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Supplemental Hormonal Enhancement

Muscle building or hypertrophy is the process of gaining muscle size and strength. The greatest boon to muscle building is proper nutrition, followed by training and rest. The focus of this article will be on how one's core program can be augmented with muscle building supplements related to hormone levels.

The supplement industry has been ever-changing in the muscle-building category. We've seen the rise of creatine, protein powders and prohormones and watched as the anabolic segment has been quite dynamic since the prohormone ban went into effect in 2004. As we cover creatine and protein powders elsewhere on this site, this category is geared toward prohormone-related supplements.

What's left?

These days, many prohormone-related supplements seem to have a short shelf-life, but a few have thus far withstood the test of time. Candid, brief reviews of DHEA, HGH, Tribulus Terrestris, ZMA, Anti-Estrogen and Post Cycle Therapy supplements follow.

DHEA

The results of DHEA supplementation in scientific studies have been mixed, some positive results and some possible side effects. DHEA is prohibited by many athletics associations and failed attempts have been made to reclassify it as a controlled substance under the category of anabolic steroids.

DHEA has been around for a long time and it's still available. This is a pretty reasonable description of how it's represented:

"Some advocates call it the fountain of youth. Known as the mother of hormones, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is needed by the body to produce many types of hormones including estrogen and testosterone. DHEA is secreted by the adrenal glands (located on top of the kidneys) as well as by the skin, brain, testicles, and ovaries. Although women make less DHEA than men, in both sexes DHEA production declines dramatically with age; levels are 80% lower at age 70 than at age 30.

There has been plenty of hype surrounding DHEA, so it is difficult to separate wishful thinking from sound scientific evidence. DHEA has been said to stimulate weight loss, increase libido, enhance memory, and prevent osteoporosis, but these claims are unsupported. Studies do indicate, however, that DHEA may improve general well-being in older people (although just how isn’t clear), reduce the risk of heart disease, ease symptoms of the autoimmune disease lupus, help manage diabetes, and bolster immunity, among other things."

DHEA 50mg, 60 Vcaps.

Check out more best-selling DHEA products here.

Growth Hormone

A number of studies have been conducted on HGH effects; however, the data is insufficient to draw definitive, long-term conclusions.

There are a great variety of products which claim to support or boost growth hormone in the human body. The results have been mixed. Here's a few snippets of info regarding these:

"HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is an amino acid produced in the anterior pituitary gland of the brain. hGH is continually secreted throughout the human lifecycle. This hormone influences our growth and aging process, and it is responsible for keeping our bodies young and in good health. hGH affects every bodily function, including sex and reproduction, growth and development, metabolism and mood. hGH levels are at their highest during childhood, and they peak at adolescence. After this, levels continue to decline. By age 61, hGH levels decrease to 80% less than what they were at age 21."

HGH Complete, 100 Capsules.

"What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of human growth hormone boosters you have used in the past? Personally, the first thing that comes to my mind is I felt let down, and lied to. Let down because when it comes down to it, the things I was supposed to feel, according to the bottle, or the person selling it, never happened. Stories of raising HGH to supraphysiological levels, levels that can only be obtained by using expensive, and illegal HGH injections. I felt lied to because raising HGH to supraphysiological conditions can result in bad side effects, so why would anyone want to intentionally do this, or promote a product that states it will do it?"

HGH Pro, 120-Capsules.

"HGHup‚ is the world's first hANh (Hybrid Anabolic / Near Hormonal); which is defined as a product that engages a synchronization of natural and exogenous factors to produce a pronounced anabolic and hormonal response. The distinct advantage of a hANh is that the user is able to obtain maximal physiological benefits comparable to that of fully hormonal products while minimizing potential side effects and disruption of endogenous factors post-usage."

HGHup, 150 Capsules.

Be sure to check out the customer reviews on these and others from the HGH category.

Tribulus Terrestris

It's touted as a sex-drive enhancer and testosterone booster/PCT; however, the results from controlled studies have been unable to consistently verify these claims.

