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Post-Cycle Therapy (PCT) in bodybuilding :
The Golden Rule of Safe Recovery Revealed
In the field of bodybuilding, the quest to shape up and improve performance often leads athletes to explore the field of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).
These PEDs, such as anabolic androgenic steroids, are capable of pushing the body and muscles beyond their natural limits, allowing them to reach
unprecedented heights.
However, while PEDs can indeed deliver extraordinary gains, they also come at a price. With the use of them, the body's natural hormone production is
suppressed. This is why PCT is so crucial.PCT helps to effectively restore hormonal balance and get the body back on track.
For those individuals who are using or considering using PEDs, it is crucial to understand and implement proper PCT. In what follows,I will provide you with
an in-depth guide to PCT, answer any questions or concerns you may have, and help you make an informed decision.
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1. What do you know about PCT in bodybuilding?
PCT refers to the use of a drug or supplement regimen designed to help the body restore natural hormone levels after a steroid cycle has ended. Steroid use
suppresses the body's own production of testosterone, a hormone vital for maintaining male sexual characteristics and muscle growth.
The body's production of testosterone is primarily regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis. The hypothalamus secretes gonadotropin-releasing
hormone (GnRH), which stimulates the pituitary gland to release luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), while LH stimulates the
testes to produce testosterone and FSH stimulates spermatogenesis.
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However, steroid use produces a negative feedback effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis. Since steroids provide testosterone levels far in excess
of physiologic levels, the hypothalamus incorrectly assumes that there is an excess of testosterone in the body and thus reduces GnRH secretion. This leads to
a concomitant reduction in the amount of LH and FSH secreted by the pituitary gland, which ultimately suppresses the testes' own testosterone production.
With PCT, the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis is stimulated, restoring natural testosterone production.
2. Why is PCT needed in bodybuilding?
(1) PCT: Reversing the Negative Effects of Steroids
In bodybuilding, many people choose to resort to anabolic steroids to accelerate muscle growth and strength gains. However, steroid use does not come
without a price; it suppresses the body's own testosterone production, leading to a host of negative consequences. In response to these problems, bodybuilding
PCT was created.
The core goal of PCT is to stimulate your own testosterone production to prevent entering a low testosterone state. When testosterone levels plummet and
there is a relative excess of estrogen in the body, a number of headaches are triggered:
 Muscle catabolism is accelerated, and hard-earned muscles go down the drain;
 Increased fat accumulation and out-of-shape body;
 Sex drive and energy levels drop dramatically, and the whole person languishes;
 There are even symptoms of depression.In addition, breast swelling (commonly known as "bodybuilding milk") is also a common manifestation of
low testosterone.
Low testosterone not only affects a bodybuilder's physique and athletic performance, but also has a negative impact on overall health. Cortisol levels are
elevated, muscles are destroyed, immunity is reduced, and an increased risk of various diseases ensues.
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(2) PCT's Dual Mission: Stimulating Testosterone, Controlling Estrogen
The primary mission of PCT is to stimulate one's own testosterone production and restore normal hormone levels. Commonly used PCT drugs include
clomiphene, tamoxifen, chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). These medications work through different mechanisms to
prompt the body to restart testosterone production.
In addition to stimulating testosterone production, a PCT will also focus on controlling estrogen levels. Too much estrogen can lead to adverse reactions such
as breast swelling. Therefore, SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators) or aromatase inhibitor (AI) drugs are often added to PCT regimens to inhibit
estrogen production or action.
Note: Professional planning for safety and effectiveness
PCT is not a quick fix and requires a professional program based on factors such as individual's physical condition, steroid use cycle and dosage. It is
recommended to conduct PCT under professional guidance to ensure safety and effectiveness.
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3. What PCTs are available for you?
Now that you understand the mechanics and necessary of PCT, we will delve into the different programs available. Because individual needs and substances
in the cycle of use can vary, choosing the best program for you is key.
(1) Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs):
Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) are commonly used in PCT programs to help restore natural testosterone production quickly and effectively.
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SERMs are a class of compounds that selectively affect estrogen receptors in the body. They work by binding to the estrogen receptor, thereby blocking the
effects of estrogen as estrogen levels rise after the cycle.
This blockage stimulates the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to release more follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which
increases testosterone production. There are several prescription SERMs on the market, but we will discuss the two most common compounds.
 Clomid (Clomiphene)
Clomid, also known as clomiphene citrate, stands out as a widely utilized SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator) in the realm of PCT. Its reputation
stems from its remarkable ability to stimulate the pituitary gland, prompting the release of gonadotropins, hormones that signal the testes to produce
testosterone. This action proves invaluable in combating low testosterone levels and promoting muscle retention during PCT.
