T Nation

Advice on a Low Test Stack


#1

I've been put on Testosterone Cypionate at 100mg/wk by my doc as part of HRT. I'm a powerlifter, and my weight sits around 250 pounds. I'm probably sitting around 15-17% body fat. My goal is to do a clean bulk and gain a maintainable 10-15 pounds.

I receive regular bloodwork from my doctor to monitor my HRT treatment. I'm wondering if there's anything I can take on top of my 100mg/wk testosterone dose which will help me in gaining this 10-15 pounds, but will not interfere with the Total Test, Free Test, and Estradiol values on my blood work. Hairloss is also something I have to take into consideration.

What do you guys think?


#2

Simply adding more test would be ideal for your goals, but of course as you know, your test values on your bloodwork might be a little too high, leading your doctor to possibly consider lesser treatments. (At a higher test dose you’d also need to add in an AI to control estrogen, which I presume the doctor did not prescribe.)

Adding in some primo (methenolone enanthate) would allow for a nice, clean bulk that would have relatively minimal sides. There are other compounds that might benefit you more in terms of strength - at least immediately - but I think this would be a good way of meeting your stated goals.


#3

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#4

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
Trenbolone acetate might be OK for your goals. I can’t remember if it is harsh on the hairline or not (hairloss is not something I have to concern myself with), but the short acting nature means that you can get it in and out of your system quite quickly, though of course ANY steroid will alter your hormone values.

BBB[/quote]

If, I’m taking something other than Testosterone such as Deca, how would my blood work results be altered?


#5

[quote]bulletproof_ wrote:
bushidobadboy wrote:
Trenbolone acetate might be OK for your goals. I can’t remember if it is harsh on the hairline or not (hairloss is not something I have to concern myself with), but the short acting nature means that you can get it in and out of your system quite quickly, though of course ANY steroid will alter your hormone values.

BBB

If, I’m taking something other than Testosterone such as Deca, how would my blood work results be altered?[/quote]

Just out of curiousity, do you have any prior experience with AAS?


#6

[quote]whotookmyname wrote:
bulletproof_ wrote:
bushidobadboy wrote:
Trenbolone acetate might be OK for your goals. I can’t remember if it is harsh on the hairline or not (hairloss is not something I have to concern myself with), but the short acting nature means that you can get it in and out of your system quite quickly, though of course ANY steroid will alter your hormone values.

BBB

If, I’m taking something other than Testosterone such as Deca, how would my blood work results be altered?

Just out of curiousity, do you have any prior experience with AAS?
[/quote]

Right after I got on HRT, I stacked an additional 300mg/wk of Test Prop on top of my prescribed dose. I had issues with hair loss. I gained about 10lbs which I promptly lost when I backed down to my prescribed dose. That’s the extent of my AAS experience.


#7

[quote]bulletproof_ wrote:

Right after I got on HRT, I stacked an additional 300mg/wk of Test Prop on top of my prescribed dose. I had issues with hair loss. I gained about 10lbs which I promptly lost when I backed down to my prescribed dose. That’s the extent of my AAS experience.
[/quote]

A short but interesting history. I’ve noticed some hair thinning which I believe I can attribute to test, but it involves higher doses and a number of cycles. It appears that you’re extremely susceptible / predisposed to hair loss. Tren probably wouldn’t be advisable if hair loss is this much of an issue. A 5AR-inhibitor should work well at preventing hair loss from test, though it could have other side effects (libido) if your DHT drops too low.

I’m kind of curious about your weight loss post-cycle, too. It’s no picnic trying to hang onto gains - and some post-cycles are tougher than others - but unless that weight was almost all water / muscle glycogen, it’s difficult to literally lose all gains… promptly, particularly if you have decent levels of test in your system, as you presumably did from the HRT. Have previous blood tests done while on HRT shown that your test levels are in the high-normal range?

Anyway, deca is certainly an AAS that many people add to their bulking cycles. I’ve never done so though, so there are others that can add their experience and knowledge to my basic knowledge. While deca seems unlikely to harm your hairline, and may help your joints, it comes with its own set of sides. I believe the “What is Deca Dick?” thread is still on the first page of the steroid forum, for example. Running deca requires the careful use of ancillaries… an AI for estro control (not that deca itself yields that much estrogen as compared to test), and a dopamine-agonist to maintain lower prolactin levels. Not sure how much deca you’d want to run if only using 100 mg test, as its progestin activity can be particularly suppressive.


