► Overview/Background - What is PCT?
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PCT - Post Cycle Therapy - Everything you need to know!
"PCT is one of the most important (yet overlooked with surprising frequency) aspects of a complete, successful prohormone cycle. In short PCT is of great importance because it ensures you retain the gains you make during a prohormone cycle."
What is Post-Cycle Therapy (aka PCT)? To fully understand the answer to this question you need to first realize that your body always seeks to remain in a very balanced state - this condition of balance in the body is called homeostasis.
Whenever you take in any external substances which cause an increase significantly beyond the normal or homeostatic levels to which your body is accustomed, your body will generally respond by reducing its own, internal production of those substances in an effort to re-establish the 'normal', lower levels to which it's accustomed.
This is especially true with hormones of any type. The result is that for a temporary period of time, your body's production of important hormones may actually dip BELOW normal levels. This happens when the use of the external substance is discontinued - in our case, this would be after the prohormone cycle is completed. Because the body's internal production levels are below normal due to the body cutting back on production in an effort to normalize levels AND because you're no longer adding more externally...your overall hormonal levels are thus temporarily depressed/reduced - BELOW normal.
So, Post Cycle Therapy, or PCT, is a term used to describe (generally) the supplement regimen used by individuals after completing a cycle of an anabolic or prohormone for the purpose of QUICKLY restoring the body's natural production of hormones. PCT is also one of the most important (yet overlooked with surprising frequency) aspects of a complete, successful prohormone cycle.
Why? Because without PCT, during this "low" period, you can lose a decent amount of the gains you made (we'll talk more on why this is the case below).
Also, you should know that over time your body will - on its own - return to normal production levels. It's not a permanent condition. The issue, however, is the "over time" part - during the lag period while hormonal levels are below normal (as mentioned above) you can lose a decent amount of the gains you just made - by the same mechanism of action which produced the gains, working in reverse.
What does this mean? Well, one of the key ways that prohormones (or your own natural testosterone for that matter) produce rapid muscle growth is that these compounds bind to cell receptor sites and cause a significant increase in protein synthesis - leading to muscle cell growth/hypertrophy! Additionally, prohormones and testosterone exhibit anti-catabolic properties - reducing the effects of cortisol - leading to less protein loss from your muscle cells.
The reverse is true when hormone levels are too low - loss of protein from muscle cells = loss of muscle!
(Note: PCT can also mean the use of prescription drugs for the purpose of restoring natural production levels of certain hormones, however, this article will focus on the application of supplements - highly effective legal, non-prescription options - to achieve a similar outcome.)
► PCT Compounds - What works best for Post Cycle Therapy - PCT?
OK, so how exactly does PCT work? Well, as mentioned above, the purpose of PCT is to quickly restore your natural hormone production levels.
So what compounds are useful for PCT? In general, there are two categories - Testosterone Boosting and Estrogen Control compounds. Let's briefly run through the list of the top/most effective must have compounds...
1. [Testosterone Boosting] D-Aspartic Acid: An amino acid, studies have demonstrated this compound helps raise your body's natural testosterone levels (in some studies up to 42%) through two key mechanisms of action. First, it helps to stimulate the release of luteinizing hormone from your pituitary gland - luteinizing hormone then attaches to receptors on Leydig cells (in your testes) - directly stimulating the synthesis and secretion of testosterone.
Second, D-Aspartic Acid helps boost your testosterone levels by increasing the level of steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein. Higher levels of steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein mean higher output levels of testosterone - since this key protein is one of the key limiting factors in testosterone production during the normal synthesis process (of Testosterone) within your body.
You may have read some unfavorable commentary about D-Aspartic Acid - most often, this has to do with insufficient dosage - and there's no question that the studies which demonstrate this compound's effectiveness relied on higher dosages - so, when looking for a PCT product be sure D-Aspartic Acid (if it's included, and it should be) is high up on the list/is present in an adequate amount to produce results!
2. [Testosterone Boosting] Tribulus Terrestris: This well known plant extract increases your body's natural testosterone levels - resulting in elevated energy levels and (in general) promoting healthy hormone function.
The active agent in Tribulus is thought to be protodioscin, a precursor to dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is a precursor to testosterone. Tribulus is also believed to indirectly affect testosterone levels by stimulating the release of luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates the natural production of testosterone.
3. [Testosterone Boosting] ZMA - Zinc, Magnesium Aspartate: Studies have shown that (taken daily) 30mg of Zinc and 450mg of Magnesium can elevate your natural testosterone levels up to 30%.
All that boosting of natural testosterone is GREAT, BUT, your body produces an enzyme - Aromatase - which causes androgens, namely Testosterone, to AROMATIZE to Estrogen! So, a complete PCT product MUST also contain some Estrogen control compounds!
4. [Estrogen Control] Trans Resveratrol: Resveratrol helps control estrogen by way of helping to control aromatase - the enzyme which converts Testosterone to Estrogen.
5. [Estrogen Control] WBM (Agaricus Bisporus): White button mushrooms have recently been reported to play a role in breast cancer management - specifically, it's believed to affect / inhibit aromatase - lowering estrogen levels as a result.
► Frequently Asked Questions About Post Cycle Therapy - PCT:
No, but we really believe that you'd be making a mistake if you don't do it, for the reasons discussed above - namely, you're risking losing your gains.
In general, about 4 weeks, or 1 month. Most PCT products will last this long (single bottle).
In general, you'll want to take an equivalent amount of time off, based on how long you were on. A more conservative approach is to double the time off based on time on. So, this time-frame would range from immediately upon finishing your PCT to one month after your PCT.
Of course, always follow the manufacturer's guidelines as listed on the bottle.
Well, the best product would be one which includes all of the key compounds/supplements (as discussed above) that are known to boost natural testosterone levels and help control estrogen levels.
► Our Top Recommended Post Cycle Therapy - PCT Product & How to Use It:
It's very important for you to know that the best approach to ensure you keep your gains is to begin PCT immediately after you finish your prohormone cycle. It's for this reason that we recommend you purchase a PCT product when you purchase your prohormone - to ensure you're ready to go when you finish the prohormone cycle.
So, what PCT product is best? Find our top rated PCT product here (click)!
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