The following text is from a well-known tribulus terrestris product, Tribestan (this one's been around the block a time or two), to illustrate the gist of this supplement:

"When you take Tribestan, your pituitary releases luteinizing hormone, which is responsible for stimulating the testes to produce testosterone. It's common for levels of both luteinizing hormone and testosterone to decrease when you are taking steroids or even when you use the testosterone boosters. This is because when the body senses an external source of testosterone, it will decrease the amount of testosterone it produces to maintain homeostasis. That means your body will always attempt to balance itself.

That's why many people who have taken steroids for long periods of time experience a dramatic reduction in the amount of testosterone they produce and some even suffer a complete shutdown. That's how some bodybuilders become sterile or impotent. They rely on outside sources of testosterone so much that their own system for testosterone production becomes inactive (dormant).

The reason why Tribestan works so well is because it is not an external source of testosterone or a precursor to testosterone. It doesn't supply testosterone. It stimulates your body to produce more of its own testosterone. And even in situations where people are taking steroids and their natural testosterone production has diminished, it can raise testosterone production back up to normal levels."

Tribestan, 60 Tablets

More tribulus terrestris products can be found here.

ZMA

ZMA was hailed as a major breakthrough in testosterone enhancement when strength gains were reported in an NCAA football players' 8 week program in 1998. Subsequent studies have failed to duplicate this result. Here's the breakdown from one of the current top-sellers:

"We use only the finest patent-pending ZMA that has been scientifically proven to be 2 1/2 times stronger than a placebo! ZMA is the only non-steroidal, all natural dietary supplement that is 100% clinically proven to increase Testosterone levels and increase strength in athletes. Increased muscle tissue growth and recovery can only be accomplished if your body is kept in an anabolic state for a considerable length of time. ZMA will help your body to stay in this anabolic state thereby increasing your body's overall lean muscle mass.

In an eight week double blind, placebo controlled study with college football players, ZMA was found to increase total plasma testosterone levels by 32.4%, increase Insulin-Like Growth Factor by 3.6%, increase free testosterone levels by 33.5%, and increase muscle strength by 11.6%. This study is conclusive because the testosterone levels and IGF-1 levels actually dropped in the placebo group overnight, whereas with the ZMA group, it jumped considerably."

ZMA Pro, 90 Capsules

Sort all ZMA products by best-selling here.

Anti-Estrogens

Just as the name implies, anti-estrogen products are designed to attack the hormone balance problem of maintaining maximum anabolism from a different angle.

This is another category wrought with an ever-changing dynamic. One of the long-time products found here is Animal Stak. Another is T-Bomb II.

Learn more about anti-estrogens here.

Check out the full list of best-selling anti-estrogen products here.

Post Cycle Therapy

Finally, post cycle therapy is the in vogue way of addressing the hormonal balance of one's body after a "cycle" of one or more of the anabolic products supplemented with above. Some of these products appear to have a "kitchen sink" philosophy, while others are more targeted.

Here's a snippet from a popular product in this category, A-HD:

"A-HD (Arimedex HD) is a novel compound Testosterone Boosting Agent. A shut down non-prescription Anti-Aromatase Inhibitor that works by blocking/binding to the enzyme aromatase therefore preventing the conversion of Estrogen. It also works by binding to the estrogen receptors and by doing so, prevent harmful estrogen from binding to these receptor sites. ZERO to little Estrogen leads to a harder, leaner, more dry looking physique. No more holding water, no more bloated looks just rock hard shredded muscle!"

Of course, these days, any product with ingredients that are listed like this may not be around too long: "(3s,4s)-4-[(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)methyl]-3-hydroxy-3-[[3-methoxy-4-[(2s,3r,4s,5r,6r)-3,4,5-trihydroxy-6-(hydroxymethyl)oxan-2-yl]oxy-phenyl]methyl]oxolan-2-one (2r,3r)-2,3-bis[(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)methyl]butane-1,4-diol..."

View all best-selling post cycle therapy products here.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

It seems that there will always be supplement companies willing to push the envelope to meet the demands of the market, while the FDA as well as many world governments have been relentless about ensuring the safety of homone-related supplements and limiting access or availability accordingly.

Should you spend your hard-earned money on any of these products to help you pack on more muscle? That's for you to decide! Do the research, read reviews and let us know about your results.

Of course with any ingestible item, there are potential risks; particularly when hormones are involved. Please check the label and do your homework. It's always recommended to seek the advice of a qualified physician before embarking on a diet, fitness or supplement routine.

