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After a cycle of anabolic steroid use, knowing the best aromatase inhibitors for bodybuilding can help you maintain your gains.
It will also help your hormone levels get back under control to reduce unwanted side effects.
Although often prescribed for medicinal purposes including breast cancer prevention and fertility aid, aromatase inhibitors are also used off-label to restore hormonal balance.
They prevent side effects of high estrogen levels in bodybuilders.
Best Aromatase Inhibitors for Bodybuilding
Aromatase is an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen.
This means that bodybuilders using anabolic steroids to increase testosterone levels run the risk of excess estrogen due to these high levels translating into higher estrogen conversion.
After a cycle of using anabolic steroids, your body’s natural testosterone levels will be low, sometimes taking months to recover.
During this period, if you want to maintain your gains and avoid side effects, including breast tissue development, you need to implement a proper plan.
By blocking an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen, aromatase inhibitors can reduce available estrogen and keep your post-cycle hormone levels in check. They also prevent the development of breast tissue in men, also known as gynecomastia.
As of now, three generations of these drugs have already been developed, so which ones are the best?
Created as a treatment for hormone-responsive breast cancer, Nolvadex is a great tool for modulating your estrogen receptors and ensuring that your hormone levels are maintained at an equilibrium during cycles of steroid supplementation.
What separates Nolvadex from other aromatase inhibitors is its classification as a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM).
In this case, modulation refers to acting as both an anti-estrogen as well as an estrogen itself in certain parts of the body, particularly the liver.
By acting as an estrogen in the liver, it maintains healthy cholesterol levels, an important property since anabolic steroid use can negatively impact cholesterol levels.
Nolvadex comes with side effects as do all aromatase inhibitors, including rashes, decreased white blood cell count, and headaches.
However, it is known to be the most well-tolerated of these drugs among both men and women, making it popular amongst bodybuilders.
Like Nolvadex, Clomid is a SERM, although it was created to induce ovulation in females.
However, its ability to inhibit the estrogen feedback within the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian (HPO) axis makes it ideal for keeping control of estrogen levels in bodybuilding.
By inhibiting this feedback loop, levels of luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone are increased, ultimately causing a boost in testicular Leydig cell signaling that increases testosterone levels.
Clomid is also a strong anti-estrogen, binding to its receptors and preventing increases in the hormone’s levels.
Not only does this offset high estrogen levels that can occur post-cycling, it prevents estrogen from signaling the mammary tissue and stimulating breast development.
Clomid has a unique side effect of visual disturbances such as blurred vision, but only in around 1.5 percent of users.
Other side effects include headaches, nausea, and hot flashes, although most of these are rarely reported.
Armidex was created to control increases in estrogen hormones in postmenopausal women, but its powerful anti-estrogen nature makes it ideal for post-cycle use to boost your testosterone levels while preventing the development of breast tissue.
At the molecular level, Arimidex seems to boost levels of luteinizing hormone, which signals Leydig cells in the testicles much like Clomid.
One of the biggest downsides of using Armidex is its potential to decrease bone mineral density, which can increase the chances of developing osteoporosis. Additional side effects include swollen glands, liver problems, and skin rashes.
However, the biggest downside of this medication is interference with cholesterol levels. Since cholesterol forms the foundation of testosterone, maintaining healthy levels is important for anabolic steroid users.
Consider natural alternatives like CrazyBulk’s Gynectrol, which can keep your hormonal balance in check without interfering with your cholesterol levels.
The all-natural ingredients make it one of the best legal aromatase inhibitors for gyno. It is currently sold over the counter (OTC) on CrazyBulk’s website.
Like Armidex, Aromasin is an anti-estrogen that can also boost natural testosterone levels by increasing levels of the body’s luteinizing hormone.
However, unlike Armidex and any other aromatase inhibitor, it also increases levels of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1).
IGF-1 is conducive to an anabolic atmosphere, making it ideal for bodybuilders that want to ensure that all of their muscle tissue is kept intact after their steroid cycle, when testosterone levels are at their lowest.
Aromasin can lead to similar side effects as Armidex, including decreased bone mineral content and an increased risk of osteoporosis. Others include joint pain, high blood pressure, and hot flashes.
At the end of the day, SERM’s are the best aromatase inhibitors as they are more effective at normalizing the body’s hormone levels.
