Testosterone is an anabolic steroid often used by bodybuilders to either gain muscle and strength or to get ripped and shredded with enhanced vascularity In any case, it is certain to slow down endogenous testosterone production in your body. Your body needs the best PCT to restore its natural testosterone production which could include having drugs such as HCG, Nolvadex and Clomid.
Let’s delve a bit deeper into what PCT is all about and how it works…
- PCT Explained
- Best Natural Testosterone Supplement
- Best PCT Protocol
- PCT for Women
- Is a PCT Essential?
- How Do I Know If I Need PCT?
- From Where to Buy PCT Medications (for bodybuilders)?
- Do SARMs Require a PCT?
- How Much Muscle Will PCT Help Retain?
- Diet Post Cycle
Some of the best testosterone cycles combine testosterone with steroids such as Dianabol, Deca, Anadrol, Tren, Anavar, etc. and almost all of them are likely to slow down testosterone production in your body requiring a PCT to get your body back to producing testosterone normally as it did before the steroid cycle.
Anabolic steroids are known to impair HPT or the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis function with the body finding extremely high serum testosterone levels in the body. As a result, your brain signals the testes to cease the production of testosterone and it does so by inhibiting GnRH or Gonadotropin-releasing hormone.
As a result, your body slows down the release of LH and FSH, two hormones that play a pivotal role in testosterone synthesis.
With a slow down or even a shutdown in testosterone production, you are likely to experience side effects that could include:
- Constant fatigue and low energy
- Poor self-esteem and even depression
- Sluggish libido and erectile dysfunction
- Muscle loss due to catabolism
- Testicular atrophy or shrinking of the testicles
- Reduced sperm count and fertility problems, etc.
The severity and the extent to which you experience the above side effects depends upon two main factors:
- type of anabolic steroid used
- dosage and the length of the cycle
Without a PCT you are likely to experience the effects of low testosterone for weeks and months. The main objective of PCT is to help your body shorten the time it needs to get back to producing testosterone normally and some of the medications that can be used to do so include:
- HCG (human chorionic gonadpotropin)
- Clomiphene (Clomid)
- Tamoxifen (Nolvadex)
Best Natural Testosterone Supplement
One of the best and most feasible options to help boost testosterone in your body is with the help of natural testosterone supplements that are now being used by bodybuilders and gymgoers to help them boost their T-levels (without opting for testosterone or other anabolic steroids).
Testogen is a highly popular brand that has been getting incredibly positive user reviews. This brand boasts of selling to more than 117,000 men to date and the best part is that it has a very high reorder rate.
- boosts testosterone naturally
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- taken orally, easy to consume
- is great for increasing muscle and strength
- boosts fat burning
- improves libido and sexual function
- improves mood
- has no negative side effects
- has been getting excellent user reviews from 117,619 across 134 countries
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- can be combined with Testo Drops for faster results
Best PCT Protocol
When it comes to PCT protocol, Dr. Michael Scally is a leading expert in hormone therapy who has specialist knowledge with regard to ASIH or anabolic steroid-included hypogonadism and he is famous for his Power PCT program. He is known to have treated hundreds of patients and he published a clinical report detailing the PCT program for 19 men who had extremely suppressed testosterone results because of using Testosterone and Deca Durabolin for a period of 12 weeks.
With the help of the following PCT, he was able to help these men get their serum testosterone levels back to normal within a period of 45 days. This is considered something great since after a steroid cycle can most men may take up to 4 months to get back to their normal testosterone production levels.
|hCG||2000IU||Every other day for 20 days|
|Nolvadex||20mg||Twice a day for 45 days|
|Clomid||50mg||Twice a day for 30 days|
I must mention here that this PCT is an aggressive PCT and it should be used when potent anabolic steroids have been used. In such a case, it is not just necessary but highly effective too.
Having said that, if you use steroids that are milder such as Anavar, Primobolan or Turinabol, your testosterone levels are likely to experience only moderate suppression rather than a complete shutdown.
In such a case, you may not need to have all the above three medications and you may get good results by using one or two of these drugs.
One of the most crucial factors to consider is the timing of the PCT. If you begin your PCT too early, it may become useless because of exogenous testosterone being still present in your body. On the other hand, if you start too late, your body might get into a catabolic state and you will begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Thus, the timing of your PCT should be determined by taking the half-life of the steroid used into account. If you costume multiple steroids, then PCT should begin after the last compound has cleared out of your system.
Here’s a small guide on when to start your PCT:
|Steroid Used||When to start PCT after the last dose|
|Testosterone Enanthate||2 weeks|
|Testosterone Cypionate||2 weeks|
|Testosterone Propionate||3 days|
|Testosterone Suspension||6-8 hours|
|Deca Durabolin||3 weeks|
|Primobolan Depot||14 days|
Clomid is essentially a SERM or a selective estrogen receptor modulator and it is often prescribed to women to boost fertility since it is known to stimulate ovaries.
Clomid helps boost the secretion of LH and FSH through the inhibition of estrogen resulting in an increase in endogenous testosterone production.
