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There are two types of anti-estrogen supplements: aromatase inhibitors and SERMs, which stands for Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator. They both work by preventing the conversion of certain steroids to estrogen in the body, but they do this in different ways. Learning when to take these supplements, how they work, and why they are necessary can help you avoid some significant side effects.
Your body prefers a homeostatic state, or one in which everything is balanced – including hormones. If you introduce testosterone or steroids into your body exogenously, then your body will naturally attempt to convert some of that product into estrogen in an effort to balance both male and female hormones. In order to convert testosterone and similar compounds to estrogen, your body uses a hormone called aromatase. It binds to the steroid or testosterone and changes its molecular structure to estrogen.
When your estrogen and testosterone levels balance each other, there’s no need to worry about side effects. However, when you use an exogenous product that has a tendency to aromatize very easily, then you’ll need to intervene with a supplement that either stops the production of estrogen or renders it completely useless. As such, you will need to take an anti-estrogen supplement any time you use exogenous testosterone or steroids, and you’ll need to use them for post-cycle therapy, as well. Otherwise, you may experience side effects like hair loss, mood swings, sexual dysfunction, or even gynecomastia.
Aromatase inhibitors (or AIs) are anti-estrogen supplements that work by blocking the aromatase enzyme before it has an opportunity to turn testosterone or steroids into estrogen. Some of the most popular AIs on the market today include Aromasin, Arimidex, and letrozole. Most people who use estrogenic performance enhancers will need to supplement with an AI in order to prevent the side effects that can occur as the result of aromatization. They are usually added at the start of the cycle and continued through to the end.
A SERM, on the other hand, allows your body to produce estrogen, but it doesn’t allow that estrogen to bind with its intended receptors. It can selectively inhibit or stimulate the actions of estrogen in various tissues. Men need some estrogen in their bodies to remain healthy, and that’s why taking SERMs for a post-cycle therapy course is recommended. It allows the estrogen to remain in the body and go to work where it should, but because a SERM interacts with the receptors, it can also block estrogen from causing side effects. The most common SERMs include Clomid and Nolvadex, and it’s common to use one or the other for anywhere from two to six weeks after ending a cycle.
The vast majority of performance enhancing steroids will aromatize in your body if you do not take anti-estrogen supplements to prevent it. Even if the steroid itself doesn’t aromatize, you might choose to supplement with exogenous testosterone in order to prevent the symptoms of Low-T (since steroids effectively halt your body’s natural testosterone production) and testosterone certainly does aromatize. As such, it is wise to use an AI during your cycle and a SERM after. The AI will prevent all of the extra testosterone from converting to estrogen on-cycle, and the SERM will help your body regain its hormonal balance while protecting you from side effects post-cycle.
Anti-estrogen supplements are very important for anyone who chooses to use a performance enhancing anabolic steroid. Without them, there is a significant risk for undesirable side effects, and if these are left unchecked, they could become permanent.