Drugs like Armidex and Aromasin might be strong anti-estrogens, but estrogen is still needed for proper bodily functioning.
Despite these benefits, SERM’s are still illegal to purchase for bodybuilding purposes and using them off-label is putting yourself in territory where you never quite know what kinds of side effects are going to manifest.
As mentioned above, one of the best aromatase inhibitor bodybuilding supplements is CrazyBulk’s Gynectrol.
It uses a natural formulation of caffeine, guggulsterones, and sclareolides to reduce excess estrogen production and increase testosterone production, restoring balance to your hormone levels.
Although SERM’s like Nolvadex and Clomid are the best aromatase inhibitors for bodybuilding, for a natural, safe, and legal alternative, Gynectrol is your best bet and can restore your post-cycle balance just as effectively.
Estrogen, spelled Oestrogen in some countries, is an interesting topic, particularly when discussing anabolic steroid use, as many side effects of anabolic steroids are related to estrogen. Estrogen refers to a group of steroidal hormones that are particularly important in female physiology.
Overview of Estrogen
It is a common misconception that estrogen refers to a single hormone, but there are several related female hormones that fall in the category of estrogens.
While estrogens are steroidal hormones, they are not anabolic steroids because they do not directly contribute to muscle growth.
While steroids are thought of as muscle builders, the fact is that few steroids are actually anabolic, and most do not contribute to building muscle.
Women’s bodies produce three main estrogens, which are Estrone, Estradiol, and Estriol.
Each of these hormones serve different purposes in the female body, and each is steroidal, though there are some synthetic estrogens that are not steroidal.
The same is true for male hormones, known as androgens, of which Testosterone is only one.
In women, Estradiol peaks during reproductive years. As a woman approaches menopause, Estrone levels increase and become dominant.
Estriol peaks during pregnancy and is otherwise the weakest of the three. A fourth form of estrogen, Esteterol, is only present during pregnancy.
While estrogens are primarily female hormones and androgens are primarily male hormones, men produce small amounts of estrogens and women produce small amounts of androgens. Both estrogens and androgens serve a number of functions in both men and women.
Estrogens are fat soluble hormones that pass through the membranes of target cells. Once it enters the cell, estrogen binds with estrogen receptors, forming a steroid hormone receptor complex.
This complex makes its way to the nucleus of the cell, triggering the cells to perform a particular job.
In breast tissue, the job is the development of breasts. In men, this is known as gynecomastia.
In women, estrogen is responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics. In both genders, it increases the storage of fat, increases bone formation while reducing bone resorption, improves cholesterol levels (both increasing the good and decreasing the bad), regulates sodium and water levels, reduces inflammation, modulates the immune system, and helps with cardiovascular function, among many other effects in the body.
Testosterone and Androstenedione are precursors to production of estrogen in the ovaries and are aromatized primarily into estradiol.
Aromatization is the process of converting androgens into estradiol via the aromatase enzyme. In men, the process is very similar, except that the process takes place primarily in the testicles, but also in the central nervous system, liver, muscle, and fatty tissue.
These are also the areas that contain most of the aromatase enzyme in the body. Aromatization occurs far more in women than men, which is why women have more estrogen than men.
Estrogen is a significant concern to male anabolic steroid users because many anabolic steroids are derived from testosterone and are converted to estrogen in much the same way that natural testosterone is converted.
In fact, side effects of estrogen are one of the primary concerns of male anabolic steroid users.
Elevated estrogen levels due to aromatization can cause many different side effects and can increase the risk of certain health conditions.
Estrogen is not bad, per se—some estrogen is important for normal physiological function. While too much estrogen can cause problems, so can too little.
Some athletes take estrogen suppression to an extreme and open themselves up to a host of other side effects and possible health issues.
Testosterone, Equipoise (Boldenone), and Dianabol (Methandrostenolone) are just a couple of the compounds most well known for increasing estrogen levels.
Any compound that interacts with the aromatase enzyme can cause water retention, gynecomastia, and prostate side effects.
However, small amounts of estrogen can help mitigate some of the side effects of anabolic steroids.
Estrogen can improve cholesterol levels, boost cardiovascular function, enhance virility, improve bone strength, and more.
For this reason, it is important to keep estrogen in balance.