To view the best-selling products overall in the muscle building category, click here.

References:

"Public Law 108-358-Oct. 22, 2004" (PDF). 108th US Congress. October 22, 2004. Retrieved July 8, 2007.

Bucci LR (2000). "Selected herbals and human exercise performance". The American journal of clinical nutrition 72 (2 Suppl): 624S–36S. PMID 10919969.

Brown GA, Vukovich MD, Reifenrath TA, Uhl NL, Parsons KA, Sharp RL, King DS (2000). "Effects of anabolic precursors on serum testosterone concentrations and adaptations to resistance training in young men". International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 10 (3): 340–59. PMID 10997957.

Brown GA, Vukovich MD, Martini ER, Kohut ML, Franke WD, Jackson DA, King DS (2001). "Endocrine and lipid responses to chronic androstenediol-herbal supplementation in 30 to 58 year old men". J Am Coll Nutr 20 (5): 520–8. PMID 11601567.

Neychev VK, & Mitev VI. (2005). "The aphrodisiac herb Tribulus terrestris does not influence the androgen production in young men". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 101 (1-3): 319–23. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.05.017. PMID 15994038.

Wilborn, Colin D; Kerksick, Chad M; Campbell, Bill I; Taylor, Lem W; Marcello, Brandon M; Rasmussen, Christopher J; Greenwood, Mike C; Almada, Anthony et al. (2004). "Effects of Zinc Magnesium Aspartate (ZMA) Supplementation on Training Adaptations and Markers of Anabolism and Catabolism". Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 1 (2): 12–20. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-1-2-12. PMC 2129161. PMID 18500945.

Koehler, K; Parr, M K; Geyer, H; Mester, J; Schänzer, W (2007). "Serum testosterone and urinary excretion of steroid hormone metabolites after administration of a high-dose zinc supplement". European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 63 (1): 65–70. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602899. PMID 17882141.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp030021

H Liu, DM Bravata, I Olkin et al. (May 2008). "Systematic review: the effects of growth hormone on athletic performance". Annals of Internal Medicine 148 (10): 747–58. PMID 18347346.

"'HGH' Pills and Sprays: Human Growth Hype?" (SHTML). FTC Consumer Alert. Federal Trade Commission. June 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-19.

Meyers DE, Cuneo RC (December 2003). "Controversies regarding the effects of growth hormone on the heart". Mayo Clinic Proceedings 78 (12): 1521–6. doi:10.4065/78.12.1521. PMID 14661681.

Wolkowitz, O. M.; Kramer, J. H.; Reus, V. I. et al. (2003). "DHEA treatment of Alzheimer's disease: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study". Neurology 60 (7): 1071–6. PMID 12682308.

Wolkowitz, O. M.; Reus, V. I.; Keebler, A. et al. (2006). "Double-blind treatment of major depression with dehydroepiandrosterone". Psychopharmacology (bo-controlled study) 188 (4): 541–551. doi:10.1007/s00213-005-0136-y. PMID 16231168.

Young, E. A.; Haskett, R. F.; Grunhaus, L.; et al., A; Weinberg, VM; Watson, SJ; Akil, H (1994). "Increased evening activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis in depressed patients". Archives of General Psychiatry 51 (9): 701–707. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1994.03950090033005. PMID 8080346.

Morales, A.J;Haubric, R.H; Hwang, J.Y; Asakura, H; Yen, S.S. (1998). "The effect of six months treatment with a 100 mg daily dose of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on circulating sex steroids, body composition and muscle strength in age advanced men and women.". Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 48 (4): 421–32. PMID 9876338.

Yen, S.S.; Morales, A.J; Khorram, O. (1995). "Replacement of DHEA in aging men and women. Potential remedial effects". Ann N Y Acad Sci 774: 128–142. PMID 8597453.

Wallace, M. B.; Lim, J.; Cutler, A.; Bucci, L. (1999). "Effects of dehydroepiandrosterone vs androstenedione supplementation in men". Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 31 (12): 1788–92. doi:10.1097/00005768-199912000-00014. PMID 10613429.

S. 2470: Dehydroepiandrosterone Abuse Reduction Act of 2007 (GovTrack.us)

World Anti-Doping Agency

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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