By Leigh Penman
This is part of a continuing series provided exclusively by MuscleSport Mag giving information on a variety of performance-enhancing drugs for educational purposes. While it is apparent that people are going to use these substances regardless of the health and legal risks involved, quality information is necessary and learning as much about them as possible can only assist an adult making a decision either way.
Nolvadex (tamoxifen citrate) is probably the most popular ancillary drug for male steroid users who wish to avoid the estrogen like effects caused by the use of anabolic steroids (e.g. gynecomastia). Nolvadex binds to estrogen receptors thus blocking the hormones action on target tissues and achieving an anti-estrogenic effect.
Also worth noting is the fact that Nolvadex is an estrogen agonist in the liver and is capable of mimicking estrogen in this organ. At first glance you may wonder why this could be considered a good thing, however, when you realize that estrogen positively effects HDL (good) cholesterol values in the liver its value in this instance becomes obvious. As you know, steroid use tends to suppress HDL levels and raise LDL levels significantly leading to increased cholesterol levels and cardiac risk. Adding Nolvadex may therefore form a protective function in this case, although it certainly does not save the liver from all the other hazards involved with the use of c-17 alpha alkylated orals.
Nolvadex also has the ability to increase production of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) in the male body. A higher level of LH stimulates the Leydig cells in the testes to produce more testosterone therefore Nolvadex can actually have a positive influence on testosterone levels. This is particularly important when ending a cycle of steroid use, since most anabolic/androgenic steroids significantly reduce the production of natural testosterone. Adding Nolvadex can assist in returning testosterone levels to normal levels in most cases however, following longer cycles of stronger drugs the addition of HCG (a hormone which mimics LH) may be required to kick start the testes into action.
This needs to be done with care though since HCG also enhances the rate of aromatization in the testes (i.e. the conversion of testosterone to estrogen) and, in order to avoid unwanted side effects, anti- estrogens should not be discontinued until at least a couple of weeks after ceasing the use of HCG.
Men should typically take 10 to 30mg/day depending on the amount of steroid used and the length of cycle. Starting at a low dosage and working up is recommended in order to avoid taking more than is necessary.
Women should air caution when using Nolvadex since they are more susceptible to side effects caused by reduced estrogen levels (i.e. hot flashes, menstrual irregularities and complications involving the reproductive system). With this in mind, anti-estrogens are more tolerable for women after the point of menopause. Many top-level competitors still favor its use prior to competition in order to reduce body fat levels in hips and thighs and prevent fluid retention (All influenced by estrogen levels). In this case it would be wise to stick to a low dose (10mg/day) and to carefully monitor effects.
WHEN TO BEGIN USE
The time to bring Nolvadex into your cycle depends on individual sensitivity to estrogens and the strength of anabolics being used. An athlete who is very sensitive to estrogen may need to begin its use soon after commencing a cycle (particularly where stronger drugs are going to be used). If estrogen is likely to be less of an issue, Nolvadex should be taken towards the end of a cycle and continued for some weeks after – when testosterone levels are deemed to be back to a normal level.
It is also worth noting that there have been reports of Nolvadex use actually inhibiting the gains made during a steroid cycle. This is because some estrogen is considered to be important when it comes to increasing the uptake and action of anabolics. With this in mind and, as mentioned earlier, it is wise to start on the low side with Nolvadex use and monitor the effects.
Individual sensitivity to estrogen is variable and may be influenced by factors such as age and body fat percentage (adipose tissue being a virtual factory for estrogen production). Many people have little trouble with excess estrogen – even when using the strongest drugs – whilst others find their estrogen levels rise just at the mere sight of a Dianabol tablet!
So monitor yourself and administer according to your needs.
Leigh Penman, in addition to be a staff writer at MuscleSport Mag, has been writing for bodybuilding magazines, websites and nutritional supplement companies since 1985. Whilst residing in the UK, she earned the reputation of being one of the top female writers in bodybuilding-related media. Her credits included being a contributing editor on all the magazines in production as well as filling the shoes of Ladies Editor and Showbiz Editor on two publications (the later being on Arnold’s sanctioned magazine, ‘Bodypower’). During this time she also competed successfully on four occasions (placing in the top four in all contests).
Relocating to New York in the late 1990s she focused her writing attention to crystal healing techniques and metaphysics – however, she still maintained a five day workout schedule during this time and gained her personal training certificate.
Having also studied pharmacology in relation to sports performance, her writing began taking her in that direction until the present day which sees her embarking on a return to the magazine world, as well as extending her web-related work in the bodybuilding and fitness field.
Leigh has been working out for close to thirty years so she is clearly a writer who ‘walks her talk.’
She can be contacted personally at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can also check her out at New York’s favorite metaphysical store www.stickstoneandbone.com.