Prohormones: 4-AD - Mind And Muscle

buff guy lifting4-Androstenediol, commonly referred to as 4-AD, was released not long after the very first prohormone on the supplement market, androstenedione or “andro”. 4 AD does not have much androgen receptor binding affinity on its own, but as a prohormone it converts to testosterone via the enzyme 3-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3bHSD). Its bioavailability is better than androstenedione, but still fairly poor, and its half life is fairly short as with androstenedione. Large, frequent doses are needed to see an anabolic effect from 4 AD. 4 AD is a “wet” compound, or a mass builder, so it is optimally used when the goal is to build size rather than cut body fat.

4 AD has moderate estrogenic and androgenic side effects, as testosterone can convert to both estrogen and DHT and as 4 AD itself can convert to androstanediol (an androgen). At the high doses required with this compound, these side effects can become somewhat of a concern. Gynecomastia, hair loss, and acne are not uncommon with 4 AD. 4 AD is not a methylated prohormone, so liver stress is not a big concern. Two isomers exist of 4 AD, the 3-alpha and 3-beta isomers. The 3-beta isomer may be more androgenic and therefore cause greater androgenic side effects, but any 4 AD supplement will contain a mix of the two isomers.

4 AD is typically used at 1000mg or more per day, split in 3 divided doses. Some users have reported an immediate boost in aggression and strength with 4 AD, so it may be a good idea to place one of the doses shortly before a workout. Because 4 AD is not methylated and has poor bioavailability, it should be taken with a fat containing meal to increase absorption.

4 AD, along with many other prohormones, was included in the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004. As of January 20th, 2005, 4 AD was banned from the dietary supplement market. There are similar options available that are still legal, including newer prohormones that require a 2-step conversion to testosterone, such as 4-DHEA (4-androsterone or 4-androstene-3b-ol, 17-one).

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1. Roberts, S (2009). Anabolic Pharmacology.
2. Inaba M, & Nakao T. (1966). Conversion of 4-androstenediol and 5-androstenediol to testosterone, and conversion of dehydroepiandrosterone to 4-androstenediol by rat testis in vitro. Endocrinologia Japonica. 13(2), 160-72.
3. Broeder CE. (2003). Oral andro-related prohormone supplementation: do the potential risks outweigh the benefits? Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology = Revue Canadienne De Physiologie Appliquée. 28(1), 102-16.

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