Often regarded as one of the most effective and potent compounds in PCT protocols, Clomid effectively counteracts the testosterone suppression caused by
steroid use. By stimulating the release of hormones like luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), Clomid triggers the testes to ramp
up testosterone production. This restoration of natural hormone levels not only aids in preventing testicular atrophy but also helps minimize the adverse
effects of estrogen.
Clomid's rapid onset of action further enhances its appeal, making it a preferred choice for individuals seeking to recover from severe hormone suppression
following extended steroid cycles. Its versatility and effectiveness have cemented Clomid's position as a cornerstone of PCT strategies for many athletes and
fitness enthusiasts.
 Tamoxifen (Nolvadex)
Tamoxifen is another popular SERM, and its primary mechanism of action is to selectively bind to estrogen receptors in specific tissues, competing for
receptor binding and thus effectively blocking the effects of excess estrogen in the body. This can help prevent or reduce estrogen-related side effects and
help restore the body's natural testosterone production
Tamoxifen is often used in combination with other PCT medications, such as clomiphene (Clomid) or chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), for best results.
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Tamoxifen is considered milder and has fewer side effects than some other SERMs, such as clomiphene. Some users report that Tamoxifen is more effective
than clomiphene in raising testosterone levels and suppressing estrogenic activity.
(2) Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs):
Aromatase inhibitors (AI) reduce the conversion of androgens to estrogen in the body by inhibiting the enzyme aromatase in the body. Aromatase is an
enzyme whose main role is to convert androgens into estrogens. During the use of anabolic androgenic steroids, there is a significant increase in the levels of
androgens in the body, which may lead to an increase in estrogen levels as well.
Aromatase inhibitors inhibit the process of converting androgens to estrogens by blocking the activity of the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase inhibitors are
often used as part of post-circulatory therapy and are designed to help restore the body's natural testosterone levels.
 Anastrozole (Arimidex):
Anastrozole is a highly potent aromatase inhibitor (AI) that prevents estrogen-related side effects by effectively reducing estrogen synthesis while maintaining
testosterone levels. In PCT regimens, it is widely used to optimize hormone balance and minimize the adverse effects of estrogen.
 Letrozole (Femara):
Letrozole is also a potent AI that acts on aromatase, reducing estrogen levels and maintaining testosterone stability. Letrozole is commonly used in PCT
treatment regimens to combat problems caused by estrogen and maintain a good testosterone to estrogen ratio.
(3) Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs:
GnRH acts as a master regulator, stimulating the pituitary gland to release two essential hormones: luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone
(FSH).
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In turn, LH plays a direct role in stimulating testosterone production in the testes, while FSH is responsible for regulating sperm production. By mimicking
natural GnRH signaling, GnRH analogs effectively stimulate the pituitary gland, thereby increasing LH and FSH production. The surge in LH and FSH in
turn triggers the testes to produce more testosterone, thus restoring testosterone levels to the natural range. Because of its potent effect on testosterone
production, it is commonly used in more advanced PCT regimens.
 Leuprolide (Lupron):
Lupron is a synthetic GnRH analog that effectively stimulates the pituitary gland, resulting in a significant increase in gonadotropin release. This, in turn,
triggers the testes to produce more testosterone, making Lupron a valuable tool in advanced PCT regimens.
(4) Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG):
HCG functions by simulating luteinizing hormone (LH), which activates testicular Leydig cells and promotes testosterone production. This helps restore the
body's natural testosterone levels as quickly as possible after stopping steroids, reduces the risk of testicular atrophy, and promotes recovery of gonadal
function.
In addition, HCG can reduce some of the adverse effects that may occur after stopping steroids, such as muscle loss and weight gain. It also has an
appetite-suppressing effect, allowing individuals to maintain lower caloric intake without feeling overly hungry during weight loss. Therefore, the use of
HCG during PCT can help maintain the balance of the body's endocrine system and promote faster recovery and adaptation to the physiological state after the
cycle.
4. When to start PCT?
Ensuring that you choose the right timing to start post cycle therapy is crucial, especially depending on the type of performance enhancing drug (PED) you
are using. One of the most common PEDs is anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS), but different forms of steroids require PCT to be started at different points
in time. Below is a guide for each steroid to help you determine the best timing for treatment.
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(1) Oral steroids:
For oral steroids with short half-lives (less than 8 hours), PCT can be started 1-3 days after the last dose. Examples
include Dianabol, Anadrol and Boldenone Undecylenate.
(2) Injectable steroids:
For injectable steroids with longer half-lives (more than 8 hours), PCT may be initiated 7-14 days after the last dose. e.g., Testosterone
Cypionate, Nandrolone Decanoate (DECA) and Methenolone/primo Enanthate .
(3) Combination cycling:
If using both oral and injectable steroids, consider the longest half-life of all compounds and start PCT 7-14 days after the last dose.
