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Nolvadex (Tamoxifen Citrate)In bodybuilding, Nolvadex (Tamoxifen Citrate) is used as both an anabolic steroid cycle ancillary drug and as a post anabolic steroid cycle therapy drug.
Nolvadex is an oral anti-estrogen/estrogen antagonist prescription drug. Although commonly referred to as an anti-estrogen, Nolvadex is more of an estrogen antagonist. An estrogen antagonist competes with estrogen at the receptor sites, occupying it so that estrogen cannot bind with it.
Nolvadex is an anticancer drug which is reportedly effective in treating breast cancer, particularly the kind that is induced by estrogen. Its other therapeutic uses include reduction of the risk of invasive breast cancer following surgery and radiation therapy. Nolvadex is also used as preventive drug, prescribed to women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer.
Why is there a need for Nolvadex?
During a steroid cycle, Nolvadex is used by bodybuilders who are sensitive to estrogen buildup. Estrogen buildup can lead to many side effects, the primary being the occurrence of gynecomastia (growth of breast tissues in men) and subcutaneous fat and water retention.
During PCT, Nolvadex is effective in averting the post-cycle crash, which is when the steroid user loses most of what was gained when on cycle. Bodybuilders, in general, use Nolvadex to block this from taking place.
Here’s the scenario: when a bodybuilder takes anabolic steroids, the body ceases or greatly reduces the production of androgens. When he stops taking steroids, there is a gap in time before the body resumes its normal production of these hormones. This can result in depressed androgen levels. When this happens, the body compensates by overproducing estrogen. The excess estrogen can increase the production of SHBG and blocks testosterone-receptor sites. SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin) is a glycoprotein that binds to sex hormones, including testosterone. If there’s an increase in the amount of SHBG in the system, it translates to lesser amount of free or unbound testosterone. This means there are two mechanisms by which excess estrogen interferes with the normalization of androgen levels in the body.
In addition, depressed androgen levels can lead to catabolism. There are many signals that induce catabolism, including cortisol, which is considered to be one of the ‘classic’ catabolic hormones. Cortisol plays a great role in protein catabolism, which is the breakdown of macromolecules. Macromolecules include proteins and lipids (fat). When protein catabolism takes place, there is a subsequent loss in muscle gains and strength. Your muscles get leaner because fat, water, and protein substrates break down. However, this is not to say that this is a completely negative effect, as some bodybuilders prefer leaner muscles. But for those who are after bulk or mass this poses a problem. This is why Nolvadex is not advised for those whose aim is to gain mass.
Nolvadex vs Aromatase Inhibitors
Nolvadex is usually compared to aromatase inhibitors like Arimidex; however, there is a distinct difference between these two classes of drugs. Estrogen agonists or anti-estrogens (also classified as triphenylethylenes) do not halt the production of estrogens whereas aromatase inhibitors do quite effectively.
Aromatase inhibitors halt the natural production of estrogen and tend to completely suppress estrogenic activity, including its beneficial roles in body (metabolism, lipid profile, protein synthesis). This is why many still opt for Nolvadex as an ancillary and recovery drug.
Nolvadex exerts its effects faster than an aromatase inhibitor. When bodybuilders experience the symptoms of gynecomastia while they are on steroid cycle, they rely on Nolvadex to immediately counter the problem. A drawback of this drug is that it exhibits only short-term effects, which means that once Nolvadex intake is discontinued, the same problems can possibly rebound sooner than later. To prevent this rebound, Nolvadex is generally use in conjunction with an aromatase inhibitor. Nolvadex can deal with the problem right away while an aromatase inhibitor like Arimidex can work for the long-term results as it reduces the production of estrogen.
Dosage ranges from 10mg – 60mg daily.
Nolvadex is recommended to be stacked with highly aromatizable steroids like Dianabol and testosterone.
It's important to start a PCT once you finish a steroid cycle to avoid any loss of the mass gained. The question of how soon to initiate a PCT depends on the kind of steroids used. If your cycle is comprised of orals, which have the shortest effect on the body, it's advised to start immediately. Some say PCT can begin as early as the last day of the steroid cycle. If using short-acting esters or water-based injectables, PCT is recommended 4-7 days after the last injection. In the case of long-acting esters, it should be around 10-14 days after the last injection.
Nolvadex side effects are reportedly few and mild. Nausea, vomiting and hot flashes can be experienced by users of Nolvadex.
High dosage can prevent natural testosterone production by the testes. Further, high dosage can be counter-productive. Instead of lowering estrogenic levels, it increases the levels. This is a consequence when the adrenal glands are overly stimulated to produce the prohormone dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA. DHEA converts to estrogen.
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