Anastrozole is a powerful anti-estrogen medication commonly sold under the brand name “Arimidex” and it is by that name most are familiar with the compound. As an anti-estrogen medication Arimidex belongs to the aromatase inhibitor (AI) family and it is by this designation we truly see the function of this medication. First brought to the market by AstraZeneca, Arimidex was created in an effort to combat breast cancer in post-menopausal women. As we are aware estrogen is the enemy when it comes to breast cancer and Arimidex actively reduces the amount the body produces and it is by this trait one can already begin to see how this might be useful in-terms of anabolic steroid use. No, Arimidex is not an anabolic steroid; it is not a steroid in any shape or form but is commonly used in conjunction with anabolic steroids to combat estrogenic related side-effects.
Anastrozole, commonly known as Arimidex is an aromatase inhibitor that actively blocks the aromatase enzyme by-which its duty cannot be performed, that being producing estrogen. By this inhibiting process the compound can actively reduce estrogen in the body by as much as 80%. Coupled with its estrogen reducing effects Arimidex also greatly increases testosterone in the body and can do so by as much as 50% by increasing total testosterone as well as Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) total output.
For the breast cancer patient this proves to be invaluable as decreased estrogen provides remedy, for in many ways breast cancer in very simplistic terms feeds off of the estrogen hormone. However, this same trait can also provide benefit to the anabolic androgenic steroid user in both hormone replacement patients who are very sensitive to testosterone treatment and of course to performance enhancers. Many anabolic androgenic steroids convert to estrogen due to the aromatase process and estrogen, while an essential hormone can lead to many unwanted side-effects when it is present in excess.
The Benefits of Arimidex:
By and large, as it pertains to anabolic androgenic steroid use the use and benefits of Arimidex greatly surround side-effect prevention. However, in men who suffer from low testosterone and who seek therapeutic remedy Arimidex can at times be a good choice, for as we discovered above the compound by its nature actively increases total testosterone output. Even so, while this remains true most men will find direct testosterone treatment to be optimal in treating their low levels and will generally require a regular dosing of an injectable or transdermal testosterone medication. In the case of low testosterone treatment most men will find the therapy well-tolerated and generally side-effect free; we must always remember, side-effects increase when dosing increases and as therapeutic dosing is very low the need for an AI is generally low in low testosterone patients.
Without question those who supplement with anabolic androgenic steroids for the purpose of performance enhancement will benefit from Arimidex use the most when comparing to therapeutic steroid users. Performance enhancing doses are necessarily larger than therapeutic doses; after all, in therapy the idea is to return hormonal levels to normal but in performance enhancement the idea is to surpass them and to do so greatly. With such doses in mind the rate of aromatase greatly increases; no, not all anabolic androgenic steroids convert into estrogen but a vast quantity do and at varying rates depending on the steroid. By this conversion process when excess levels of the estrogen hormone buildup in the body some of the most common and well-known anabolic steroid side-effects may manifest themselves; including but not limited to:
High Blood Pressure
High LDL Cholesterol
Low HDL Cholesterol
Loss of Libido
While some of these side-effects can be brought on by other factors, especially blood pressure and cholesterol, estrogen buildup can play a major role. For the majority of performance enhancing athletes the side-effects of steroid use that are of the greatest concern will remain Gynecomastia and water retention as these are the two most common but it is often in Arimidex they find remedy. As Arimidex blocks or as indicated by its name as an AI “Inhibits” estrogen buildup many of the common side-effects become nothing more than a memory or concern of the past. Think about it, if the estrogen that causes the side-effects is no longer present how can estrogenic related side-effects present themselves; they can’t, what doesn’t exist simply doesn’t exist.
Some performance enhancers, especially those who are looking to really add size to their frame often shy away from Arimidex out of a fear of losing or not obtaining gains. It is true, estrogen aids in the promotion of building muscle tissue and more importantly it is a hormone essential to our overall health, particularly our immune system. However, we are not removing all estrogen from our body through Arimidex use, we are simply reducing it, although greatly. Further, if you are going to supplement with anabolic steroids for the purpose of performance enhancement you need to ask yourself an important question; what’s worse, a few less gains or horrible unsightly side-effects? It is also important to note, while estrogen suppression will somewhat limit the amount of weight you gain it will not do so to the degree feared by many; not even close.