As you can see, it is very important that PCT starts in a timely manner. Once you stop using PEDs, your body will no longer receive external hormones and
will need to restart its own hormone production. Therefore, you must ensure that you start PCT relatively soon after the end of your cycle.This is why it is
crucial to plan and provide proper PCT.
5. Different PCT options
Different PCT protocols are designed primarily for different steroid types and cycles of use to maximize natural testosterone recovery and minimize side
effects. Below are some common PCT regimens and their pairings and dosage recommendations:
Option 1: Use Clomid alone
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Applicable people:
People using short-term oral steroids or low-dose injectable steroids.
Mixing and dosage:
Clomiphene: 50mg-100mg daily for 4-6 weeks.
Option 2: Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) used alone
Applicable people:
People using short-term oral steroids or low-dose injectable steroids.
Mixing and dosage:
Tamoxifen: 20mg-40mg daily for 4-6 weeks.
Option 3: Combined use of Anastrozole (Arimidex) + Clomid (Clomid)
Applicable people:
People who use medium or high doses of injectable steroids.
Mixing and dosage:
Anastrozole: 1 mg daily for 4-6 weeks.
Clomiphene: 50mg-100mg daily for 4-6 weeks.
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Option 4: Combined use of letrozole (Femara) + tamoxifen (Nolvadex)
Applicable people:
People who use medium or high doses of injectable steroids.
Mixing and dosage:
Letrozole: 2.5mg-5mg daily for 4-6 weeks.
Tamoxifen: 20mg-40mg daily for 4-6 weeks.
Option 5: Lupron + Clomid / Tamoxifen (Nolvadex)
Applicable people:
People who use high-dose injectable steroids or have poor response to other PCT regimens.
Mixing and dosage:
Lupron: 250mcg-750mcg injected once a week for 4-6 weeks.
Clomiphene: 50mg-100mg daily for 4-6 weeks.
Tamoxifen: 20mg-40mg daily for 4-6 weeks.
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6. How long should PCT last?
When it comes to PCT, its duration is a key issue, but its length is not generalized.The length of PCT is influenced by a number of factors, including the
half-life of the drug, the mode of action, and the rate of drug metabolism in an individual. Together, these factors determine how long a drug stays in the body
and how long it takes to achieve its full efficacy. In addition, the duration of PCT may also vary depending on the specific goal, for example, whether it is
intended to increase testosterone levels, reduce muscle loss, or promote overall recovery.
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In general, the duration of PCT is usually between four and eight weeks. However, it is important to emphasize that this is only a general guide, as in some
cases longer or shorter cycles may be needed to achieve optimal results. For example, certain medications may take longer to completely clear the body, while
certain individuals may require adjustments to the duration of PCT due to their unique rate of drug metabolism.
Therefore, when designing a PCT program, it should be personalized to the specific situation, incorporating advice and guidance from healthcare
professionals. It is only through a scientifically sound plan and appropriate duration that the effects of PCT can be maximized, ensuring that the body returns
to its optimal state as soon as possible after the cycle.
7. Do you need PCT for each steroid cycle?
The answer is not always the same.Whether you need PCT depends on a variety of factors, such as the type and dose of steroid used, cycle length, and
individual physiology.
Typically, the use of exogenous testosterone or its derivatives inhibits the body's endogenous testosterone production, which may lead to testicular atrophy
and hypofunction, in which case PCT is often necessary. However, some steroids may not significantly suppress endogenous testosterone production and
therefore may not require specific PCT. (Note: Depends on individual physiological response and drug dosage.)
Common steroids that inhibit TT include:
 All testosterone esters: e.g. testosterone propionate, testosterone enanthate, testosterone laureate
 Deca Durabolin
 Dianabol
 Anavar
 Superdrol
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Common steroids that do not inhibit TT include:
 Primobolan
 Winstrol
 Halotestin
 Anadrol
 Oral Turinabol
In addition, we observed that Anavar and Primobolan exhibited minimal inhibition in anabolic steroids. It should be noted that these substances have
moderate hepatotoxic and cardiotoxic properties, making them one of the safest anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) on the market.
However, even with steroids that do not inhibit TT, there are some people who may still wish to undergo PCT. This may be to help restore natural TT levels
more quickly, or to minimize potential side effects after PCT.
8. Do you need PCT after using SARMS?
Some of the SARMs are also inhibitory due to their action on the body's androgen receptors, so PCT is necessary.Because if you rely on natural recovery
you're likely to lose the gains you've previously made with the SARMs during the recovery phase, so an aggressive PCT is definitely the right thing to do.
Now let's see which SARMs are needed and which may not be!
SARMs Dose Cycle
Is PCT
required?
