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What is Post Cycle Therapy (PCT)?

What is Post Cycle Therapy (PCT)? If you've been doing any reading about using prohormones or steroids, you've probably wondered this yourself, at least when you first started doing your research.

After using a prohormone or steroid, the hormone balance of your body is usually out of whack, with the usual result being your natural testosterone is low (because you took a compound that artificially boosted it) and your estrogen elevated (to offset the higher testosterone). When you stop taking the compound, your testosterone blood levels drop very quickly, but estrogen and other catabolic (muscle destroying) hormones can remain high. This can make it difficult to keep the gains you made on cycle. The purpose of PCT is to quickly restore your body's natural production of anabolic hormones and reduce catabolic ones.

In order to understand PCT, you eed to know a bit of how your body works when it comes to producing hormones and building muscles. Relax, I'll try to keep this painless.

In amles, starting in puberty, the Hypothalamus begins to secret Gonadatropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH). This causes the pituitary to produce Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luetenizing Hormone (LH). These two hormones act on the testes to stimulate cells called Leydig cells to produce testosterone (and androgen).

When an androgen (either your own natural testosterone or an anabolic steroid you've taken) binds to a receptor inside the cell, it gives the cell a message to do something. In the case of testosterone, one of the messages it sends is to increase nitrogen retention, allowing your body to use more protein and build more muscle. Now that's a very simplified version of how it all works, but it's essentially what happens and why steroids enable you to gain muscle.

But there's a flip side. The increase in andoUnder the control of this heightened state of androgens, you also go through androgenic development as well as anabolic development. This can be seen in puberty when males grow body hair experience voice changes, as experience genital development and growth.

Back to the whole hormonal process....

So your hypothalamus makes GnRH which stimulates the pituitary to make LH and FSH, which in turn causes the testes to stimulate the Leydig cells to produce testosterone. But if excess testosterone is produced, it can interfere with GnRH production. This can affect LH and FSH, and that can affect natural testosterone production. This is how your body maintains a balance and keeps excess hormones from being secreted.

So you can see what happens if you artificially raise testosterone levels. This signals the hypothalamus to stop producing GnRH, which means no signal goes out to thepituitary to make FSH and LH, which means no signal to teh Leydig cells to make testosterone. Now you're in a situation where your body takes a while to start up the natural production process again. This can result in losing all that muscle you just gained. That's where your PCT comes in as you kickstart this process as quickly as possible.

When it comes to oral prohormones and steroids, you should your PCT as soon as the cycle ends, the very next day after you take your last pill. There are a variety of PCT protocols available, which I'll discuss in a future article.
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