The Side-Effects of Arimidex:
When it comes to side-effects it is always important to note all medications from every family carry with them a potential for side-effects; this includes everything to common cold medicine, pain killers, anabolic steroids and even AI’s such as Arimidex. However, when we examine Arimidex the potential for adverse side-effects appears to be very low. There do not appear to be any strong negative indirect side-effects due to supplemental use; however, use can lead to unwanted effects due to decreased estrogen in the body. In order for the human body to maintain a proper functioning endocrine system we must have some estrogen present. Further, decreased estrogen can have a negative effect on cholesterol, a very side-effect problem you are trying to prevent through use; as you may have guessed when it comes to cholesterol there is a very fine line as it pertains to the estrogen hormone. However, Arimidex doesn’t appear to affect this greatly in a negative way and therefore remains a positive choice in this regard.
For the majority of steroid users, those who supplement with Arimidex will not want to do so indefinitely in the name of safety; while it is generally side-effect friendly it is not a good idea to keep estrogen levels so suppressed for far extended periods of time. Most will find such AI’s should only be used while on cycle and discontinued once the cycle is complete in order to let the body return to normal hormonal production. If side-effects are not a problem for you then perhaps no Arimidex will be needed; however, for competitive physique athletes, even if they rarely suffer from anabolic steroid side-effects Arimidex can still be very useful, as reduced estrogen will provide a leaner and harder physique. For this reason many competitive bodybuilders supplement with Arimidex during their contest preparation diets.
Arimidex and SERM’s:
It is very common for Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERM’s) to be thrown in the same anti-estrogen category as Arimidex and other AI’s but this is far from correct. SERM’s such as Tamoxifen Citrate (Nolvadex) and Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid) do not inhibit the aromatase process in the body; they do not actively reduce the total amount of estrogen in the body. SERM’s such as Nolvadex or Clomid simply block estrogen from binding to certain receptors in the body and this can be a very useful tool; however, as you can see it is not nearly as strong since it has no reducing capability. Even so, SERM’s in the same light as AI’s actively increase or stimulate natural testosterone production and for this reason are commonly used during what is known as the Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) plan. Yes, both SERM’s and AI’s can be used for PCT purposes, the PCT purpose being largely to return testosterone production back to normal after it has been diminished through anabolic steroid use. However, we do not recommend AI’s for PCT therapy, even though they will increase testosterone greatly we prefer SERM’s for this purpose for one simple reason. During the PCT process we are not simply trying to increase testosterone but to normalize our entire hormonal production. As AI’s greatly reduce estrogen, a much needed hormone in the human body, we prefer SERM’s over AI’s to fulfill this purpose.
Arimidex Cycles and Doses:
Most who supplement with Arimidex will be doing so for the prevention of side-effects while on cycle or to tighten up their physique for a physique based competition by reducing estrogen in the body. Most men will find 0.5mg every other day to be a good starting point while on cycle if it is needed for side-effect prevention with 1mg every other day generally being the most anyone will ever need for this purpose. However, if side-effects begin to manifest, particular Gynecomastia, many find supplementing with 1mg every day for a few weeks to be useful in combating this enemy; however, for this purpose we would in most cases recommend the slightly stronger AI Letrozole but Arimidex will often suffice. If this occurs, simply supplement with 1mg every day until symptoms pass; once they do drop the dose to every other day and finish your intended cycle. It should be noted, this is not a 100% failsafe plan; for some no amount of any AI on earth will protect from Gynecomastia.
The same dosing can be applied in physique sport competition, most notably bodybuilding; it is very common for many bodybuilders to supplement with Arimidex for 12-16 weeks leading up to a competition at a dose of 1mg every other day. However, many bodybuilders will necessarily increase the dose to 1mg every day the final 10-14 days before the show in order to ensure they are as hard and water free as possible. However, we cannot recommend anyone supplement with this compound at that high of a dose for an extended period of time, as such dosing for extended periods would be too much estrogen suppression.
Women in the physique sports world also sometimes supplement with Arimidex to provide a dryer and harder look but this will generally only occur a few weeks out from competition. Low doses for short periods of time can aid in a woman the same way it can a male competitor but as estrogen is slightly more important to a female use must necessarily be limited.