#8

[quote]bulletproof_ wrote:
bushidobadboy wrote:
Trenbolone acetate might be OK for your goals. I can’t remember if it is harsh on the hairline or not (hairloss is not something I have to concern myself with), but the short acting nature means that you can get it in and out of your system quite quickly, though of course ANY steroid will alter your hormone values.

BBB

If, I’m taking something other than Testosterone such as Deca, how would my blood work results be altered?[/quote]

All AAS show up as Test’rone - and if they aromatise your Oestrogen levels will also be affected.


#9

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
Trenbolone acetate might be OK for your goals. I can’t remember if it is harsh on the hairline or not (hairloss is not something I have to concern myself with), but the short acting nature means that you can get it in and out of your system quite quickly, though of course ANY steroid will alter your hormone values.

BBB[/quote]

This is exactly what I was about to say.

Hair loss can be controlled 3 (nonsurgical) ways:

  1. 5-alpha reductase inhibitor such as finasteride (okay) or dutasteride (much better). This will block the generation of DHT, which is made from testosterone and is considered the primary culprit in accelerated hair loss. This will slow/inhibit any steroid that is acted on by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. It will NOT help if the steroid is DHT derivative already, or does not need the 5-AR to cause hair loss.

I am not sure of the topical effectiveness of either finasteride or dutasteride, but they are effective when taken orally, even though that causes DHT suppression system wide (which could lead to some side effects, but is in general not a huge issue as far as I am aware).

  1. anti-androgens, applied topically ONLY, and only to the scalp. Spironolactone and other anti-androgens bind directly to the androgen receptor and competitively inhibit the Androgen receptor from binding anything else–DHT, or otherwise. Any steroid that binds the androgen receptor will be inhibited, and the receptor itself may be degraded quicker. This is the reason you should only apply the medication topically and only to the scalp. Wouldn’t want that happening all over your body.

Currently Spironolactone is the only anti-androgen I know of being used in hair loss treatment and as a topical medication. There are other, even stronger anti-androgens, but they are not available in topical form and have never been used to treat hair loss in males to my knowledge, which is kinda disappointing. But you should never try them because they are available only orally and the side effects can be terrible via that route.

  1. Increase bloodflow/act directly on the hair follicle. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a vasodilator (opens up blood vessels and lowers blood pressure) similar to nitric oxide in a sense. Minoxidil’s vasodilator effects are thought to be linked to its ability to regrow hair and/or stop hair loss. Minoxidil is also thought to act directly on the hair follicle itself, although its mechanism of action is not known.

Minoxidil may also cause initial hair shedding when beginning use! BUT this is hair that would have fallen out in the next 100 days or so anyway due to the NATURAL hair cycle anyway, EVEN if there were no permanent hair loss going on. It is NOT increased hair loss, just a temporary acceleration of the hair cycle. Approximately 10% of hair is in this part (the death part) of the hair cycle at any given time, although it is not a given that all 10% of the dying hair will fall out. Minoxidil will end up causing a net growth of hair anyways, if used consistantly for a long enough period of time.


#10

Topical DHT inhibitors are absorbed systemically. All of them except RU23489U8-0278-53479081


#11

[quote]whotookmyname wrote:
bulletproof_ wrote:

Right after I got on HRT, I stacked an additional 300mg/wk of Test Prop on top of my prescribed dose. I had issues with hair loss. I gained about 10lbs which I promptly lost when I backed down to my prescribed dose. That’s the extent of my AAS experience.

A short but interesting history. I’ve noticed some hair thinning which I believe I can attribute to test, but it involves higher doses and a number of cycles. It appears that you’re extremely susceptible / predisposed to hair loss. Tren probably wouldn’t be advisable if hair loss is this much of an issue. A 5AR-inhibitor should work well at preventing hair loss from test, though it could have other side effects (libido) if your DHT drops too low.

I’m kind of curious about your weight loss post-cycle, too. It’s no picnic trying to hang onto gains - and some post-cycles are tougher than others - but unless that weight was almost all water / muscle glycogen, it’s difficult to literally lose all gains… promptly, particularly if you have decent levels of test in your system, as you presumably did from the HRT. Have previous blood tests done while on HRT shown that your test levels are in the high-normal range?

