October 24th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

Years ago, anti-estrogens were only available for bodybuilders by prescription. Their purpose was for during and after a cycle. Since then, with pro-hormones hitting the supplement industry, various supplement companies have put anti-estrogens on the market.

About Anti-estrogens:

Anti-estrogens are compounds taken by bodybuilders, for the purpose of controlling estrogen levels in the body. There is two major ways they can act. The first type acts as a weaker estrogen, competing with real estrogen on the receptors. It therefore acts as a damper and mimics low estrogen levels in the body, without actually lowering it. Nolvadex and clomid fall under this group. Depending on other tissues in the body, these anti-estrogens can act like a estrogen or an anti-estrogen, giving different side effects.

The other type is aromatase inhibitors. Aromatase is the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors block the enzyme from converting to estrogen, resulting in lower body estrogen levels. Arimidex and the first legitimate anti-estrogen supplement available over the counter 6-OXO, are just a couple from this group. Because aromatase inhibitors actually kill off the enzymes and lower the estrogen levels, there is usually a rebound effect on estrogen, after stopping use.

Use of Anti-Estrogens for bodybuilders:

Anti-estrogens have been used by bodybuilders after a steroid cycle to bring back natural testosterone, called PCT (post cycle therapy). At one time, bodybuilders never used to use PCT. Contrary to common bodybuilding belief, anti-estrogens are not necessary to get natural testosterone production back in most people. However, taking anti-estrogens speed up the pace making recovery and retention of muscle better. They also help prevent Gyno, which you are susceptible to post-cycle from the low testosterone high estrogen ratio post cycle. Certain individuals may not be able to restore testosterone to pre-cycle levels, without anti-estrogens. Some are so slow to recover, that they may have to resort to longer cycles at higher doses of anti-estrogens.

Anti-estrogens have also been used by themselves as testosterone booster cycles, for the purpose of enhancing muscle gains or cutting. Taking anti-estrogens even when your testosterone levels are normal, will automatically boost your testosterone levels. Your body measures it's estrogen levels and when it declines through use of anti-estrogens, it makes more testosterone. This has made some bodybuilders think that taking anti-estrogens by themselves, could give muscle gains or fat loss.

While anti-estrogen use looks good on paper, with the higher tesosterone and lower estrogen, it doesn't work that way. Estrogen works in conjunction with testosterone to burn fat and gain muscle. It is a bodybuilding myth that estrogen hurts your gains and eliminating it will help. Excessive estrogen does, but not when you have healthy testosterone levels and the ratio of testosterone to estrogen is balanced. For further reading on estrogen, please read our previous articles:
-Fat loss effects of estrogen
-Anabolic effects of estrogen

While studies show anti-estrogens give significant boosts in testosterone and decline in estrogen, they have never shown success for body recompositioning purposes. Those with low testosterone who never have done steroids have also considered taking anti-estrogens. While anti-estrogens would help these people, when they come off them they will begin to drop again. The only way it would work is if they stayed on them indefinitely. However, the long term use of anti-estrogens is not healthy. Estrogen has beneficial effects on the body. Anti-estrogens should only be used when necessary, that is bringing back testosterone levels after a cycle.