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Are Prohormones Worse Than Steroids?

Updated August 12, 2020
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This page may reference and describe prescription drugs, steroids, or steroid-like substances that are not available without a prescription from a licensed physician, or sometimes, illegal in the United States. We are not under any circumstances endorsing or recommending you take such substances. We reference such substances for informational purposes or only to compare them with legal nutritional supplements. You can read up on the side effects of steroids to learn more.


Are Prohormones Worse Than Steroids?

Are prohormones worse than steroids? For the most part, yes. But before we explore the reasons, let’s get something out of the way. Steroids are illegal. Go to jail illegal.

All Prohormones are legal. Not go to jail legal. This article is not condoning illegal use, nor is it encouraging you to use steroids over prohormones. The intention of this article is to show you that the legal steroids called prohormones are dangerous, and should not be taken before performing proper research on the long-term side effects.

Just because prohormones are legal, doesn’t mean they’re safer. In fact, it’s the opposite. here’s why:

Steroids vs Prohormones

Prohormones can produce more side effects. Prohormones may cause more side effects than steroids in some cases. Some, if not most prohormones formulas were tested and rejected by drug companies because of their health risks.

Prohormones are taken orally. Oral steroids are always far worse on the liver than injected steroids. Prohormones pass through the liver, and are very liver toxic. This chemically induced liver damage, known as hepatoxicity, is primarily caused by the larger percentage of molecules that have a methyl 17a by weight compared to conventional oral steroids.

Prohormones are less effective. Prohormones are less effective than steroids. You are taking a higher risk for smaller gains. Many prohormones are poorer, lab-rejected versions of popular steroids.

Prohormones are not thoroughly researched. Anabolic steroids have been researched on both man and animals, and have a long track record. On the other hand, there is very little prohormone research. The lack of research on prohormone substances presents too many uncertainties. Using prohormones makes you a lab guinea pig.

Prohormones are legal. Easier access means cheaper cost, and generally more abuse. Especially for beginning lifters. Beginners generally don’t use steroids for a number of reasons…no access to them, fear of jail, etc. But it is extremely common for beginning lifters to use prohormones, long before they learn proper training and diet.

Prohormones Banned

This article was first written in 2009. In 2014 Barack Obama signed the Designer Steroid Control Act, meaning many popular prohormones got banned – including Superdrol, Epistane, Havoc, Halodrol, P-Mag and more.

This proves that prohormones weren’t safe like many people first thought; and consequently the prohormones legally available today need to comply with new laws. As a result, prohormones that aren’t banned today will have less toxicity compared to the likes of superdrol and co. However, they’re still capable of causing severe negative reactions in users.

Dr Khash Farzam’s Take on Prohormones…

Are Prohormones Worse Than Steroids?

In terms of prohormones’ safety profile, this has been a commonly debated topic over the years. It’s well established that anabolic steroids can be dangerous to one’s health, especially in the presence of confounding variables. But what about prohormones? The peak of this debate occurred during the 2000s as prohormones were widely available online. Lots of teenagers swarmed websites that sold them, in the hopes of obtaining the benefits of anabolic steroids but minus the side effects. After knowing the definition of a prodrug and prohormone (below), it would be intuitive to assume that prohormones are not any safer than anabolic steroids.

A prodrug is an inactive chemical substance which converts to an active drug after the human body has converted it into its active form. Thus prohormones aren’t forms of testosterone, but once they’re ingested by users, they convert to such. In comparison, anabolic steroids are already hormones (testosterone), before entering the body.

If the prohormone is 17-a methylated, it will be a liver toxic drug. This is commonly known and a well established side effect among oral anabolic steroids, but often forgotten when discussing prohormones.

An example would be methyl 1 testosterone (M1T). A very powerful oral prohormone that induces highly similar (and equally potent) effects to anabolic steroids. However, M1T’s side effect profile can be incredibly intense. The fact that it is 17-a methylated means it’s highly liver toxic and as damaging to the liver as many toxic oral steroids.

Similarly, chlorodehydromethylandrostenediol which was also known as Halodrol, is another example of a liver toxic prohormone. This drug is the prohormone for Turinabol. It’s easy to see why taking the prodrug of an anabolic steroid can make very little sense, particularly when it is potentially more toxic to the body.

These drugs will cause variable side effects based upon their specific properties. Besides the discussed liver toxicity of 17-a methylated drugs, many are also nephrotoxic (toxic to the kidneys). They also damage the cardiovascular system both directly and indirectly. Distortion of the lipid profile can be seen, with decreased HDL and elevated LDL. Hypertension is quite common, especially if the drug induces significant water retention. While some of these effects may be transient, some others such as the nephrotoxicity may be permanent.

A significant worry and risk with prohormones, is the suppression of the hypothalamic – pituitary – gonadal (HPG) axis. Once exogenous hormones are introduced into the body, the body naturally signals itself through a pathway to shutdown natural production of testosterone. If the user is taking in a random, non-testosterone based, prohormone; they will have very little relative testosterone in their body. Considering the young age that many users began prohormones, this major side effect is particularly worrisome. And this type of hypogonadism (anabolic steroid induced hypogonadism aka ASIH) has unknown long term repercussions given that it’s not been adequately studied.

In conclusion, it is obvious that prohormones are not any safer than anabolic steroids. They carry the same HPG axis suppressive effects, damage the internal organs and essentially induce the same side effect profile as anabolic steroids.

The only difference is that they’re more likely to be used improperly because many users view them as a supplement, rather than a potent and dangerous drug. In addition, given that more users are younger (compared to AAS users), the overall outcomes with prohormones are likely to be worse. All of these issues are confounded by the fact that there is very little to no literature available on the long term side effects of these drugs. While this is also true for AAS, it is far worse with prohormones.


Summary. Do your research before messing with prohormones. Prohormones should never be used by those under the age of 21, nor by beginning lifters. Maximize your natural potential before you even consider prohormone use.

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