What are Pro-Hormones?

September 8th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

Bodybuilders throw the term around “pro-hormone” and "legal steroids" as a term for over the counter steroid supplements. But is this really proper terminology and what is the difference between the two terms? And how close to illegal steroids are they really?

What are Pro-Hormones?

Pro-hormones are pre-cursors to anabolic steroids. In other words an enzyme in the body will convert the pro-hormone supplement to an active anabolic steroid. There is no inherent difference between the steroids that pro-hormones convert to and the traditional illegal ones such as Tren and Testosterone. Every steroid has different properties and potencies. Illegality has nothing to do with their potency. Many illegal steroids are weak such as anavar and primobolan, while methyl-1-testosterone which used to be over the counter before the pro-hormone ban in 05, was more potent and toxic than them.

How Pro-hormones work:

Pro-hormones need a body enzyme to convert to the active steroid. As a result there is an "upper limit" on how much can be converted at any given time. Usually the bodies upper limit is fairly high causing significant gains with only a few grams of pro hormones. However, there is research that points to the idea, while not as potent, that pro-hormones themselves also have inherent activity on the androgen receptors. This would make them have dual activity, part pro-hormone and part steroid.

Difference between Legal steroids & Pro-Hormones?

Pro-hormones and Legal steroids are often used interchangeably for these group of compounds. Why is this? Legal steroids are usually used to best describe the over the counter hormones that don't need to convert. Pro-hormones is the term for the ones that need to convert to the active hormone. Since some pro-hormones may have inherent activity and to make it easy to group them under one name, often legal steroids or pro-hormones term is used by bodybuilders to describe the entire group.

History of Pro-Hormone use:

Androstenidione was the first pro-hormone to hit the market back in 96. It was the supplement infamously found in Mark McGwire's locker. Androstenidione was marketed as a pre-cursor to testosterone, but bodybuilders found it to be a poor prohormone. Studies showed it didn't help muscle gain, but converted to high levels of estrogen instead of mainly testosterone.

Eventually some stronger pro-hormones came out that were better such as 4-AD. Another called 1-AD by ergopharm, became an overnight success for providing significant muscle gains. While it had some negative side effects it was the most potent mass builder available at the time. Eventually this led to research into modern transdermal formulas using the active hormone (dubbed 1-testosterone) that 1-AD converted to. 1-testosterone was not on the steroid controlled list(passed originally in 89) at the time and therefore was able to legally stay on the market. Through some weak scientific evidence, they argued it was found in nature and therefore could be sold as a supplement over the counter.

In 2003 Legal Gear(Now called legal sciences) first marketed methylated orals for 1-testosterone called Methyl 1-testosterone (M-1T). Methylated orals allowed the hormones to be taken orally and to bypass the livers breakdown, just like traditional methylated illegal steroids such as d-bol and anadrol.

Pro-Hormone ban:

With supplement companies pushing the envelop and letting everything on the market, in 2005 Bush signed the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 outlawing dozens of these prohormones and active steroids(including 1-testosterone and m-1t and 4-ad). The legislation made them controlled substances and punishable by law. It made it also possible for the attorney general to have an easy time banning new hormones sold over the counter.

Did the pro-hormone ban work?

Not really. While some of the more milder "pro-hormones" are coming out such as 11-OXO, many of the "legal steroids" today are highly toxic methylated steroids. Many are even more dangerous than most of the ones from a few years ago that are now banned. One of these post-ban compounds is Superdrol.

Many of these companies producing these new compounds, are operating in a legal grey area with the risk of it being added to a ban list. A lot of these companies making these compounds, are "shell companies" so they can dissolve quickly, when necessary.

Legal steroids scams:

Many online pharmacy and supplement stores use the term "legal steroids" to try and trick newbies. They often use names close to traditional illegal steroids. Don't fall for these online scams. These are different from the group we have been talking about in this article. These sites purposely give the impression of selling illegal steroids by using similiar names and by the design and word choice of the website.

To keep up to date on this everchanging group of Pro-hormones, one must ask questions in a bodybuilding forum, to get the latest on pro-hormones, pro-hormone scams, and any possible side effects.

