Hypogonadism is the term doctors use to describe when the gonads of any human being fails to produce enough, if any, sex hormones (1). In males, we often see this as low testosterone which can have adverse effects on your health. We also see this after the completion of a steroid cycle, where the production of testosterone will be very suppressed.
Low testosterone has been linked to decreased mental health, decreased sex drive, increase fat mass, loss of muscle mass, and loss of libido (2).
How do we cure low Testosterone?
The easiest solution to this would be to go on TRT – Testosterone Replacement Therapy – where a doctor prescribes you a small amount of exogenous testosterone to mimic that of what you should be producing naturally.
Is TRT the only way? Doctors have concerns because TRT does come with side effects such as cardiovascular issues, prostate concerns, as well as worsening cholesterol levels (2). Enclomiphene seems to be a good option, an estrogen receptor antagonist that can promote gonadotropin-dependent testosterone secretion – bonus it’s not a steroid and you keep your natty status.
What is Enclomiphene?
Enclomiphene is what’s known as a estrogen receptor antagonist, meaning that Enclomiphene will bind to estrogen receptors in your body and prevent estrogen from actually binding to them, and therefore you have “less estrogenic” effects in your body (2). Think of it as “Hey that guy stole my parking” and now you can’t get your taco at this gas station.
Enclomiphene has been shown to increase FSH (Follicle-stimulating hormone) and LH (Luteinizing hormone) as well as raise serum total testosterone in men (3). Under the brand name Androxal it has recently been subscribed to men who suffer from low testosterone, want an alternative to TRT, and are not interested in Clomid (clomiphene citrate) which has enormous emotional side effects (4).
How does Enclomiphene work?
While SERMs (Selective estrogen receptor modulators) can block some of the estrogen in the body, Enclomiphene (which as in an antagonist) will have an affinity to block estrogen receptors in all parts of the body (5). By antagonizing the negative feedback on gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), it can stimulate the release of FSH.
The application for bodybuilding is obviously a bit different. As you inject yourself with exogenous testosterone (i.e. go on a cycle) your natural testosterone does shut down. This is due to the back loop that leads to the suppression of LH and FSH; and with prolonged use, suppression of testosterone as well (hypogonadotropic hypogonadism).
After you have completed your cycle you will (hopefully) make use of a PCT protocol, to restart your natural hormones as well as controlling the rise of estrogen in your body. Usual suspects are HCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) to restart testosterone production as HCG acts like LH. Then something to control estrogen, SERMs (like Clomid and Nolvadex) or Aromatize inhibitors (Arimadex, Aromasin, or Letrozole).
Enclomiphene, as well as Zuclomiphene are stereoisomers of Clomiphene (Clomid), the former being isolated to function by itself. Enclomiphene is antiestrogenic, and increases the pituitary secretion of LH, and enhances the production of testosterone.
Benefits of Enclomiphene?
When compared to Clomid, the main benefit is going to be the lack of side effects. Clomid is notorious for having adverse effects on mental health (5), even coined by some as “Clomid Crazies”. A study in 2011 found that 41% of subjects experienced depression, and 45% experienced mood swings whilst on Clomid. Enclomiphene on the other hand has been shown to not have a lot of adverse effects, especially on mental health.
Enclomiphene also completely replaces the need for HCG post cycle. Since Enclomiphene has been shown to increase the secretion of LH, there isn’t a need for HCG. In fact, it is prescribed by doctors as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy, it’s that effective.
Is Enclomiphene Legal?
If you suffer from hypogonadism, and dislike the idea of TRT then legally, your health practitioner could potentially prescribe you with Enclomiphene. If you compete in a sport governed by the WADA, then Enclomiphene is illegal without a doctors prescription.
Who should use Enclomiphene?
As you start using steroids, your pituitary glands will stop producing LH, resulting in a decrease in serum testosterone. Once you finish that cycle, you will either hop on a cruise (essentially TRT) or make use of a PCT. For years the normal advice has always been “Just hop on some HCG bro – and pop some Clomid” which was sound at the time – but times have changed.
Enclomiphene vs HCG
For testosterone production, let’s compare a study of Enclomiphene (12.5mg dose) vs a study of HCG at 2000 IU Weekly.
In only 3 months, the Enclomiphene dose saw an increase of 55% in Mean Morning Total Testosterone Level (6). In 6 months, HCG increased Testosterone by 31% (7). (Keep in mind these were done by different groups, and various variables do come into play as a result).
Enclomiphene vs Clomid
For testosterone production, let’s compare the same Enclomiphene study vs a Clomid study conducted in 2003.
As aforementioned, Enclomiphene increased testosterone by 55%. The Clomid study had participants run 150mg Clomid weekly, for 4 months.
Clomid at this dose resulted in an average increase of testosterone by 50.22% (8).
As someone who will be suffering from lower LH and FSH due to the use of anabolic substances, Enclomiphene does seem like a great alternative to HCG or Clomid post cycle – bonus: less pinning. Keeping in mind, any PCT will probably be less than 3 or 4 months, and will need management of other factors such as estrogen.