Anyway, deca is certainly an AAS that many people add to their bulking cycles. I’ve never done so though, so there are others that can add their experience and knowledge to my basic knowledge. While deca seems unlikely to harm your hairline, and may help your joints, it comes with its own set of sides. I believe the “What is Deca Dick?” thread is still on the first page of the steroid forum, for example. Running deca requires the careful use of ancillaries… an AI for estro control (not that deca itself yields that much estrogen as compared to test), and a dopamine-agonist to maintain lower prolactin levels. Not sure how much deca you’d want to run if only using 100 mg test, as its progestin activity can be particularly suppressive.[/quote]

My blood work shows that 100mg/wk gets my levels to around a 1000 Total Test peak and a 700 trough. My doctor wants me to back down my dose to 90mg/wk to get me to an 800 peak and a 500 trough.

As far as Deca goes, I’m not sure because it seems pretty side effect heavy, but I’ll definitely consider it since it would be easy on the hairline. I’m also considering EQ since it would be appropriate for running long term which is something I’m interested in doing (since I never have to do PCT because of my HRT dose).


#12

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
bushidobadboy wrote:
Trenbolone acetate might be OK for your goals. I can’t remember if it is harsh on the hairline or not (hairloss is not something I have to concern myself with), but the short acting nature means that you can get it in and out of your system quite quickly, though of course ANY steroid will alter your hormone values.

BBB

This is exactly what I was about to say.

Hair loss can be controlled 3 (nonsurgical) ways:

  1. 5-alpha reductase inhibitor such as finasteride (okay) or dutasteride (much better). This will block the generation of DHT, which is made from testosterone and is considered the primary culprit in accelerated hair loss. This will slow/inhibit any steroid that is acted on by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. It will NOT help if the steroid is DHT derivative already, or does not need the 5-AR to cause hair loss.

I am not sure of the topical effectiveness of either finasteride or dutasteride, but they are effective when taken orally, even though that causes DHT suppression system wide (which could lead to some side effects, but is in general not a huge issue as far as I am aware).

  1. anti-androgens, applied topically ONLY, and only to the scalp. Spironolactone and other anti-androgens bind directly to the androgen receptor and competitively inhibit the Androgen receptor from binding anything else–DHT, or otherwise. Any steroid that binds the androgen receptor will be inhibited, and the receptor itself may be degraded quicker. This is the reason you should only apply the medication topically and only to the scalp. Wouldn’t want that happening all over your body.

Currently Spironolactone is the only anti-androgen I know of being used in hair loss treatment and as a topical medication. There are other, even stronger anti-androgens, but they are not available in topical form and have never been used to treat hair loss in males to my knowledge, which is kinda disappointing. But you should never try them because they are available only orally and the side effects can be terrible via that route.

  1. Increase bloodflow/act directly on the hair follicle. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a vasodilator (opens up blood vessels and lowers blood pressure) similar to nitric oxide in a sense. Minoxidil’s vasodilator effects are thought to be linked to its ability to regrow hair and/or stop hair loss. Minoxidil is also thought to act directly on the hair follicle itself, although its mechanism of action is not known.

Minoxidil may also cause initial hair shedding when beginning use! BUT this is hair that would have fallen out in the next 100 days or so anyway due to the NATURAL hair cycle anyway, EVEN if there were no permanent hair loss going on. It is NOT increased hair loss, just a temporary acceleration of the hair cycle. Approximately 10% of hair is in this part (the death part) of the hair cycle at any given time, although it is not a given that all 10% of the dying hair will fall out. Minoxidil will end up causing a net growth of hair anyways, if used consistantly for a long enough period of time.
[/quote]

I’m actually running Xandrox 15 which is topical finasteride, azelaic acid, and minoxidil 15% mixed together. I haven’t been on it long enough to know if its making a difference. I think I’m actually still in the initial hair shedding phase (God I hope that’s what it is). I use Nizoral shampoo as well, and I’m considering getting some Spironolactone.


#13

[quote]whotookmyname wrote:
bulletproof_ wrote:

Right after I got on HRT, I stacked an additional 300mg/wk of Test Prop on top of my prescribed dose. I had issues with hair loss. I gained about 10lbs which I promptly lost when I backed down to my prescribed dose. That’s the extent of my AAS experience.

A short but interesting history. I’ve noticed some hair thinning which I believe I can attribute to test, but it involves higher doses and a number of cycles. It appears that you’re extremely susceptible / predisposed to hair loss. Tren probably wouldn’t be advisable if hair loss is this much of an issue. A 5AR-inhibitor should work well at preventing hair loss from test, though it could have other side effects (libido) if your DHT drops too low.

