Prohormones and Testosterone boosters have risen in popularity over the last ten years as an alternative to Anabolic Androgenic Steroids, (AAS). They claim to be a safe, legal alternative to AAS with similar effects, minus the negative side effects. Before I look at the evidence, I would like to point out that if all the claims about Prohormones and Testosterone boosters were in fact true, they would be governed by the same laws as AAS. That is that the non-medical use of them would place them as a Class 3 drug instead of being readily available at Supplement stores.
It is claimed by the manufacturers that Prohormones have similar effects on strength and size of AAS, without the negative side effects. Effects of prohormone supplementation in humans: a review, found that doses < 300 mg/d, oral supplementation for as long as 12-weeks with androstenedione or androstenediol has no effect on body composition or physical performance and decreases high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This means that a daily dose of 300 mg reduced the levels of HDL/ good cholesterol. The same study also found oral supplementation with norandrostenedione and norandrostenediol for up to eight weeks has no effect on body composition or physical performance.
Manufacturers often claim that Prohormone use improves serum testosterone levels, increases muscular strength and muscle mass, helps to reduce body fat levels, enhances mood and improves sexual performance. In 2003 the Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology found that Prohormones can abnormally elevate oestrogen related hormones as well as alterations in hormonal markers which are thought to increase a person’s risk for developing prostate or pancreatic cancers.
It would seem that based on the two studies above, that far from benefiting an individual’s training in a similar way to AAS, Prohormones have little to no positive effect at all.
Effects of prohormone supplementation in humans: a review
Oral andro-related prohormone supplementation: do the potential risks outweigh the benefits?
Testosterone prohormone supplememnts
Endocrine and lipid response to chronic androstenediol-herbal supplementation in 30 to 58 year old men
The Andro Project: physiological and hormonal influences of androstenedione supplementation in men 35 to 65 years old participating in a high-intensity resistance training program