Answering the question of are prohormones steroids is tricky business. Technically, they aren’t, but they cause much of the same effect as steroids on the body – for better and for worse – which is why some competitive bodies have banned their use. To understand how they aren’t steroids, but can be banned from some competition for causing the same gains as steroids, you have to understand what prohormones are.
Breaking down the name
The “pro” in the name is your first clue as to how all this works. Prohormones are sometimes referred to as hormone precursors. For example, they don’t produce or provide testosterone, but they do enable an increase of testosterone production in the body. Synthetic hormones are banned from competition and only available with a prescription due to their introducing an increased level of a complete steroid hormone. Prohormones are not considered to be steroids because they are not full hormones, but only the first part. This is why you can buy prohormones online them, and get them for a much cheaper price – without a prescription and legally.
Are all supplements that boost androgen prohormones?
No. Just because a supplement has evidence that it is related to an increase in androgen or estrogen it is not a prohormone. Prohormones do occur naturally in the body, and they can be boosted with some types of supplements. A prohormone supplement is delivering the prohormone directly into your body without a building block step to create the precursor to the hormone. The prohormone is then used by your body to boost production of the targeted hormone. It is not considered a steroid because it is not artificially delivering a completely built hormone.
How effective are they?
Again, there is a two-sided answer to the question. They are more effective than per-cursor boosting supplements, but not as effective as synthetic steroids. They will deliver boosts to your targeted hormones for muscle gain and cutting. For their 60% delivery compared to the 100% of a synthetic steroid, prohormones do deliver 100% of the physical side effects of synthetic steroids and should only be used in full cycles.