Prohormones have been around for a while but many seem to lack a true understanding of these anabolic steroid cousins. First gaining notice in 1996 thanks to Patrick Arnold and his bringing the prohormone androstenedione (Andro) to the market and exploding in popularity in 1998 when it was discovered Mark McGwire, then of the St. Louis Cardinals was taking the prohormone. To put it mildly the world took notice; after all, McGwire was pumping out homeruns at a rate not seen since, well not ever seen and prohormones were attributed too much of the success. Of course the use of prohormones by Big Mac would lead to the anabolic steroid scandal of the ages but it is prohormones not anabolic steroids we wish to discuss here. 

The Birth:

Prohormones first hit the shelves largely due to the massive gap and burden left by the Steroid Control Act of 1990. With anabolic steroids now classified as scheduled narcotics and carrying with them felony consequences for mere possession prohormones provided the means to fill the gap and supply demand. Let’s be very clear, by definition as well as mode of action, prohormones are not anabolic steroids. They are often categorized as such but just because someone says this or that is so does not make it true. Saying a bear won’t bite you if you kick it in the ass doesn’t make it true. 

What are Prohormones?:

Prohormones are hormones, this part is true but they are precursor hormones; in simple terms this means it is an inactive hormone by itself. Take for example anabolic steroids, these are hormones as well and they are active and ready to use as soon as they enter the body; more or less, half-lives and things of that nature can vary activity but in a general sense this is correct. Prohormones however are ingested as inactive hormones that once metabolized become active; seems like splitting hairs a little bit but don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions. Unlike anabolic steroids prohormones have a ceiling or a limit they are held to. This conversion to an active hormone is produced by an enzymatic process in the body but the level of naturally occurring anabolic steroids you have in your body will create a ceiling in regards to how efficient the prohormones can be. 

Prohormones & the Law:

As prohormones were the answer to anabolic steroids and their classification as illegal narcotics the law had an answer of its own. In 2004 congress strengthened the original steroid law with the new and improved Steroid Control Act of 2004 effectively handing prohormones the same fate as their anabolic counterparts; the death sentence. However, congress put in-place this ban based on the prohormones on the market meaning new ones with varied component combinations would soon hit the shelves and do so 100% legally. Since this time year after year we have seen new prohormones hitting the shelves; eventually they are placed under the same knife as their predecessors but as soon as they’re pulled new ones take their place.

The Benefits & Side-Effects of Prohormones:

While prohormones do produce some of the same qualities as anabolic steroids they do so to a far lesser degree. One can expect to see gains in strength and mass with the use of prohormones but to a far lesser degree than if anabolic steroids were used. Interestingly the side-effects of prohormone use appear to be far more severe than those of anabolic steroids or perhaps we might say more pronounced. While the negative side-effects appear to be similar to possible side-effects of anabolic steroid use  they tend to possess the ability to be harsher and more pronounced.