How Prohormones Are Worse Than Steroids


In the span of the last few decades, numerous misconceptions have arisen over prohormones, the chemical compounds that weightlifters use to help build muscle while losing fat in the process. Many people have unwisely assumed that since most prohormones are legal, these substances are safe for lifters to consume on a regular basis to achieve their targeted gains. This statement could not be any further from the truth. Prohormones are essentially anabolic steroids, hidden under a different name for legality purposes. Despite the parallels that exist between the two substances, prohormones are actually much worse.


In the grand scope of athletic history, prohormones and steroids have been quite intertwined with one another. Whenever it was widely discovered that steroids could be used as a performance-enhancing drug for athletes, ultimately giving them an unfair advantage over their competition, the substance was largely banned in the 1970s. Following the implementation of the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990, this declared that the illicit use of steroids for solely athletic purposes as illegal. Almost immediately after this act was enacted into effect, American organic chemist Patrick Arnold would gain popularity as the “Father of Prohormones,” firmly introducing the anabolic compound to the public market in the 1990s.

Several athletes from various sports have consumed prohormones (precursors to a hormone) in their particular strength development training, ranging from football, baseball, basketball, soccer and many other activities. Mainly prominent in bodybuilding, professional and recreational lifters will usually start taking pro-hormones at a very early age, with some consuming them before they even turn 18-years-old. This trend is evident in the study titled “Prohormones and Body Image: How Much is Too Much?” as the authors detailed that after surveying 100 students between the ages of 18 to 21 at Rutgers University, they concluded that approximately 80 percent of the sample size was using supplements, while 18 percent either was using or had used prohormones. These numbers are staggeringly high, especially on a college campus. Before even thinking about taking prohormones, it is imperative to know the positives and negatives associated with them, so this is the full breakdown.


Similar to the benefits of steroids, the consumption of prohormones does produce impressive short-term results. In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, someone aided by the influence of prohormones will be able to increase their muscle mass (at a steroidal speed) and burn off their body fat percentage at a rapid pace (due to a soaring metabolic rate). The accelerating levels of testosterone also culminate into dramatic boosts of libido (sexual desire), energy levels and overall mood. Moreover, prohormones are easy to ingest (just swallow a few pills per day), generally legal (depending on the state and country where the user resides) as well as economically cheap (most bottles cost around $30 to $35). Although these initial advantages might seem great at first, the user will begin to gradually feel the toxic side effects shortly thereafter. 


In only a slight warning of what is about to come during and following the prohormone cycle, the first unfavorable side effect of usage will be the intense acne, chiefly present on the face, chest and back. Comparable to the acne that most people experience through puberty, except your skin will be far more irritated than from what you remember as an adolescent teenager. Headaches and mood swings are also frequent symptoms to watch out for as they are forthcomings to heavier side effects later on.

Along with the severe acne, annoying headaches and sudden mood changes, users will often suffer from hair loss and testicular shrinkage, due to the lack of natural testosterone being produced in the body. Corresponding to the influx of supplemental testosterone in the blood stream, the user’s endocrine system will attempt to make amends with this surplus, by consequentially ceasing its own testosterone production. Although the prohormones will help carry on in its task for muscular development and recovery, the body will commence to undergo a lack of sexual desire, motivation and confidence. If you think this is bad, the side effects are about to get much uglier.

Another concerning reaction includes a condition that is called gynecomastia, which occurs when the bodily balance of testosterone and estrogen has been altered significantly within men, causing higher levels of estrogen to ultimately develop female breast tissue in a process called aromatization. Once this condition has gotten to an advanced stage, there is no going back, as the ailment becomes permanent (unless surgically removed)—that’s right. Simply because of taking prohormones, a man can grow female breast. After going through this ordeal, how can this get any worse? Well, these are just the short-term consequences.

Everlasting effects to this abuse can include fatal health risks such as high cholesterol, increased blood pressure, irreparable liver damage, abnormal immune system functioning and elevated chances of acquiring cardiovascular disease, diabetes and multiple other deadly illnesses. Safe to assume that this is not the healthiest of lifestyles.


In the midst of these nasty physical costs, the subject will also have to deal with the financial burdens that accompany this unadvisable habit. In order to help prevent the horrible reactions to the prohormones, a user will have to pay a lot of money for supplements. For instance, let’s consider that the recommended prohormone cycle lasts for the duration of four weeks, which elicits a two-month off cycle period. During this time, the consumer will have to pay nearly $50 per month on cycle support supplements. Furthermore, if he or she was intending to proceed with this prohormone regimen, it is stressed that the subject should plan to continue on taking these cycle support supplements for the entire year, which will estimate to a cost of almost $600 per year. 

This number does not even include the post-cycle supplements like selective estrogen receptor modulators to treat estrogen affiliated side effects, aromatase inhibitors to restore the balance of testosterone and estrogen, as well as testosterone boosters to regulate the body’s manufacturing of natural testosterone. By completing four separate prohormone cycles each year, the final estimated charges, which comprise of the cycle support supplements, the post cycle therapy products and the prohormones themselves, will eventually add up within the range of $970 to $1,250 per year. Not to mention, despite spending all of this money, whenever the positive effects of the prohormones wear off, the subject will basically forfeit all of the built muscle that they gained during that period. So is all of this really even worth it? 


Overall, prohormones are just like anabolic steroids in that the negative effects far outweigh the positive ones, and it's not even close. Even though you might temporarily add muscle and subtract fat through this fitness technique, prohormones are simply not natural. They might seem like an easy shortcut, but think about this common expression: “If it's too good to be true, then it probably is.” This is definitely valid in this case as prohormones, with its unintended consequences, will leave you depleted physically and financially. Do yourself a favor — just stick to regular exercise and a healthy diet. Trust me, you will live longer.