Pro-hormones are easily found in every pharmacy, whole foods and supplement store. They used as a performance enhancing drug that people take as a professional aid. Pro-hormones are a naturally occurring chemical compound that is quite similar to actual hormones. The difference lies in the fact that they don’t actually exert their actions immediately upon ingestion; it is only after being converted to the final target hormone that it starts acting on the body. The pro-hormones are converted to the final target hormone with the help of enzymes that are naturally found in the human body. It is only with the help and presence of these enzymes that its conversion process is completed. However, there is a drawback that the enzymes can convert only a small amount of pro-hormones in a given period of time. It is basically this conversion of pro-hormones with enzymes that differentiates a pro-hormone from a steroid and what permits pro-hormones to remain as a legal drug. The only drawback over a pro-hormone and a steroid is that there is no point in taking too much of the pro-hormone as this does not promise a respective increase in the final amount of hormones.
It should be noted that the enzymatic processes of pro-hormones gives numerous byproducts; and one of them is the dreaded hormone, estrogen. It is only with a high intensity workout and training that this hormone will get converted to testosterone. Another point to remember about pro-hormones is that there is a necessity of the presence of cholesterol in the body for the hormonal synthesis process of pro-hormones. This means that a reduction in the availability of cholesterol in the body only leads to a reduction in the amount of hormones produced. So it is important to consume fat during the muscle building stage of the body. However this does not imply that it is necessary to consume junk food; only that eliminating fat from the body will only lead to a negative effect on hormonal production.
There are many pro-hormones available on the market today; each having its own pros and cons. I-Testosterone is a target hormone having strong anabolic properties where there is no aromatization to estrogens. Instead, it exerts its effects immediately, and not with an enzymatic conversion; it is responsible for some side effects like hair loss, benign prostate enlargement and acne.
IAD (I-androstene-3beta, 17beta-diol) is the precursor to I-Testosterone and has similar pros and cons. However, as there are conversion byproducts here, there is an increase in the risk of side effects. Moreover, it offers a lower efficiency than I-Testosterone as only a part of it is converted in the conversion process.
4-AD (4-androstenediol) is another precursor to testosterone and offers the same benefits. However, as in the case of IAD, there is a conversion process here which leads to an increase in the conversion of metabolites. In addition to this, there is a decrease in the amount of converted testosterone wherein there may be side effects.
Nordiol (19-nor-4-androstenediol) is another pro-hormone that doesn’t convert into testosterone. Instead it converts to nortestosterone to produce less androgenic effects and side effects. Thought there is no conversion to estrogen with typical pathways, you find that it produces unwanted estrogen through progesterone pathway.
1, 4-Andro (1, 4-androstadiene-3, 17-Dione) is a pro-hormone that has relatively fewer side effects. One of its side effects is water retention. However, it is a pro-hormone that has sufficient anabolic properties and also converts to estrogen in its conversion process. There is a possibility of an increase in estrogen related side effects like water retention, gynecomastia and most HPTA inhibitions.
Basically, the use of pro-hormones may result in dangerous and unwanted side effects that are similar to those that steroids produce. In fact, comparatively, when choosing between steroids and pro-hormones, the ratio of risk to benefit is in favor of steroids as both the results and risk ratio of pro-hormones offer no justification as a performance aid.