Prohormones: Effects, Risks, and Legality

Prohormones are a consumable alternative to anabolic steroids, which help build stronger muscles and burn more fat. Contrary to their name may suggest, prohormones are not hormones; rather, they are chemical compounds that increase the effect of natural hormones on the body(same goes to preprohormones, it has to be modified twice in the endoplasmic reticulum lumen before it can become the peptide hormone). Therefore, most hormones in the body have a corresponding prohormone. While anabolic steroids are illegal and potentially dangerous, prohormones are legal in certain cases and countries, and carry fewer risks to users. Their function lies between steroids and testosterone boosters, as they act as chemical precursors to naturally-produced steroids. Therefore, these supplements supply the body with the pieces needed to create the steroids internally, commonly used towards building more testosterone.

Effects & Risks

ProhormonesTaking prohormones has milder effects on building strength than directly taking steroids and testosterone boosters. However, they will still enhance lean muscle, increase strength, and increase fat metabolism. In fact, their effects are the strongest of any natural supplement that claims to accomplish the same goals.

Prohormones should be avoided if the user is under the age of 19, when the endocrine system can be permanently damaged through external hormone usage. However, for prohormones that lead to the formation of methylated steroids, all users should take extra caution, for methylated steroids are severely hard on the liver, such so that alcohol and other medication should be avoided. In the methylated form of prohormones, negative health effects may be even worse than steroids or testosterone boosters.

Natural effects that occur with prohormone use also include those of steroids and testosterone boosters, such as impaired natural testosterone production and subsequent physical effects, such as testicular shrinkage. If a prohormone is used, the user should consider post cycle therapy, which manipulates natural hormones to restore natural testosterone levels to normal. Some other effects may include minor hair loss and increased acne on the face, back, and chest.


Prohormones first became illegal in 2004, when President Bush signed the Anabolic Steroid Control Act, banning both anabolic steroids and prohormones. Many countries similarly banned prohormones and steroids soon after. However, through loopholes found in the act, certain types of prohormones could still be purchased and used without legal consequences, mostly precursors to methylated steroids such as superdrol and masterdrol.

Regarding sports competition that conduct drug tests, prohormones will be reflected in drug test results, and will suggest anabolic steroid usage. Therefore, athletes who compete professionally or seriously should still avoid prohormones to improve their condition.

Works Consulted

  • Bennett, Hunter. “Prohormones Review – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” Nutrition Inspector, Nutrition Inspector, n.d.
  • Sinicki, Adam. “What Are Prohormones? And Are They Safe?”, Health Guidance for Better Health, n.d

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