PCT for Testosterone
So you hopped on the juice for 12 weeks and now you’re ready to hop off this speeding bus. Better not fall…
Testosterone cycles are incredibly common, and usually the first Steroid cycle most people will undergo.
Steroid use has become widespread, but is important to see how we fix the resulting hormonal imbalances.
A PCT protocol is vital for your Testosterone production and managing your Estrogen levels.
Why does Testosterone need a Post Cycle Therapy
Testosterone is a natural compound produced by the Gonads in the body, but as with every single Steroid you can lay your hands on, it will cause downregulation of endogenous Testosterone production .Figure 1: Different forms of Hypogonadism
As seen in the picture above, an introduction of any hormone in the body will cause downregulation of the endogenous production of said hormone.
This particular effect is worsened with heavy cycles or longer durations. Not only will the downregulation be worse, but activating normal Testosterone production after a bigger/longer cycle is hard.Luteinizing Hormone Follicle Stimulating Hormone
Steroid users will see downregulation of Luteinizing hormone (LH) (Figure 2: Left) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) (Figure 3: Right) levels. These two are by and large required for testosterone production.
This is why you need a post cycle therapy protocol after a cycle, to ensure your normal testosterone levels return, and that the side effects of such performance enhancing drugs are minimal.
The overarching goals of a PCT can be split into 4 sections:
- Ensuring peak hormone production returns
- To minimize the negative consequences of artificially increased Estrogen levels, and potentially bring them down
- Making sure we get as healthy as possible, as quickly as possible
- If you are so inclined, help you make the good lady in your life pregnant by improving spermatogenesis
How Does PCT Work?
As mentioned before, your natural production of sex hormones will lower when using such substances – it’s a side effect of Anabolic Steroids you simply cannot avoid.
However, we can still try to remedy the situation a few days after your last dose of Testosterone. If you fail to do this, you will suffer from low testosterone, low libido, poor sperm production, and you might lose muscle tissue as well.Figure 4: Gynecomastia development
Another major side effect is the fact that you might develop breast tissue! Yup, you’re gonna be your own muscle mommy, unless you actually manage your hormonal levels.
Depending on the products you actually use (Testosterone boosters won’t be much help), you will go undergo the procedure of increasing hormone levels in different ways. There are multiple compounds you could use, and it can actually depend on your cycle length and size.
How to design your PCT?
When working with hormone levels, you unfortunately cannot just take aim and hope for the best. You have to be certain about what your normal levels are (even prior to cycling so you have a reference point) and you need to know what the Anabolic Steroid(s) did.
The first step is that you will have to have your blood tested in order to decide how to design your PCT. Failure to do so could mean introducing way too much of certain PCT drugs, or worse, not enough…
Full Blood Panel – Hormones, Cholesterol, and Kidneys
Before you do a PCT (and before you even cycle) you should be running blood tests. Particularly a hormone panel, blood lipids, and kidney function. These all play vital roles in your health, and to see how and when to cycle next, you need to know these three things.
Being certain about your blood work is one of the first steps you need to take when using any form of PED. LetsGetChecked is the leading blood work company, and they provide a wide variety of lab work.
Whether it be hormonal or health related, you have to know what is going on under the hood. You can take the tests from the comfort of your own home, so no need to go to your local GP.
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I simply cannot overstate the importance of checking your bloodwork after Anabolic Steroid use. Once you know what needs the most attention, you can decide what to do.
The second step is to decide “Hey, what do I want to do?”. What I mean by this is you probably are going to be using Anabolic Steroids again at some point, and while I do not advocate Steroid use, I do advocate you making smart decisions.
If your plan is to only take a month off before your next cycle, don’t PCT. You’re wasting time and money, and taking unnecessary drugs. Unless you take a minimum of the same length as your cycle off (preferably longer), then don’t PCT.
PCT for Testosterone
|Beginner||Nolvadex||Only if needed||Glutathione||Only if needed|
The table above is a cheat-sheet for your PCT. It is not perfect, but it can give you some ideas.
How to build a PCT for Testosterone
A PCT is a vital part of the process of Steroids. You cannot avoid it, and you should in the ideal situation include the following products:
SERMs (Selective Estrogen receptor modulators)
SERMs like Nolvadex (Tamoxifen Citrate) and Clomid (Clomiphene) are incredibly common in a post cycle therapy protocol and are medically used to treat breast cancer. All Anabolic steroids will cause downregulation of both LH and FSH levels, which in turn will stop the Leydig cells from producing Testosterone .
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Nolvadex is extremely effective at correcting LH and FSH levels in the body. Not only this, but it can block Estrogen at the breast tissue as well.
Lastly, it will promote better Cholesterol levels via the Liver as well.
- Less sides than Clomid
- Anti-Estrogenic properties
- Not as strong as Clomid
If this shutdown continues for too long, the Leydig cells might atrophy and the damage might be permanent . Thus using a SERM in your post cycle therapy protocol is highly advised.
Both Nolvadex  and Clomid  have been shown to help increase LH and FSH levels in the body, causing increased Testosterone levels. Both will also act as Estrogen blockers at the nipples, stopping you from developing Gynecomastia.
They will not block Estrogen anywhere else in the body, so you can still suffer from other Estrogenic sides.
HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin)
HCG is a peptide that is readily available online and is actually found naturally in the female and is especially important during pregnancy. In men it will act as synthetic LH and FSH.