How to use Enclomiphene?
In order to be 100% of what your levels are, I would highly recommend getting your bloodwork done to see exactly how an Enclomiphene PCT is affecting you.
Additionally, Enclomiphene is relatively new to the bodybuilding scene and anecdotal evidence is scarce, so dosage is hard to determine. Let’s use this study for reference (10).
|Enclomiphene Dose (mg, Daily)||Total Serum Testosterone increase after 14 Days|
Based of this, you could follow the following protocol:
- Extra-heavy dose period – Take 50mg of the medication for 14 days, every day.
- After heavy dose period – Take 25mg of the medication for 14 days, every day.
- Average dose – Take 12.5mg of the medication for 14 days, every day.
How to stack Enclomiphene in your PCT?
Since Enclomiphene is already such a powerful player, for smaller cycles I do not think more is necessary. For heavier cycles, yes more will be necessary.
HCG and Enclomiphene
HCG is dosed in IU’s, and dosage depends on how hard your cycle will have suppressed your natural testosterone. 250mg of Test Cyp a week might not even need a HCG dose at all, if you went the kitchen sink approach, you get the idea.
1.) Mild Cycle
- HCG: 1000 – 2000 IU Every Day for the first 4 – 5 days.
- Enclomiphene: 12.5mg everyday, for 14 days.
2.) Larger Cycle
- HCG: 2500 – 5000 IU Every Day for the first 4 – 5 days.
- Enclomiphene: 25mg everyday, for 14 days.
3.) Heavy Cycle
- HCG: 5000 IU Every other day for the first 14 days.
- Enclomiphene: 50mg everyday, for 14 days.
Keeping in mind that HCG comes with a host of its own side effects. Make use of an AI as necessary, but remember Enclomiphene is already an E2 antagonist due to the FSH secretion.
Enclomiphene Side Effects
Compared to it’s counterpart of Clomid, Enclomiphene almost comes with a clean pass. While further trials are definitely necessary, Enclomiphene currently only has two known side effects, diarrhea and nausea. The list of side effects for Clomid is way more plentiful.
One more thing about Enclomiphene, some studies do show or at least suggest that it will lower IGF-1 levels in the body (11).
Enclomiphene vs Clomid
As beforementioned, Clomid can be extremely detrimental when taking into consideration how it makes you feel mentally. While a part of me wants to say “Harden up”, combined with post cycle depression, Clomid … I’m just not a fan. There is literally no reason for Clomid when comparing it to Enclomiphene.
Enclomiphene vs HCG
Like we have discussed before, both these two can help with the stimulation of free serum testosterone after a cycle or in someone with hypogonadism. However, in the two studies mentioned, Enclomiphene has been shown to be slightly more effective compared to HCG. HCG also has more side effects than Enclomiphene.
Enclomiphene vs Aromasin
Aromasin is known as an Aromatase Inhibitor, a compound that inhibits the Aromatase Enzyme from converting testosterone into estrogen. High estrogen has various side effects in men such as fat gain, muscle loss, libido problems, and it can also affect you mentally. Aromasin is definitely a great drug, one of the preferred by bodybuilders to control estrogen side effects on a cycle, and many use it in their PCT to restart testosterone via the suppression of SHGB (sex hormone binding globulin).
Comparing these two, is like comparing a nice car with another nice car. Both have benefits and both have drawbacks. On cycle, I would prefer Aromasin. Post cycle, I would give Enclomiphene a try.
How quickly does Enclomiphene work?
Enclomiphene has been shown to be effective within a few days of initial use, as its half life is only 10 hours. It would thus be smart to drink your dose at the same time everyday.
Will Enclomiphene cause muscle growth?
Unless you suffer from natural hypogonadism, I don’t see a reason why it would. Even so, if you have normal testosterone it theoretically could enhance your LH and FSH levels since it’s an antagonist to estrogen itself. Studies to see what the effects of Enclomiphene on healthy adults don’t really exist – in fact in one study they removed the healthy adults because of safety concerns. Could it increase muscle growth? Potentially. Would it come with side effects that we aren’t aware of currently? Yes.
Which is better, Enclomiphene or Nolvadex?
Nolvadex is another SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator) just like Clomid, but slightly more powerful and effective. SERMs are pretty much only used when you are in a PCT phase or have estrogenic side effects whilst on cycle. Both will work to restart testosterone production, and commonly Nolvadex (or Tamoxifen) is more commonly prescribed.
Can a SARM do something similar?
SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators) are compounds that bind to Androgen Receptors in the muscle and bones, messaging the body to make these grow and then you achieve muscular hypertrophy, fat loss, and various other benefits.
Take Home Message
Enclomiphene is an emerging drug with powerful results in regards to stimulating testosterone in the male body, not only for men who suffer from hypogonadism but also for men coming off cycle and have suppressed testosterone levels. Anecdotal evidence is limited, however the scientific research does show it to be as or even more effective than methods such as HCG or Clomid.
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