  1. Colleen Macalino on September 9th, 2008

    Hi –

    My son is 18.5 years old and wants to use prohormones. How dangerous is this for him. Can you do one cycle and will that make a difference or will he lose any gains when he stops. He needs to put on 10 pounds of muscle fast. I don’t know what to do.

  2. onyi on October 10th, 2008

    It is not advisable to use steroid at all,tell ur son to be using normal supplement that will give him instant muscle.

  3. pat on February 10th, 2009

    Tell your son he is way to young to take a pro hormone or steroid.

  4. fku on April 28th, 2009

    they aint roidz brah

  5. caleb v. on June 12th, 2009

    what he needs to do is get some JACKED from genxlabs and get a liver support agent.he’ll be good to go then.and like the guy above me said”They ain’t steroids.” if he eats enough protein im sure he’ll keep the muscle.so dont worry unless he’s broken some bones.

  6. caleb v. on June 12th, 2009

    18 is the friggin recommended age for prohormone use.wut do ya mean 2 yung?

  7. zach t on November 7th, 2009

    What are the bad side effects of a prohormone, i cant find out the answer

  8. MAX Evans on December 1st, 2009

    Hi – I am 32. I think I was recently fooled into a $200 purchase with legal steroids.com- I am having ok results after a week or so but am still not satisfied. I am working hard at the gym and dieting well but have yet to find a product that is really giving me the gains I so desire. Can you please recommend a pro hormone for me that will do this and possibly where I can find it?

  9. cdreeszen on December 15th, 2009

    if u use a pro hormone for bout a year then stop and go back to a normal supliment will you keep the muscle

  10. kevin on March 31st, 2010

    No actually 21 is the suggested age. The reason for this is because your body is still producing large amounts of testosterone itself and you can really damage that. Also tell your sone that if he chooses that route to obtain a SERM to counteract the effects of gynocomesia and to take a liver support agent while on cycle such as red rice yeast, liver longer, milkthistle. Cycle support is also good to use while on cycle.

  11. jimmie P on May 11th, 2010

    He is to young to take them…. right now his body’s testosterone levels are at the highest they will ever will be. so if he starts takin pro hormones, he will totally throw them off.

  12. Richard on August 2nd, 2010

    Hello I have been bodybuilding for quite some time now and finding it harder and harder to get steroids and or other things that go hand in hand with bodybuilding; so, I am just wondering if anyone out there knows what is out there, quite easy to get and also quite affective. I love bodybuilding but the governments are making it harder and harder to obtain great results from what us bodybuilder love to do. I live in Australia, so if any one has any suggestions would be much appreciated.

  13. ben on September 22nd, 2010

    yah… it’s a bunch of crap. All these Ph’s are worse for our bodies (like way worse) than doing a moderate cycle of testosterone and the gains are half as good. I have had a bottle of “trenadrol” sitting in my fridge for a year. pretty sure it’s banned now. According to many, in the short term steroids (mainly pure test) will take your body to it’s genetic peak. all other gains beyond that peak will be lost.
    my advice… get all the bottle of supplements… make an appointment for your son at an endocrinologist bring the bottles with you to show him what he is taking. Some will Rx testosterone cycle monitored medically. Or not. worth a shot in any case.

  14. neil on October 2nd, 2010

    they can cause death stay away

  15. good girlfriend on December 31st, 2010

    Please for anyone who takes these pills stop. My boyfriend has taken them several times and he is so rude to me when he is on them. They may not be steroids but some of the side effects are the same. It has ruined so many things and it overcomes the person you really are.

  16. Saed on January 18th, 2011

    Hi guys just wanted to find out if you use PH supplements and do one cycle do u req PCT after?

  17. Nelson a7x on January 23rd, 2011

    Jacked? That stuff is junk.

  18. Jonney on February 9th, 2011

    No 18 is most definitely not the recommended age for prohormone usage. During the course of puberty your test levels are already as high, or with the potential of rising as high as you would get on a pro hormone. You should not be looking for an easy gain. The body reaches maturaty at 22-26 which is why 22 is the youngest advisable age to start. Under 22? Hard work and a good diet, there is nothing in the world you can put in your body at that age that is going to help more than a solid diet and workout plan…. nothing that wont kill you in 20 years anyhow.

  19. bodybuilding on February 22nd, 2011

    18 is too young, you own natural testosterone has not yet reached a peak level at that age.