Clarification
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MK-2866
25mg per day 12 weeks yes best effect
20mg per day 8 weeks yes
<12mg per day any period no
LGD-4033
20mg per day 12 weeks yes
Even half daily
dose requires PCT
20mg per day < 6 weeks no
GW-501516 any dose any period no
Not SARMs, does
not affect the
gonadal axis
YK-11 any dose any period yes
Need liver
protection
MK-677 any dose any period no Not SARMs, does
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not affect the
gonadal axis
SR-9009 any dose any period no
Not true SARMs
and do not affect
the gonadal axis
RAD-140 any dose any period yes
9. What should you keep in mind during PCT?
During the PCT, if you follow these key steps, you can make a big difference and be in the best shape possible for a brand new training cycle.
Healthy Eating:
Ensure increased intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Nutrition plays a vital role in post cycle therapy. Foods rich in essential nutrients help maintain
hormonal balance and overall health. Adequate protein intake is essential for maintaining muscle mass, while moderate intake of carbohydrates and healthy
fats support overall energy levels and metabolic health.
Exercise properly:
While undergoing PCT, ensure that you regularly engage in workouts that include strength training and cardio. Continued training helps maintain muscle
growth, promotes natural rebalancing of hormones, and helps maintain mental health. Exercise stimulates natural testosterone production.
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Adequate Sleep:
Getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night is essential for physical recovery, which is the body's prime time for self-repair and renewal. Poor
sleep can seriously hinder the body's ability to recover and should be addressed as much as diet and exercise.
Avoid stress:
Minimizing stress is also crucial. Stress stimulates the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which may hinder the body's ability to
restore natural testosterone production. Additionally, stress can lead to decreased sleep quality, further aggravating the body's burden during PCT. Therefore,
it is best to take steps to reduce stress during PCT, including finding ways to relax, such as meditation and breathing exercises.
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10. Are supplements needed for PCT?
It's really a good idea to use additional supplements while undergoing PCT! They can help your body recover from the stress of using AAS and optimize
hormone levels for best results. Here are some examples of quality supplements to support PCT:
①creatine: creatine aids in muscle recovery and regeneration and helps reduce muscle loss.
②dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA): supplementing with DHEA can help restore natural testosterone (Test) production, an important hormone for male
strength and sexual function.
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③Vitamins and minerals: Vitamins and minerals are essential for maintaining normal body functions, such as vitamin D, zinc and magnesium.
④Fish oil: Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and help reduce side effects during PCT.
Make sure you choose a high-quality supplement and follow the recommended dosage during PCT. It's also a good idea to consult with your doctor or a
professional health practitioner before using any new supplement to ensure that it is compatible with your health condition and personal needs and that it
won't interact adversely with other medications or supplements.
11. Conclusion
Overall, PCT is not an optional step, but a key component to achieving fitness goals. For individuals using PEDs in particular, it is vital as it can counteract
the negative effects of abruptly stopping PEDs, such as plummeting testosterone levels, muscle loss, and sexual dysfunction. With a well-crafted PCT
program, you can maintain your hard-earned muscle mass and be ready for the next training cycle.
However, it is important to keep in mind that PCT is not an overnight process and requires patience and professional guidance. It is wise to consult a qualified
healthcare professional to develop a personalized PCT program and adhere to a healthy lifestyle.
PCT is not only about health, but also about the success of your fitness journey!
12. Reference
[1] Bonnecaze AK, O’Connor T, Aloi JA. Characteristics and attitudes of men using anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS): a Survey of 2385 men. Am J Mens
Health. 2020;14(6):1557988320966536. doi: 10.1177/1557988320966536. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar].
[2] Horwitz H, Andersen JT, Dalhoff KP. Health consequences of androgenic anabolic steroid use. J Intern Med. 2019;285(3):333–340. doi:
10.1111/joim.12850. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
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[3] Kanayama G, Hudson JI, DeLuca J, Isaacs S, Baggish A, Weiner R, et al. Prolonged hypogonadism in males following withdrawal from
anabolic-androgenic steroids: an under-recognized problem. Addiction. 2015;110(5):823–831. doi: 10.1111/add.12850. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
[4] Rasmussen JJ, Selmer C, Østergren PB, Pedersen KB, Schou M, Gustafsson F, et al. Former abusers of anabolic androgenic steroids exhibit decreased
testosterone levels and hypogonadal symptoms years after cessation: a case-control study. PLoS One. 2016;11(8):e003207. doi:
10.1371/journal.pone.0161208. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
[5] Smit DL, Buijs MM, de Hon O, den Heijer M, de Ronde W. Disruption and recovery of testicular function during and after androgen abuse: the
HAARLEM study. Hum Reprod. 2021;36(4):880–890. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deaa366. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
[6] Sharma A, Grant B, Islam H, Kapoor A, Pradeep A, Jayasena CN. Common symptoms associated with usage and cessation of anabolic androgenic
steroids in men. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2022;36(5):101691. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2022.101691. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
[7] Zitzmann M. Testosterone, mood, behaviour and quality of life. Andrology. 2020;8(6):1598–1605. doi: 10.1111/andr.12867. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
[Google Scholar] Ip EJ, Lu DH, Barnett MJ, Tenerowicz MJ, Vo JC, Perry PJ. Psychological and physical impact of anabolic-androgenic steroid dependence.