I’m kind of curious about your weight loss post-cycle, too. It’s no picnic trying to hang onto gains - and some post-cycles are tougher than others - but unless that weight was almost all water / muscle glycogen, it’s difficult to literally lose all gains… promptly, particularly if you have decent levels of test in your system, as you presumably did from the HRT. Have previous blood tests done while on HRT shown that your test levels are in the high-normal range?

Anyway, deca is certainly an AAS that many people add to their bulking cycles. I’ve never done so though, so there are others that can add their experience and knowledge to my basic knowledge. While deca seems unlikely to harm your hairline, and may help your joints, it comes with its own set of sides. I believe the “What is Deca Dick?” thread is still on the first page of the steroid forum, for example. Running deca requires the careful use of ancillaries… an AI for estro control (not that deca itself yields that much estrogen as compared to test), and a dopamine-agonist to maintain lower prolactin levels. Not sure how much deca you’d want to run if only using 100 mg test, as its progestin activity can be particularly suppressive.[/quote]

Are you guys aware of any risks associated with running Deca with a prolactin drug such as Cabergoline for a long period of time? I can get NPP, so I might be able to cycle it in and out of my system by the time I need to get blood work from my doc. I’ll need to understand how the levels of this drug build up over time so I’ll be able to anticipate how long it will take to clear my system.


#14

[quote] Brook wrote:

All AAS show up as Test’rone [/quote]

So standard blood panels aren’t accurate enough to distinguish between testosterone and other androgens? Have you run any sort of non-test cycle and taken a mid-cycle blood test yourself?


#15

I am saying that total test will be increased when you use synthetic androgenic steroids.

No is the answer to if i have tested my own Total Test levels during my cycles.


#16

[quote]bulletproof_ wrote:

“As far as Deca goes… it seems pretty side effect heavy”[/quote]

Where did you get THAT information?!


#17

[quote] Brook wrote:
I am saying that total test will be increased when you use synthetic androgenic steroids.
[/quote]

I’ve seen mid-cycle blood work from an anavar-only cycle and the total test was decreased. I don’t see how it could be otherwise, quite frankly, so I wasn’t surprised. Where would the extra test be coming from?


#18

I am pretty sure that the body cannot differentiate between the androgen activity from the different AAS.

That when a basic test is done, the total androgen level is related to whatever you are putting in. So if Nandrolone is used, then it would not show as nandrolone - nor as nothing, but as Test.

This may not be the case across the board (although i thought it was), and i have no clue where or when i came to this conclusion so may be totally wrong of course.

Surely then - in drug testing, they would ONLY ever need to Test for TT levels - as the use of any androgen will decrease the levels significantly.

Gonna look this up! :wink:


#19

Alen, Reinila, & Reijo (1985) observed that serum testosterone level tended to increase throughout a 26 week cycle of various AAS until abruptly dropping below normal levels during cessation. When athletes discontinue the use of AAS they experience a refractory period where they do not produce physiological amounts of endogenous testosterone (Di Pasquale, 1992a). Anabolic-androgenic steroid can reduce endogenous testosterone, gonadotrophic hormones and sex hormone-binding globulin (Yesalis, Wright, & Bahrke, 1989). Weight trained athletes have been shown to have low serum testosterone concentrations immediately after cessation of a AAS cycle but return to normal within weeks (Alen, Reinila, & Reijo, 1985).


#20

[quote] Brook wrote:
Alen, Reinila, & Reijo (1985) observed that serum testosterone level tended to increase throughout a 26 week cycle of various AAS until abruptly dropping below normal levels during cessation. When athletes discontinue the use of AAS they experience a refractory period where they do not produce physiological amounts of endogenous testosterone (Di Pasquale, 1992a). Anabolic-androgenic steroid can reduce endogenous testosterone, gonadotrophic hormones and sex hormone-binding globulin (Yesalis, Wright, & Bahrke, 1989). Weight trained athletes have been shown to have low serum testosterone concentrations immediately after cessation of a AAS cycle but return to normal within weeks (Alen, Reinila, & Reijo, 1985).[/quote]

So what does “various AAS” refer to in this case. Were they using synthetic testosterones for this study? I don’t see how running Deca when a blood test is taken will cause the Total Test value to be higher. I would think it might be just slightly lower if the addition of Deca further contributed to HPTA shutdown. I’m not sure to what degree my HRT dose has shut my HPTA down.