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HCG will act like LH and FSH whilst your SERM of choice is raising your actual levels of those hormones.
HCG is not essential to a PCT, but if you want the Best PCT protocol, you need HCG – especially if you plan on getting someone pregnant one day.
- Acts as LH and FSH
- Raises Testosterone quickly
- Can increase Estrogen as well
HCG is medically used as a treatment for Hypogonadism . One prominent side effect is that just like exogenous Testosterone, it can cause an increase in Estrogen levels.
AI (Aromatase Inhibitor)
Testosterone will convert into Estrogen via the Aromatase enzyme located in adipocytes. If there is too much Testosterone, you end up with too much Estrogen and potentially, negative effects.
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Aromasin is known as a Suicide Inhibitor. Not only will it bind to Estrogen receptors and leave them inactive, but it will kill them off.
This means there is zero chance of a Estrogen rebound after you discontinue use.
- Manages Estrogen very well
- No Estrogen rebound
- Not great for Cholesterol levels
An AI would bind to the Aromatase enzyme and leave them inactive, so using products like Aromasin or Arimidex could help prevent Gynecomastia.
Health-Related PCT Supplements
Using any Steroid will place some strain on the human body, and relieving that strain sooner rather than later is going to be best.
Amino Asylum – Glutathione Spray
When you use Steroids you are placing your body under a lot of stress, particularly oxidative. Heavy metals, blood pressure increases, cholesterol, the works.
Glutathione is an anti-oxidation compound, and is vital after any oral cycle.
- Fights free radicals
- No injections
- You won’t “feel” the effects, but you will see the results in your blood panel
We have to pay attention to lowering blood pressure, ensuring cholesterol levels are in check, and ‘fixing’ any organ damage. Glutathione can act as an antioxidant  while TUDCA can be exceptional for liver damage .
You will have some trouble getting your good lady pregnant after a exogenous Testosterone cycle. Very few if any over the counter products will help for this, and your only bet is using a few different products.
HMG (Human menopausal gonadotropin), HCG, and Carnitine is often used as a “baby making protocol”. HMG is used for male fertility , HCG increases intratesticular Testosterone, and Carnitine can help sperm mobility .
Will my testosterone levels return to normal after Testosterone Cycle?
It depends. We have seen amazing results from select individuals who follow something similar to our post cycle therapy guide. The most important things to remember is:
- Don’t stay on cycle for too long. If you blast for 89 weeks, you best well believe your body has almost zero ability to produce testosterone anymore
- Don’t use ridiculous doses . The harder you suppress endogenous testosterone, the harder it will be for you to recover and return to natural testosterone levels
If you follow those two guidelines, and you make sure your post cycle therapy protocol is perfect, there is a massive chance your natural Testosterone production will return.
Who Should Use a PCT?
If you use any kind of Steroid, you will need a post cycle therapy. This is not up for conversation, and this is not up for debate. If you do not want to sit months with low Testosterone, this is the way.
The only other method you can consider is using a Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) dose while you are off “big cycles”. This is called blasting and cruising, and most bodybuilders follow this protocol.
They sacrifice their natural Testosterone production, but they get the benefit of never having to PCT. One big problem with this is that your fertility can (will) take one hell of a hit.
How to keep gains after a Testosterone cycle?
It’s actually rather simple. First, you need to make sure your Post Cycle Therapy PCT is on point, to return your endogenous Testosterone to peak levels as fast as possible.
It would also be wise to be in a calorie surplus, as this could maximize your chance of retaining muscle mass. Your training needs to be as intense as always, and you need to sleep as much as you possibly can.
You can also make use of PCT supplements to keep you as healthy as possible in this endeavor.
When should I take my PCT?
Your PCT should start 1 – 2 weeks after taking your last dose of Testosterone
How long should my PCT be?
Depending on which products you are using, your PCT protocol should cover at least 4 – 8 weeks. The bigger and more intense your cycle is, the bigger your PCT needs to be
How long does it take for Testosterone levels to return to normal after a cycle?
It will depend on variables such as your cycle length and intensity, but it can take anything from 2 – 4 months, depending on what you do to increase Testosterone
What is the Best Post Cycle Therapy?
The best PCT is the one you don’t need because you didn’t use drugs in the first place. That being said, using a healthy amount of a SERM, HCG, HMG, and Carnitine would be “the best”
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6) Madhusoodanan V, Patel P, Lima TFN, et al. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin monotherapy for the treatment of hypogonadal symptoms in men with total testosterone > 300 ng/dL. Int Braz J Urol. 2019;45(5):1008-1012. doi:10.1590/S1677-5538.IBJU.2019.0132
7) Pizzorno J. Glutathione!. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014;13(1):8-12.
8) Vang S, Longley K, Steer CJ, Low WC. The Unexpected Uses of Urso- and Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid in the Treatment of Non-liver Diseases. Glob Adv Health Med. 2014;3(3):58-69. doi:10.7453/gahmj.2014.017
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10) Aliabadi E, Soleimani Mehranjani M, Borzoei Z, Talaei-Khozani T, Mirkhani H, Tabesh H. Effects of L-carnitine and L-acetyl-carnitine on testicular sperm motility and chromatin quality. Iran J Reprod Med. 2012;10(2):77-82.
Daniel Louwrens CPT
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Orginally appeared on Muscle and Brawn