Pharmacotherapy. 2012;32(10):910–919. doi: 10.1002/j.1875-9114.2012.01123. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
[8] Kanayama G, Brower KJ, Wood RI, Hudson JI, Pope HG. Jr. Anabolic-androgenic steroid dependence: an emerging disorder. Addiction.
2009;104(12):1966–1978. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02734.x. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
[9] Smit DL, de Hon O, Venhuis BJ, den Heijer M, de Ronde W. Baseline characteristics of the HAARLEM study: 100 male amateur athletes using anabolic
androge
[10] The use of post-cycle therapy is associated with reduced withdrawal symptoms from anabolic-androgenic steroid use: a survey of 470 men. Published
online 2023 Nov 11. From: NCBI
[11] Full recovery may be possible among men who use steroids for muscle growth. Published online 2023 Nov 11. From: Endocrine Society
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[12] Harm Reduction in Male Patients Actively Using Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) and Performance-Enhancing Drugs (PEDs): a Review. Published
online 2021 May 4. From: Journal of General Internal Medicine

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Post-Cycle Therapy (PCT) in bodybuilding docx.pdf

  • 1. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd Post-Cycle Therapy (PCT) in bodybuilding : The Golden Rule of Safe Recovery Revealed In the field of bodybuilding, the quest to shape up and improve performance often leads athletes to explore the field of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). These PEDs, such as anabolic androgenic steroids, are capable of pushing the body and muscles beyond their natural limits, allowing them to reach unprecedented heights. However, while PEDs can indeed deliver extraordinary gains, they also come at a price. With the use of them, the body's natural hormone production is suppressed. This is why PCT is so crucial.PCT helps to effectively restore hormonal balance and get the body back on track. For those individuals who are using or considering using PEDs, it is crucial to understand and implement proper PCT. In what follows,I will provide you with an in-depth guide to PCT, answer any questions or concerns you may have, and help you make an informed decision.
  • 2. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd 1. What do you know about PCT in bodybuilding? PCT refers to the use of a drug or supplement regimen designed to help the body restore natural hormone levels after a steroid cycle has ended. Steroid use suppresses the body's own production of testosterone, a hormone vital for maintaining male sexual characteristics and muscle growth. The body's production of testosterone is primarily regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis. The hypothalamus secretes gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which stimulates the pituitary gland to release luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), while LH stimulates the testes to produce testosterone and FSH stimulates spermatogenesis.
  • 3. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd However, steroid use produces a negative feedback effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis. Since steroids provide testosterone levels far in excess of physiologic levels, the hypothalamus incorrectly assumes that there is an excess of testosterone in the body and thus reduces GnRH secretion. This leads to a concomitant reduction in the amount of LH and FSH secreted by the pituitary gland, which ultimately suppresses the testes' own testosterone production. With PCT, the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis is stimulated, restoring natural testosterone production. 2. Why is PCT needed in bodybuilding? (1) PCT: Reversing the Negative Effects of Steroids In bodybuilding, many people choose to resort to anabolic steroids to accelerate muscle growth and strength gains. However, steroid use does not come without a price; it suppresses the body's own testosterone production, leading to a host of negative consequences. In response to these problems, bodybuilding PCT was created. The core goal of PCT is to stimulate your own testosterone production to prevent entering a low testosterone state. When testosterone levels plummet and there is a relative excess of estrogen in the body, a number of headaches are triggered:  Muscle catabolism is accelerated, and hard-earned muscles go down the drain;  Increased fat accumulation and out-of-shape body;  Sex drive and energy levels drop dramatically, and the whole person languishes;  There are even symptoms of depression.In addition, breast swelling (commonly known as "bodybuilding milk") is also a common manifestation of low testosterone. Low testosterone not only affects a bodybuilder's physique and athletic performance, but also has a negative impact on overall health. Cortisol levels are elevated, muscles are destroyed, immunity is reduced, and an increased risk of various diseases ensues.
  • 4. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd (2) PCT's Dual Mission: Stimulating Testosterone, Controlling Estrogen The primary mission of PCT is to stimulate one's own testosterone production and restore normal hormone levels. Commonly used PCT drugs include clomiphene, tamoxifen, chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). These medications work through different mechanisms to prompt the body to restart testosterone production. In addition to stimulating testosterone production, a PCT will also focus on controlling estrogen levels. Too much estrogen can lead to adverse reactions such as breast swelling. Therefore, SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators) or aromatase inhibitor (AI) drugs are often added to PCT regimens to inhibit estrogen production or action. Note: Professional planning for safety and effectiveness PCT is not a quick fix and requires a professional program based on factors such as individual's physical condition, steroid use cycle and dosage. It is recommended to conduct PCT under professional guidance to ensure safety and effectiveness.