Even though Clomid is known to block estrogenic activity in many parts of your body, it works to increase estrogen activity in the liver thereby causing a positive shift in cholesterol levels. This helps a great deal in improving lipid profiles which helps reduce cardiovascular strain following a cycle.
How long does it take for Clomid to increase testosterone?
When we are talking about PCT with Clomid, we are talking about restoring your testosterone levels after you are done with a steroid cycle with anabolics or PEDs. That it is given to men for treating infertility too is not our concern here.
What you need to take into account is that Clomid does not increase testosterone directly. What it actually does is that it helps restore your HPTA axis which on proper revival begins signaling the leydig cells in your testes to begin producing testosterone naturally. Even though there’s no guarantee that this process will definitely work (it may or may not work). but in most cases, this process is known to be quite successful and that is the reason so many bodybuilders use it after they are done with their steroid cycles. More often than not, Clomid may take more than 4-8 weeks to help restore your testosterone production. Another major point I would like to highlight here is that in certain cases Clomid may not be enough on its own and may have to be combined with other drugs including HCG and Nolvadex to help your endogenous testosterone production back on track.
Clomid Side Effects
However, Clomid itself is known to produce side effects. Some of the side effects could include the following:
When taken in high doses or for an extended period of time, Clomid can cause visual changes that could include flashes or blurring. Having said that, it is important to know that such changes are likely to be temporary and should subside within a few days or weeks post cycle.
Even though it is not clear what leads to such changes, they are likely to be irreversible in rare cases. In any case, if you begin experiencing changes in your vision, discontinue Clomid and consult an opthalmologist for urgent examination.
Some of the other side effects of Clomid could include the following:
- abdominal discomfort
- nausea and headaches
- liver stress
- changes in vision
Nolvadex is SERM that is actually meant for women suffering from breast cancer. This drug is known to be one of the reasons for reducing the mortality rate in such women over the last decade.
Initially, this drug was used to treat female fertility. However, later it was discovered that it had anti-mitogenic effects and was able to reduce the stimulation of the breast tissue which made it beneficial for slowing the growth of breast cancer in women.
One of the main reasons why bodybuilders use Nolvadex is to prevent the onset of gynecomastia or man boobs.
As far as PCT is concerned, Nolvadex works in a similar fashion as Clomid since it stimulates LH and FSH to help restore the HPTA axis for improving endogenous testosterone production in your body.
Nolvadex Side Effects
Some of the side effects of Nolvadex could include the following:
- skin rashes
- hot flashes
- a drop in white blood cell count
- visual changes
- blood clots resulting in deep vein thrombosis
- liver stress, etc.
HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone that is known to help bodybuilders increase LH levels which in turn tends to stimulate Leydig cells in the testes to produce more testosterone naturally.
Apart from this, HCG is also known to be highly effective in treating obesity. Initially, it was thought of stimulating T3 levels in the body resulting in fat loss. However, it could never be proven, On the other hand, what was established was that it could effectively suppress appetite resulting in weight loss.
This is why HCG is particularly good as PCT after a cutting cycle since it can help prevent weight gain when you stop taking cutting steroids.
HCG is also known to be highly effective for treating testicular atrophy since it is known to promote spermatogenesis.
PCT for Women
As far as women are concerned, they are known to produce much less testosterone as compared to men and thus, most people tend to think that PCT is not needed for women. However, whatever little testosterone they produce, is responsible for regulating their libido and sex drive, energy and muscle mass.
As a result of using anabolic steroids, women may also experience a shutdown of their testosterone production with an excess of exogenous testosterone being present in the bloodstream. As mentioned above this can lead to poor sex drive, loss of energy and muscle mass. Yet another implication that is likely to arise because of this is that it may lead to a drop in their estrogen levels too (because of less aromatization of testosterone into estrogen).
Check out the video below to find out why women need a PCT post steroid cycle.
One of the best drugs to use for PCT in women is Nolvadex. A lot of women users have been reporting great results with it as far as their mood is concerned. More importantly, it is known to be great at restoring normal hormonal production in women.
Even though Nolvadex is known to work, it may still take you 3-6 months to actually start having normal menstrual cycles with this drug.
HCG is not a great option for women since it can lead to virilization in women and can also lead to enlargement of the ovaries which is what you do not want.
This leaves out Clomid, but is it effective and suitable for women?
Unfortunately, Clomid is a drug that is not suitable for women since ovaries are known to be hypersensitive to this drug.
One of the best options available for women to restore their androgen levels is DHEA, which also happens to be one of the most vital hormones in women. More importantly, it is a precursor of androgen and estrogen synthesis in women.
You will be surprised to know that a study concluded that when women over 70 years old were given DHEA – 50mg/day for a period of one year, they experienced heightened libido!
But this is not all!
Another study pointed out that a 6-week supplementation with DHEA leads to better sexual function including quick arousal, improved orgasms and libido in women. Moreover, it is also known to have cut down the symptoms of depression by as much as 50%.
One of the most recommended PCTs for women is 50mg of DHEA for a period of 12 weeks.
Is a PCT Essential?
