250
Everything that can be said of Sustanon-250 can identically be said of Omnadren. While virtually identical the only difference worth noting is the four esters attached. Like Sustanon-250, Omnadren is comprised of 4 various testosterones each with its own ester, the difference here is in the last ester or longest ester. While the longest ester in Sustanon-250 is that of Decanoate, Omnadrens final ester is Caproate dosed identically at 100mg; beyond this very slight difference there is nothing worth noting regarding Omnadren.
For more info see: Omnadren
Side-Effects of Testosterone Use:
Testosterone use carries with it the possibility of negative side-effects as do all anabolic steroids. As this may sound unpleasant and any side-effect is, keep in mind, all medications, steroidal and non-steroidal alike carry with them the possibility of adverse reactions. The most common possible side-effects include:
- Testicular Atrophy
- Water Retention
- High Blood Pressure
- Adverse Cholesterol Reactions
Of these side-effects only one is certain and it is testicular atrophy; yes, if you are a male and you use exogenous testosterone your testicles will shrink; however, once you discontinue use they will return to their normal size. There is a very simple explanation for this occurrence; our natural testosterone is produced in the testicles, once outside testosterone is introduced into the body our testicles no longer have a need to produce any testosterone and therefore shrink. Once use is discontinued and natural testosterone production begins again our testicles will return to their previous state.
As for the remainder of the side-effects, these are largely avoidable or reversible if they do occur; a simple breakdown would be as follows:
- Water Retention: Testosterone use can cause us to hold more water than we would otherwise, this much is true but in most cases this is highly exaggerated. In most all cases and we will see this to be true with most possible side-effects, ones diet will largely affect this outcome. Diets that are too high in carbohydrates will cause you to bloat or hold more water; add in excess testosterone and this will be more pronounced. While some individuals will be far more sensitive than others the use of a good Aromatase Inhibitor (A.I.) will largely eliminate this problem.
- Gynecomastia: AKA Gyno or Bitch Tits can occur due to testosterones aromatizing effect. While this is a side-effect no man wants, if we supplement with adequate aromatase inhibitors such as Anastrozole (Arimidex) or Femara (Letrozole) we will largely eliminate any Gyno occurrence. However, some individuals will find they are extremely sensitive to testosterone use and even a good aromatase inhibitor will not save them; while a minority, these individuals will have to have their Gyno surgically removed if they desire to supplement.
- Blood Pressure & Cholesterol: Testosterone use can have a negative effect on both of these issues. Keep in mind, if you are already susceptible to either the chances of you being negatively affected will increase. If you already have issues you are highly advised to get them under control before you begin use; for the remainder of you there are things we can do to prevent them from happening. As with so many things regarding anabolic androgenic steroid use, diet and nutritional intake is of the utmost importance. Supplementing with healthy Omega Fatty Acids in many cases can eliminate these side-effects from occurring.
- Acne: It is a dreaded side-effect for one simple reason; whats the point of a well-tuned physique if its covered in pimples? While most all forms of anabolic androgenic steroids present this risk, by-in-large it is highly exaggerated. In most cases, not all but most, acne is caused by using gear you shouldnt be using in the first place; were talking about the plethora of underground gear that is nothing short of garbage. Use human grade testosterone and most of you will never see this problem occur.
Testosterone Doses & Cycles:
For the individual who undergoes hormone replacement therapy your doctor will determine your appropriate dose but for the athlete looking for a boost this dose will always be a great deal higher. There is no question, a mere 250mg per week of testosterone can provide a fantastic edge but in most circles 500mg per week is considered the gold standard for optimal results. Yes, doses can range much higher than 500mg per week; it is not uncommon for many athletes to use as much as 1,000mg per week and while less common but certainly not rare even as high as 1,500mg per week. It is important to note, there is a risk to reward ratio highly in effect as it pertains the our testosterone use; the higher the dose the potential for a higher reward but the higher the dose the greater increase of risk in-terms of negative side-effects and risk to our overall health. Most all beginners are advised to never go beyond 500mg per week and many veteran users will find this is all they ever need. If you do desire to chance a higher dose that is a call only you can make but understand the increase in risk is very real.
As for cycles, in this instance were referring to the duration of use, a common minimum length of time is 8 weeks, with 12 weeks being far more optimal for quality results. While a majority of veterans will use at minimum for 16 weeks, although not as common many will use for far extended periods of time; again, greatly increasing the risk to reward ratio. For most athletes, regardless of their level of experience with testosterone use, cycles of 12 weeks to 16 weeks in length will be their best bet and best suited for their long-term overall health.
* This product is not to be used by anyone 18 years of age or younger. Use under a doctors supervision. This product is not a drug and should be used correctly. Use in conjunction with a well balanced diet and an intense bodybuilding or exercise program.