  • 5. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd 3. What PCTs are available for you? Now that you understand the mechanics and necessary of PCT, we will delve into the different programs available. Because individual needs and substances in the cycle of use can vary, choosing the best program for you is key. (1) Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs): Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) are commonly used in PCT programs to help restore natural testosterone production quickly and effectively.
  • 6. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd SERMs are a class of compounds that selectively affect estrogen receptors in the body. They work by binding to the estrogen receptor, thereby blocking the effects of estrogen as estrogen levels rise after the cycle. This blockage stimulates the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to release more follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which increases testosterone production. There are several prescription SERMs on the market, but we will discuss the two most common compounds.  Clomid (Clomiphene) Clomid, also known as clomiphene citrate, stands out as a widely utilized SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator) in the realm of PCT. Its reputation stems from its remarkable ability to stimulate the pituitary gland, prompting the release of gonadotropins, hormones that signal the testes to produce testosterone. This action proves invaluable in combating low testosterone levels and promoting muscle retention during PCT. Often regarded as one of the most effective and potent compounds in PCT protocols, Clomid effectively counteracts the testosterone suppression caused by steroid use. By stimulating the release of hormones like luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), Clomid triggers the testes to ramp up testosterone production. This restoration of natural hormone levels not only aids in preventing testicular atrophy but also helps minimize the adverse effects of estrogen. Clomid's rapid onset of action further enhances its appeal, making it a preferred choice for individuals seeking to recover from severe hormone suppression following extended steroid cycles. Its versatility and effectiveness have cemented Clomid's position as a cornerstone of PCT strategies for many athletes and fitness enthusiasts.  Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) Tamoxifen is another popular SERM, and its primary mechanism of action is to selectively bind to estrogen receptors in specific tissues, competing for receptor binding and thus effectively blocking the effects of excess estrogen in the body. This can help prevent or reduce estrogen-related side effects and help restore the body's natural testosterone production Tamoxifen is often used in combination with other PCT medications, such as clomiphene (Clomid) or chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), for best results.
  • 7. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd Tamoxifen is considered milder and has fewer side effects than some other SERMs, such as clomiphene. Some users report that Tamoxifen is more effective than clomiphene in raising testosterone levels and suppressing estrogenic activity. (2) Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs): Aromatase inhibitors (AI) reduce the conversion of androgens to estrogen in the body by inhibiting the enzyme aromatase in the body. Aromatase is an enzyme whose main role is to convert androgens into estrogens. During the use of anabolic androgenic steroids, there is a significant increase in the levels of androgens in the body, which may lead to an increase in estrogen levels as well. Aromatase inhibitors inhibit the process of converting androgens to estrogens by blocking the activity of the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase inhibitors are often used as part of post-circulatory therapy and are designed to help restore the body's natural testosterone levels.  Anastrozole (Arimidex): Anastrozole is a highly potent aromatase inhibitor (AI) that prevents estrogen-related side effects by effectively reducing estrogen synthesis while maintaining testosterone levels. In PCT regimens, it is widely used to optimize hormone balance and minimize the adverse effects of estrogen.  Letrozole (Femara): Letrozole is also a potent AI that acts on aromatase, reducing estrogen levels and maintaining testosterone stability. Letrozole is commonly used in PCT treatment regimens to combat problems caused by estrogen and maintain a good testosterone to estrogen ratio. (3) Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs: GnRH acts as a master regulator, stimulating the pituitary gland to release two essential hormones: luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
  • 8. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd In turn, LH plays a direct role in stimulating testosterone production in the testes, while FSH is responsible for regulating sperm production. By mimicking natural GnRH signaling, GnRH analogs effectively stimulate the pituitary gland, thereby increasing LH and FSH production. The surge in LH and FSH in turn triggers the testes to produce more testosterone, thus restoring testosterone levels to the natural range. Because of its potent effect on testosterone production, it is commonly used in more advanced PCT regimens.  Leuprolide (Lupron): Lupron is a synthetic GnRH analog that effectively stimulates the pituitary gland, resulting in a significant increase in gonadotropin release. This, in turn, triggers the testes to produce more testosterone, making Lupron a valuable tool in advanced PCT regimens. (4) Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG): HCG functions by simulating luteinizing hormone (LH), which activates testicular Leydig cells and promotes testosterone production. This helps restore the body's natural testosterone levels as quickly as possible after stopping steroids, reduces the risk of testicular atrophy, and promotes recovery of gonadal function. In addition, HCG can reduce some of the adverse effects that may occur after stopping steroids, such as muscle loss and weight gain. It also has an appetite-suppressing effect, allowing individuals to maintain lower caloric intake without feeling overly hungry during weight loss. Therefore, the use of HCG during PCT can help maintain the balance of the body's endocrine system and promote faster recovery and adaptation to the physiological state after the cycle. 4. When to start PCT? Ensuring that you choose the right timing to start post cycle therapy is crucial, especially depending on the type of performance enhancing drug (PED) you are using. One of the most common PEDs is anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS), but different forms of steroids require PCT to be started at different points in time. Below is a guide for each steroid to help you determine the best timing for treatment.
