1. YOU SHOULD TAKE MILK THISTLE ON A CYCLE THAT INCLUDES ORALS.
While it will help protect the liver, the active component in milk thistle effectively reduces nuclear androgen receptor levels and down-regulates several androgen-regulated genes primarily by inhibiting the transactivation activity of the A R, and can also inhibit nuclear localisation of the androgen receptor. Milk thistle will also have an inhibitory effect on the insulin-like growth factor receptor-mediated signalling pathway. All in all, there seems to be a reasonable expectation that this stuff is anti-anabolic. It’s a real loser to include during a cycle.
A much better alternative is Prunella Vulgaris, which has been shown to protect liver cells and activate the Aryl hydrocarbon receptor, thereby allowing it to work as an anti-oestrogen as well. As long as a user is going to take oral steroids, he may as well take a liver protector that isn’t going to hinder his gains.
2 STEROIDS DOWN-REGULATE YOUR ANDROGEN RECEPTORS
The logic for this myth actually makes a lot of sense – receptor down-regulation is pretty obvious when you drink a cup of coffee every day for a month, then find you need to keep increasing the size to get the same “kick”. We see (and feel) this receptor downgrade with caffeine, clenbuterol, ephedrine and a ton of other stuff, so it’s logical to think that we’re seeing the same thing with steroids. Sadly, the science tells us otherwise. Steroids actually do the opposite – they up-regulate androgen receptors. It’s wrong to think about androgen receptors as permanent receptacles for the androgen ligand (sort of like a fixed electrical outlet in your house). In reality, your androgen receptors are constantly being turned over. When unattached to an androgen they have a half life of approximately three hours and are ultimately replaced with new ones. However, in the presence of an androgen (i.e. when they’re attached), they become more sensitive, their half life is doubled and the amount of new receptors being formed also increases substantially. It’s also important to remember that AR-mediated effects are not the whole story when it comes to anabolic steroid activity in the body. There are still a host of other effects that known as non-AR dependent effects, which include central nervous system stimulation and a host of other anabolic and potentially anabolic activities. But that still leaves us with the question of why gains seem to slow down after a few cycles, and why users need to keep upping the dose. In truth, the answer probably has more to do with the body attempting to return to homeostasis through other mechanisms than it has with the androgen receptor per se. Still, athletes worried about their androgen receptors can take some L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, a nutritional supplement that has been shown to increase androgen receptors.
3 IF YOU INJECT DOUBLETHE AMOUNT OF TESTOSTERONEI YOU HAVE TWICE AS MUCH IN BLOODSTREAM.
Again, this one seems to make a lot of sense. If one injects 600 milligrams of testosterone there should be twice as much in the blood as there would be injecting 300 milligrams… but this isn’t how it works. The dose someone is taking isn’t equivalent to the blood plasma levels they’ll achieve – nor will doubling the dose necessarily double the blood plasma levels of testosterone. When scientists compared a 300 milligram shot of testosterone to a 600 milligram shot, they found that the 300mg weekly shot will get a normal male to approximately 1,345 ng/dl, while a 600mg weekly shot will get a normal male to 2,370 ng/dl (less than double the amount achieved with half the dose).
4 TESTOSTERONE IS TESTOSTERONE.
Although this seems like something that can’t be a myth, it is. Methyltestosterone (oral testosterone) converts to a much more potent version of oestrogen (methylestrogen) in the liver, while injectable testosterone does not. And, even the injectable testosterones have their differences; short esters convert to less oestrogen than longer esters. And, just to make things even more complicated, the patches and gels are convert to dihydrotestosterone to a much greater degree than either the injectable or oral testosterones.
Both oestrogen and dihydrotestosterone have profound physiological effects on the body and, because every type of testosterone doesn’t converted to them equally, people find varying effects depending on the one they’re using. Oestrogen promotes greater adipose (fat) gain, but also greater muscle gain, while DHT gives a harder, more quality look to the physique. Still, although we see this “testosterone is testosterone” fable repeated (online mostly) we also see topflight bodybuilders taking advantage of the differences in various testosterones – long esters for bulking, short esters for cutting. So it’s not only the route of administration (oral, transdermal or injectable) that matters, but also the ester of the injectable versions. Testosterone is, strangely, not just testosterone.