Steroid usage is rampant in the bodybuilding and fitness world. Millions of bodybuilders and fitness athletes abuse enormous quantities of anabolic steroids in the pursuit of muscle gains, irreversibly ruining their psychological and sexual health in the process. Believe it or not, there are healthy alternatives to using steroids that are able to closely mimic their effect. In this article we will examine three such alternatives.
Steroids are usually taken in a 2 or 3-month cycle, so as to lessen the burden they present to the body and elicit optimal muscle gains. After the cycle has been finished, the user needs to start a post cycle therapy which has the purpose of restoring the user’s body hormonal balance. In simple terms, after the user has discontinued steroid usage, his blood testosterone levels start to rapidly drop in the following weeks. If the post cycle therapy is not employed, it could take months for the testosterone levels to rise to their previous range (and in severe cases it never returns o normal), which can cause loss of all the muscle the user has gained during the cycle, as well as severe depression, lack of libido and all kinds of psychological effects.
However, using some of the components in the post cycle therapy itself can have negative effects inside the body too, so taking them is actually choosing the lesser evil. What is presented in this article are measures intended to counteract the negative effects of steroids and restore the hormonal balance as soon as possible.
There are a few recommendations for those who are still in a dilemma whether they you should start a steroid cycle or want to experience rapid muscle gains, but are afraid of the deleterious effects steroids can have on the endocrine system. It is actually quite possible to create a highly anabolic environment in your body naturally, without the use of anabolic steroids.
Choosing the natural route using natural products will prolong your life, vitality and will make your body naturally produce higher levels of testosterone, growth hormone and dihydrotestosterone over the course of your life. The thing to remember is that this is not a 100-meter sprint, it is a marathon.
Those who want to see results immediately by using steroids, are in for a lot of pain and discomfort in the future, since they will have to rely on expensive testosterone replacement therapies, injections, testosterone creams and lots of other products to keep their endocrine system functioning properly, as well as take Viagra to have a functioning libido.
So, here they are. The 3 safe and healthy alternatives to steroids:
- Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) Optimization
- Phosphatidylserine Supplementation for more intense workouts and faster recovery
- Creatine monohydrate as an inexpensive way for increasing testosterone and dihydrotestosterone
Testosterone and DHT: Why DHT has powerfull steroid-like effects
DHT is the strongest hormone found in males and it is thought to be much more androgenic than testosterone. There is an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone into DHT, which directly correlates to the benefits of having high testosterone levels. One of the biggest advantages of DHT is that it does not convert into estrogen, a process known as aromatization. On the contrary, DHT prevents the occurring of aromatization altogether.
Having high levels of DHT increases your libido, body hair and overall muscle mass. You might have heard that DHT is responsible for hair loss and it’s gotten lot of bad rap for it. But that’s not entirely true. DHT is only responsible if you are already genetically predisposed to lose you hair and it might make the process faster.
So, if the purpose of this article is to naturally raise androgens in our bodies, what should we do in order to raise DHT levels naturally?
First thing, exercise. Not only because of the exercise part itself, but also because of its fat loss effect. If you are interested in increasing your DHT levels as a natural alternative to steroids, we should examine the effect of training on DHT.
DHT and training
It is already proven that the neuromuscular type of training can raise testosterone levels. What is less known is that is also increases dihydrotestosterone levels. Logically, it makes since because DHT and testosterone are closely linked. Different types of training elicit different body response, and in this context, different types can increase testosterone and DHT, but they can also decrease, multiple examples being endurance training, high rep strength training or long duration cardio.
Next, we examine how losing weight affects your DHT levels.
DHT and weight loss
When we say weight loss what we mean specifically is losing fat around the belly in men. A large amount of fat tissue negatively affects hormone levels, especially DHT and testosterone levels. Belly fat in particular, increases the aromatization process, which converts testosterone into estrogen, thus lowering your testosterone. Simply put, being overweight makes you less masculine. Fat also neutralizes DHT by turning it into unusable compounds and also converts testosterone into estradiol.
So, in some cases, simply getting rid of your belly fat, without even trying to raise DHT, can increase the availability and usability of DHT in your body. Other natural ways in which you can increase DHT is by choosing what you eat. Next, we shall examine the effect of diet choice on DHT levels.
Diet regimen that increases DHT (dihydrotestosterone)
Although the majority of bodybuilding supplements are useless, creatine has been repeatedly been proven to actually work. It is a sure way to put on the muscle mass you desire. If you aren’t using it already, you should incorporate it as a staple in your bodybuilding diet. Let’s examine the advantages it gives to bodybuilders.
Numerous studies have proven it can raise both DHT and testosterone. In one particular study, rugby players were divided into two groups. One group was given 20 grams of creatine and 20 grams of glucose every day for seven days and the other group was given placebo for the same amount of days. This 7-day period is known as a loading period. After seven days have passed, the next 14 days, the first group was given 5 grams of creatine and 20 grams of glucose and the seconds groups was given the same amount of placebo. This 14-day period is known as maintenance period. When the study was over, the first group had their DHT levels increase by 56% after the loading period and 40% after the maintenance period. The conclusion was that creatine was a powerfull supplement if you want to increase your DHT levels.
Sorghum is a grain you can consume as a sorghum flour. It increases the enzyme 5-alpha reductase which, as we mentioned earlier, raises your DHT levels. One study found that ingesting sorghum can increase the enzyme’s activity by 55%. A significant increase for a simple grain.
Eat a Moderate to High-Carb Diet
When you restrict the intake of starchy carbs, your testosterone levels plummet. Diets with moderate carb intake have been shown to increase the levels of DHT. Low carb diets have received a lot of hype in the past few years, due to the effect of increasing insulin sensitivity helping weight loss, but they have also been found to have a negative effect on testosterone levels. In order to optimize both hormones’ levels for long-term weight loss effect, you should eat a diet with a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein.
Eat “Good” Fats
In simple terms, there are two types of fats. Good fats and bad fats. The fats that increase the production of testosterone are saturated and monounsaturated. These fats along with cholesterol are the main precursors to testosterone production, which in turn makes them precursors to DHT production. One study found that the combined intake of protein and dietary fat, along with resistance training, greatly increases testosterone and DHT levels during resting or post exercise.
Supplement with Boron
The element boron possesses some interesting effects on the endocrine system. Some of them include decreasing estrogen levels and increasing DHT/testosterone levels. Many think this is because boron decreases the blood levels of sexual hormone binding globulin. In one study, subjects were given 10 mg of boron every day for seven days. After one week, free testosterone levels had increased by approximately 30% and estrogen levels had decreased by 40%.
Avoid enzyme 5-Alpha inhibitors
Certain foods are known for their decreasing effects on the activity of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. This will result with less available DHT. This reduced activity will result in less active DHT.
Here’s a list of the foods you should avoid:
- Saw Palmetto
Eat lots of meat
Numerous studies have shown that those men who eat a lot of meat have much higher DHT levels than men who are vegetarians or vegans. That’s because meat has compounds that boost testosterone production like protein, creatine, cholesterol and saturated fat.
Limit your fiber intake
A study showed that limiting your fiber intake to 20 grams per day can increase your DHT levels. Another study showed that switching from a low fiber to a high fiber diet can cause a significant drop in testosterone and DHT levels.
So, these are the exercise and diet guidelines you need to follow in order to optimize DHT production and become a more masculine version of yourself.