  • 9. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd (1) Oral steroids: For oral steroids with short half-lives (less than 8 hours), PCT can be started 1-3 days after the last dose. Examples include Dianabol, Anadrol and Boldenone Undecylenate. (2) Injectable steroids: For injectable steroids with longer half-lives (more than 8 hours), PCT may be initiated 7-14 days after the last dose. e.g., Testosterone Cypionate, Nandrolone Decanoate (DECA) and Methenolone/primo Enanthate . (3) Combination cycling: If using both oral and injectable steroids, consider the longest half-life of all compounds and start PCT 7-14 days after the last dose. As you can see, it is very important that PCT starts in a timely manner. Once you stop using PEDs, your body will no longer receive external hormones and will need to restart its own hormone production. Therefore, you must ensure that you start PCT relatively soon after the end of your cycle.This is why it is crucial to plan and provide proper PCT. 5. Different PCT options Different PCT protocols are designed primarily for different steroid types and cycles of use to maximize natural testosterone recovery and minimize side effects. Below are some common PCT regimens and their pairings and dosage recommendations: Option 1: Use Clomid alone
  • 10. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd Applicable people: People using short-term oral steroids or low-dose injectable steroids. Mixing and dosage: Clomiphene: 50mg-100mg daily for 4-6 weeks. Option 2: Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) used alone Applicable people: People using short-term oral steroids or low-dose injectable steroids. Mixing and dosage: Tamoxifen: 20mg-40mg daily for 4-6 weeks. Option 3: Combined use of Anastrozole (Arimidex) + Clomid (Clomid) Applicable people: People who use medium or high doses of injectable steroids. Mixing and dosage: Anastrozole: 1 mg daily for 4-6 weeks. Clomiphene: 50mg-100mg daily for 4-6 weeks.
  • 11. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd Option 4: Combined use of letrozole (Femara) + tamoxifen (Nolvadex) Applicable people: People who use medium or high doses of injectable steroids. Mixing and dosage: Letrozole: 2.5mg-5mg daily for 4-6 weeks. Tamoxifen: 20mg-40mg daily for 4-6 weeks. Option 5: Lupron + Clomid / Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) Applicable people: People who use high-dose injectable steroids or have poor response to other PCT regimens. Mixing and dosage: Lupron: 250mcg-750mcg injected once a week for 4-6 weeks. Clomiphene: 50mg-100mg daily for 4-6 weeks. Tamoxifen: 20mg-40mg daily for 4-6 weeks.
  • 12. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd 6. How long should PCT last? When it comes to PCT, its duration is a key issue, but its length is not generalized.The length of PCT is influenced by a number of factors, including the half-life of the drug, the mode of action, and the rate of drug metabolism in an individual. Together, these factors determine how long a drug stays in the body and how long it takes to achieve its full efficacy. In addition, the duration of PCT may also vary depending on the specific goal, for example, whether it is intended to increase testosterone levels, reduce muscle loss, or promote overall recovery.
