T Nation

Class II's & Cortisol Inhibition


Just wondering about the implications of using class II AAS and their effects on inhibiting glucocorticoids?

For example;

If sufficient dosage is used would it be reasonable to state that cortisol will have NO effect during a cycle? Consequently, one could go about HIIT sessions daily on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. Not utilise any para-workout nutrition for the purpose of lowering cortisol levels such as Phosphatidyl Serine and glycine.

Or, would it be closer to the mark to say that a sufficient dosage of a class II may have a 10-50% reduction in the negative effects cortisol will have upon physique enhancement?


Not a clue - however, cortisol is dependant on a number of factors, not just the anabolic hormone levels - for example, if one were to eat NOTHING but use upto 10g of anabolics, they would STILL catabolise their organ tissue/muscle tissue, suggesting that 100% suppression of cortisol activity is not likely.

IIRC the 'anti-catabolic' effects of CII steroids was over stated.. but that said, of course all AAS have this benefit - thus the necessity to keep training sessions low volume but high intensity post cycle/cruise, etc.

I believe i remember BR had a few posts on the matter here - and seeing as the whole 'classification' of steroids in this way was his brainchild, i wouldn't be surprised.

Try a search, or try mesomorphosis.com - as alot of his 'Class' articles were there i believe.

Post any finding here too :wink:


Differing anabolic steroids will differ in this regard and I don't know and don' expect that there's a correlation between being Class I or II or this effect.

From the practical standpoint, a steroid user ordinarily doesn't worry about things like PS and glycine but I can't say that for some individuals there may not be some benefit including when on a cycle. As a guess that likely may be true for some. Individual experimentation would be the only answer.


If your on cycle and experimenting if glycine and PS is lowering cortisol what are ways to tell if there is an effect?


You could possibly interpret spot reduction of abdominal fat as a sign cortisol has been dramatically reduced.


"High umbilical (abdominal) skin fold measurements alarmed health care professionals because one study consisting of 30,000 women over a period of 12 years discovered that women with higher umbilical fat measurements, (abdominal fat accumulation) were more likely to develop heart disease than other ordinary overweight women. As I mentioned before, this group had to deal with high stress and chronically elevated cortisol. The popular supplement phosphatydylserine has shown a dramatic reduction of circulating cortisol, (as well as improved mood, memory, and motivation ­ to fight stress and depression). Charles also recommends fish oils rich in essential omega-3 oils and Licorice Root, which helps the regulation of cortisol production. Glycerrhizin is a component of licorice, which is capable of inactivating cortisol. Another good idea for any person belonging to this particular group is to limit (reduce) their caffeine and simple sugars consumption. These are factors that could impact (increase) their levels of cortisol in the body."


Yes, I would look at whether waist size seems to be going down more than expected for overall fat loss, if it seemed that the waistline was a problem area in the first place.

This from both the sub-Q fat DH mentioned above, plus visceral which is also affected.

There's a medical study finding oxandrolone to reduce abdominal fat in men moreso than testosterone does. While they didn't control for equal estrogen levels, it might be that a cortisol-blocking effect might be the mechanism for this action of oxandrolone.


So what you are saying Bill is that the likes of glycine and PS may take effect on the adrenals via a different pathway than that of class II's?

What about the volume aspect of training and class II's? I understand that individual differences will still occur but is there an accepted % increase in volume one can tolerate on an appropriately dosed class II cycle before cortisol becomes an issue?


Not exactly as having done the Biosignature, Poliquin is referring to a high umbilical skinfold measurement not overall waist circumference which would be more closely related to insulin resistance.


Yes, I know Poliquin was referring to that measurement: as well as the quoted text plainly saying so, his "Biosignature" method has no means of measuring visceral fat.

I was adding to what he stated, rather than claiming he said something he didn't.

On amount of training: I've never concerned myself with Class-I-only stacks and Class-II-only stacks as to how each might affect work capacity, as I don't consider either the way to go. It would be an interesting matter, but not I think of practical importance as these things just shouldn't be done. But as a general rule of thumb, for a decent stack or a solid dosing of testosterone, a one-third increase in volume relative to natural training is generally not excessive. A little more than that is often fine also.

On whether it's a different mechanism: yes. There's a varying tendency of androgens to have some binding to cortisol receptors without activating them, thus to some degree blocking cortisol. I'm not greatly familiar with how glycine and PS work but I had thought it was from modulating the nervous system.


Sorry Bill no disrespect intended whatsoever. When you mentioned 'waist size' I interpreted that as being akin to waist circumference as opposed to the umbilical skinfold measurement.

I'm sure you are aware of the Biosignature protocol but I'll cover the difference mentioned above for other readers.

High umbilical (belly button) skinfold measure in relation to triceps (which is reference site) indicates fatigued adrenals and/or high cortisol levels.

High suprailiac skinfold (just above hip) measure in relation to triceps indicates high circulating insulin levels.

Consequently, if one was to use a circumferential measure around the waist it wouldn't necessarily decifer (sp?) what is the cause of the change of the circumferential measure.

So it just seems a minor change in wording was all that was needed.


I did mean circumference, saying that that change in this (assuming the change is out of proportion to bodyweight change) is a useful indicator for whether an anti-cortisol supplement is working, as well as the umbilical skinfold being such.

As you say there is more than one factor in waist size. More than two, actually, but the two fat-related ones are sub-Q around the entire band and visceral. At any rate, if one supplements with something intended to reduce cortisol and, there being no other cause but the supplementation, waist size goes down and it was problematically high in the first place, then that shows success with the supplement.


Great stuff thank you Bill. Would it therfore be 'correct' to state that class II's primary mode of action then is to retain the muscle you otherwise would have lost due to a higher glucocorticoid/testosterone ratio?


Of course, you still can not be certain that the supplement was the source and cause of the change because there are too many variables and no information/clinical data to mitigate probability. You would need to replicate the testing under controlled conditions or what you end up with is empirical information.....not to be discarded but I wouldn't want to bet the farm on it.

Try either saliva or blood testing if you suspect cortisol, ensure you control important variables and then see what your results are.


I'll tell you what. Why don't you limit everyone to methods that absolutely, positively cannot have an alternate explanation. For example if they have a stubborn problem and have things in a steady condition (not in the process of dieting down anyway, or bulking, but are holding steady) and while making no other changes, see that after adding one thing different, see major improvement where they had had a stubborn problem, hell with that. Quit it and never use it again because there could have been another explanation, after all.

MUCH better to instead, regardless of seeing NO improvement (if such be the case) have a salivary test result that showed an intended change occurring between those two samples (a single one before and a single one after.)

Or if seeing an improvment in physique that one is pretty sure from track record wouldn't have happened otherwise given everything else being kept the same as much as reasonably possible, it's so much better to go by a pair of salivary tests not showing a change and therefore giving up. Good thing you posted!

That is a much more practical and more efficacious way to find what works for a person.

Yes, let's stop ever suggesting methods that have no "information/clinical data to mitigate probability." You're absolutely right. In fact, this entire forum should be deleted from the board.

I also stand in wonder at your dismissal of my post based on statistical concerns followed immediately by your recommendation that one should rely on taking a before test and an after test, sample size = 1, and make one's conclusions based on that rather than on physique change or lack thereof. Much better and more valid!


No, if anything there are more losses for a given amount of muscle mass gain from a Class-II-only cycle than there are from a proper stack, or from Class I only.

Additionally, when for example using oxandrolone only and getting little results, then cutting oxandrolone in half and adding the difference in as oxymetholone gives far better results, I don't think it's likely that cortisol-fighting is the reason for improvement.