I would like to start up this thread to discuss HPTA shutdown - and people's opinion on this topic. I don't think it's really discussed enough and the new guys need more information on it (I think) before they can make a good decision about what types of steroid cycles they should run, how long they should run and what, if anything - they should stack. I think we can all use more info on it in fact.
Now - we all know that shutdown happens on a steroid cycle - the testicles shrink, things go out of whack - and they're supposed to return to normal after a proper PCT (which includes a SERM) - right? And what I'm talking about here is a guy who has a total test (and yes I know that total test really means not much - but I'm using it for simplicity here) - a guy with a total test of 700 ng/ml prior to his cycle should eventually be right back up there at some point either during - or after his PCT.
But maybe not ...
Props to Primordial for the above quote - which can found at this link ... HCG – Unraveled | Primordial Performance BlogThe decreased testosterone secretion capacity caused by steroid use was well demonstrated in a study on power athletes who used steroids for 16 weeks, and were then administered 4500iu hCG post cycle. It was found that the steroid users were about 20 times less responsive to hCG, when compared to normal men who did not use steroids. (8) In other words, their testosterone secretion capacity was dramatically reduced because they did not receive an LH signal for 16 weeks. The testes essentially became desensitized and crippled. Case studies with steroid using patients show that aggressive long-term treatment with hCG at dosages as high as 10,000iu E3D for 12 weeks were unable to return full testicular size. (7) Another study with men using low dose steroids for 6 weeks showed unsuccessful return of Insulin-like factor-3 (INSL3) concentration in the testes upon 5000iu/wk of HCG treatment for 12 weeks (6) (INSL3 is an important biomarker for testosterone production potential and sperm production) 20
Now - I've heard that 12 week cycles can cause such degradation to the testes that they never recover. However, I've never heard that low dose steroids over a six week cycle could.
So I guess the first question is - how many people knew about this kind of testicular damage (or even agree that it happens)?
Second question is ... if we agree it's a problem - then maybe we need to start recommending HCG for cycles with the same voracity that we recommend SERMS for PCT's? That is - IF HCG is really effective in keeping the testes in shape during a cycle - so that they can still return to full pre-cycle test production when the cycle completes? Sure HCG addresses the issue of testicular shutdown - but it doesn't address the hypothalamus and pituitary shutdown in that equation - they could be affected permanently by shutdown also - no?
I see a lot of guys on this board who drift into hardcore AAS usage and I love them all. But then many times I'll see them post later that they've been diagnosed with low-T and they're on TRT now. Of course - it's the hardcore AAS that caused it.
I'm not sure anyone would use steroids if they knew that they'd LOSE 10 or 100 or more points in testosterone production for each cycle they did. No one wants to produce LESS test after a cycle than they did before.
Just for me - I am just now completing my first full run of Epistane. In the past - I've normally used a "pulse" method that really didn't shut me down (the "no pct" pulse). I did try a run at Ultradrol - that lasted about 4 days until my balls started hurting so much I couldn't stand it anymore and dove off that cycle. With this run - I intended to do 3 weeks to test the "shutdown waters" - and maybe extend to 4 if I felt good. I've got some testicular sensation - but it's by no means as bad as the U/D was for me. I have some HCG too and may use it to get me through one more week - or maybe not.
So feel free to jump in with your thoughts about the cumulative effects of shutdown and how one can avoid permanent reduction of testosterone production.