  • 13. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd In general, the duration of PCT is usually between four and eight weeks. However, it is important to emphasize that this is only a general guide, as in some cases longer or shorter cycles may be needed to achieve optimal results. For example, certain medications may take longer to completely clear the body, while certain individuals may require adjustments to the duration of PCT due to their unique rate of drug metabolism. Therefore, when designing a PCT program, it should be personalized to the specific situation, incorporating advice and guidance from healthcare professionals. It is only through a scientifically sound plan and appropriate duration that the effects of PCT can be maximized, ensuring that the body returns to its optimal state as soon as possible after the cycle. 7. Do you need PCT for each steroid cycle? The answer is not always the same.Whether you need PCT depends on a variety of factors, such as the type and dose of steroid used, cycle length, and individual physiology. Typically, the use of exogenous testosterone or its derivatives inhibits the body's endogenous testosterone production, which may lead to testicular atrophy and hypofunction, in which case PCT is often necessary. However, some steroids may not significantly suppress endogenous testosterone production and therefore may not require specific PCT. (Note: Depends on individual physiological response and drug dosage.) Common steroids that inhibit TT include:  All testosterone esters: e.g. testosterone propionate, testosterone enanthate, testosterone laureate  Deca Durabolin  Dianabol  Anavar  Superdrol
  • 14. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd Common steroids that do not inhibit TT include:  Primobolan  Winstrol  Halotestin  Anadrol  Oral Turinabol In addition, we observed that Anavar and Primobolan exhibited minimal inhibition in anabolic steroids. It should be noted that these substances have moderate hepatotoxic and cardiotoxic properties, making them one of the safest anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) on the market. However, even with steroids that do not inhibit TT, there are some people who may still wish to undergo PCT. This may be to help restore natural TT levels more quickly, or to minimize potential side effects after PCT. 8. Do you need PCT after using SARMS? Some of the SARMs are also inhibitory due to their action on the body's androgen receptors, so PCT is necessary.Because if you rely on natural recovery you're likely to lose the gains you've previously made with the SARMs during the recovery phase, so an aggressive PCT is definitely the right thing to do. Now let's see which SARMs are needed and which may not be! SARMs Dose Cycle Is PCT required? Clarification
  • 15. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd MK-2866 25mg per day 12 weeks yes best effect 20mg per day 8 weeks yes <12mg per day any period no LGD-4033 20mg per day 12 weeks yes Even half daily dose requires PCT 20mg per day < 6 weeks no GW-501516 any dose any period no Not SARMs, does not affect the gonadal axis YK-11 any dose any period yes Need liver protection MK-677 any dose any period no Not SARMs, does
  • 16. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd not affect the gonadal axis SR-9009 any dose any period no Not true SARMs and do not affect the gonadal axis RAD-140 any dose any period yes 9. What should you keep in mind during PCT? During the PCT, if you follow these key steps, you can make a big difference and be in the best shape possible for a brand new training cycle. Healthy Eating: Ensure increased intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Nutrition plays a vital role in post cycle therapy. Foods rich in essential nutrients help maintain hormonal balance and overall health. Adequate protein intake is essential for maintaining muscle mass, while moderate intake of carbohydrates and healthy fats support overall energy levels and metabolic health. Exercise properly: While undergoing PCT, ensure that you regularly engage in workouts that include strength training and cardio. Continued training helps maintain muscle growth, promotes natural rebalancing of hormones, and helps maintain mental health. Exercise stimulates natural testosterone production.
  • 17. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd Adequate Sleep: Getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night is essential for physical recovery, which is the body's prime time for self-repair and renewal. Poor sleep can seriously hinder the body's ability to recover and should be addressed as much as diet and exercise. Avoid stress: Minimizing stress is also crucial. Stress stimulates the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which may hinder the body's ability to restore natural testosterone production. Additionally, stress can lead to decreased sleep quality, further aggravating the body's burden during PCT. Therefore, it is best to take steps to reduce stress during PCT, including finding ways to relax, such as meditation and breathing exercises.
  • 18. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd 10. Are supplements needed for PCT? It's really a good idea to use additional supplements while undergoing PCT! They can help your body recover from the stress of using AAS and optimize hormone levels for best results. Here are some examples of quality supplements to support PCT: ①creatine: creatine aids in muscle recovery and regeneration and helps reduce muscle loss. ②dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA): supplementing with DHEA can help restore natural testosterone (Test) production, an important hormone for male strength and sexual function.
  • 19. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd ③Vitamins and minerals: Vitamins and minerals are essential for maintaining normal body functions, such as vitamin D, zinc and magnesium. ④Fish oil: Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and help reduce side effects during PCT. Make sure you choose a high-quality supplement and follow the recommended dosage during PCT. It's also a good idea to consult with your doctor or a professional health practitioner before using any new supplement to ensure that it is compatible with your health condition and personal needs and that it won't interact adversely with other medications or supplements. 11. Conclusion Overall, PCT is not an optional step, but a key component to achieving fitness goals. For individuals using PEDs in particular, it is vital as it can counteract the negative effects of abruptly stopping PEDs, such as plummeting testosterone levels, muscle loss, and sexual dysfunction. With a well-crafted PCT program, you can maintain your hard-earned muscle mass and be ready for the next training cycle. However, it is important to keep in mind that PCT is not an overnight process and requires patience and professional guidance. It is wise to consult a qualified healthcare professional to develop a personalized PCT program and adhere to a healthy lifestyle. PCT is not only about health, but also about the success of your fitness journey! 12. Reference [1] Bonnecaze AK, O’Connor T, Aloi JA. Characteristics and attitudes of men using anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS): a Survey of 2385 men. Am J Mens Health. 2020;14(6):1557988320966536. doi: 10.1177/1557988320966536. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]. [2] Horwitz H, Andersen JT, Dalhoff KP. Health consequences of androgenic anabolic steroid use. J Intern Med. 2019;285(3):333–340. doi: 10.1111/joim.12850. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
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  • 21. www.aea.ltd API CMO & CDMO Manufacturer Email: King@aea.ltd [12] Harm Reduction in Male Patients Actively Using Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) and Performance-Enhancing Drugs (PEDs): a Review. Published online 2021 May 4. From: Journal of General Internal Medicine