The main purpose of a PCT is to help your body start producing endogenous testosterone as normally as possible after you are done with a steroid cycle. In the case of certain steroids (such as Anavar), suppression may not be much and you may thus, not require a PCT. On the other hand, if you have had steroids such as Anadrol then you would definitely need a PCT to help your body restore its HPTA axis as quickly as possible.
How Do I Know If I Need PCT?
You need to know your testosterone levels to decide if your body needs a PCT or not. Even though there are a couple of symptoms that may show that you have low testosterone levels, perhaps the best way out is to have your bloodwork done. Nothing can actually show more accurate results than your bloodwork.
Having said that, if you experience depression, lack of energy and constant fatigue, poor libido and erectile dysfunction, testicular atrophy, etc. you must understand that your T levels have plummeted and that your body needs PCT to get back to normal endogenous testosterone production.
From Where to Buy PCT Medications (for bodybuilders)?
There are basically two ways of getting PCT medications. What you need to keep in mind is that these are prescribed drugs and a pharmacy store is going to sell you these drugs only if you have a doctor’s prescription.
- Firstly, you can consult a doctor and he may prescribe you PCT drugs to help restore your natural testosterone production. In this case, you will have to pay your doctor’s fee but he should be able to guide you better. Not just this, if there are any side effects, you may seek his advice again.
- Secondly, you may try to source it through the grey market but finding a reliable source may be an issue here. Most bodybuilders tend to ask their gym buddies if they know someone who can sell them genuine drugs without prescription and go by their advice.
Do SARMs Require a PCT?
SARMs or Selective androgen receptor modulators have fast emerged as a better alternative to anabolic steroids. This is because they attach themselves to specific androgen receptors in your body and do not affect your entire system as is the case with steroids. While some SARMs are known to be safe, others are known to have suppressive effects.
Those that are suppressive such as RAD 140, LGD 4033, YK11, etc., thus, may require a PCT. Not just this, the extent to which testosterone has been suppressed will determine the kind of PCT that you would need.
PCT, when a Single SARM is used
More often than not, if you stick to just one SARM, you may require a low to moderate dosage of PCT for a period of 8 weeks or even less. In such a case. Nolvadex may help restore your testosterone production in 3-4 weeks. It is suggested that you consume 30mg/day of Nolvadex in the first week, 20mg/day in the second week and 10mg/day in the third week.
In the case, you have used a SARM for a longer duration or an extended cycle or if you have used a higher dosage, then it is recommended that you have Nolvadex for a period of 4 weeks with the following dosage:
PCT, when SARM stacks are used
A lot of bodybuilders use a couple of SARMs in a stack in order to experience faster results from their workouts. For instance, one may combine Ostarine, RAD 140 and LGD 4033 in a stack. Furthermore, such stacks may be used for a longer period such as a 12-16 week cycle. In such a case, you would need a more aggressive PCT such as the one mentioned below:
|HCG||2000IU taken every alternative day for 20 days|
|Nolvadex||20mg taken twice a day for 45 days|
|Clomid||50mg taken twice a day for 30 days|
While compounds such as Cardarine and MK-677 are generally spoken of in the same breath as SARM, they are not SARMs. These compounds do not require a PCT. While Cardarine is a potent fat burner, MK 677 is a growth hormone secretagogue that helps your body produce more growth hormone naturally. Both these compounds are not suppressive and as such you would not require a PCT after you are done with their cycles.
How Much Muscle Will PCT Help Retain?
More often than not, bodybuilders are able to retain anywhere from 50-75% of lean muscle gains during a cycle with the help of PCT but it also depends upon certain factors such as training diet post-cycle.
Here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Some steroids such as Anavar or Primobolan are not too suppressive and as such you should be able to retain most of the gains made during the cycle. This is because they do not lead to a high level of exogenous testosterone during the length of the cycle.
- After using wet steroids, it is quite common for you to lose some weight because of losing excess intracellular and extracellular fluid. Loss of this water weight should not be confused with losing muscle weight.
Diet Post Cycle
Your diet can play an important role in increasing testosterone as well as maintaining an anabolic environment in the body post cycle.
It is recommended that you consume a protein-rich diet in order to ensure better testosterone production in the body. Meat and egg yolks are supposed to be great for increasing testosterone in your body. It is important to understand that cholesterol is also required to produce testosterone. Moreover, high HDL cholesterol levels are often associated with high testosterone in men. Check the study here.
Apart from this, supplements that consist of ZMA, D-aspartic acid, Tribulus Terrestris, maca, vitamin D3, etc., are also known to help boost natural testosterone production in men.
Also Check Out: If cold showers can increase testosterone or not? A lot of people have come up with theories that cold showers can help boost testosterone in men by lowering the scrotal temperature. Check out whether it really works or not by reading this article.
Testosterone happens to be one of the most commonly used steroids among bodybuilders and it can often lead to suppression. It is also used along with other steroids and depending upon the other steroid used with it, the severity of suppression differs. Thus, PCT protocol also tends to be different for various Test cycles. I have listed some of the best and most effective PCT protocols above to help you restore your endogenous testosterone production once you are done with your steroid cycle. I hope you will find this information useful.