Exemestane is a steroidal Aromatase Inhibitor (AI) that is most commonly known as Aromasin. In fact, the Aromasin brand name is the only pharmaceutical grade brand of the Exemestane AI due to the tight patent Upjohn has maintained on the product. While tightly controlled by the pharmaceutical giant, Aromasin is available in numerous countries around the globe.
Aromasin was first released on the U.S. market in 2000 after shortly gaining FDA approval a few months prior in 1999. The primary purpose of use as with most AI’s would be to combat breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Shortly after, the AI would begin to gain a lot of popularity among anabolic steroid users for its ability to protect against estrogenic related side effects. This action is very similar to the older and more popular AI’s in Arimidex (Anastrozole) and Femara (Letrozole). It would also gain a fair amount of popularity in Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) plans among steroid users. It was not the first AI to gain such popularity but would prove to be a little more advantageous for this purpose than most AI’s.
Aromasin is officially classified as a steroidal suicide Aromatase Inhibitor, and carries the ability to inhibit the aromatase enzyme, which is responsible for the production or conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Aromasin has the ability to block aromatization, which in turn inhibits the production of estrogen, and thereby lowers the body’s serum estrogen levels. This will prove useful to breast cancer patients as breast cancer often feeds off the estrogen hormone. It will also prove useful to the anabolic steroid user.
Many anabolic steroids have the ability to increase estrogen levels due to the aromatase process, specifically the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. This can lead to gynecomastia and water retention. Excess water retention can also promote high blood pressure when it becomes severe. Steroids that do not carry a strong estrogenic nature can also cause these effects, most notably gynecomastia if they carry a progestin nature. A prime example would be Nandrolone, which while it aromatizes only does so at 20% the rate of testosterone. However, it also carries a strong progestin nature, and progesterone has been well noted for carrying the ability to stimulate the estrogenic mechanism in the mammary tissue. By administering Aromasin during the use of anabolic steroids, this will inhibit the aromatase process, lower estrogen levels and protect the individual from estrogenic side effects. How effective is Aromasin? The product claims on average to have the ability to lower serum estrogen levels by 85%.
Aromasin also has the ability to stimulate natural testosterone production, which is precisely why some will include it during their PCT. Like Arimidex and Letrozole, Aromasin will stimulate the pituitary to release more Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), two hormones essential to natural testosterone production. While the other common AI’s share this trait, Aromasin has been shown to carry a slight androgenic effect, as well as the ability to increase the production of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1). This is a trait no other AI can claim to carry. By using Aromasin during PCT, the individual receives the desired testosterone boost necessary for recovery, but with the IGF-1 increase also creates a stronger anabolic atmosphere. This is deemed useful by some steroid users as it could potentially give them the ability to protect their lean tissue all the more during use. However, when we look at the direct effects of Aromasin as it pertains to PCT, we will find PCT use is normally not recommended despite these positive effects.
In a therapeutic setting, by blocking the aromatase enzyme, Aromasin actively prohibits the cancer from feeding off the hormone necessary to its survival. It has been proven highly effective for this purpose, but only after the use of the Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM) Nolvadex (Tamoxifen Citrate) has failed. While effective, it is also not as commonly used as Arimidex for this purpose as Arimidex largely maintains itself as the primary AI in breast cancer treatment not only among post-menopausal women but in a host of breast cancer scenarios.
Then we have Aromasin as an anti-estrogen for the anabolic steroid user. By understanding its functions and traits you should already understand the effects of Aromasin in this regard. Excess estrogen levels can promote gynecomastia and water retention and possibly high blood pressure as a secondary issue. However, keep in mind such effects are not possible with all anabolic steroids, primarily it must carry an estrogenic nature, it must be able to aromatize to lead to such effects or carry a progesterone nature. Testosterone is the primary aromatizing steroid, but testosterone derived steroids like Dianabol can also promote strong estrogenic action. Then we have the Boldenone (Equipoise) hormone, and while it only aromatizes at 50% the rate of testosterone, this is still enough to cause an estrogen buildup in some. Finally, we’re left with 19-nortestosterone (19-nor) anabolic steroids. 19-nor compounds will primarily include all forms of Nandrolone and Trenbolone. As discussed Nandrolone aromatizes at 20% the rate of testosterone, but it also carries a very strong progestin nature. This can promote a fair amount of estrogenic activity in many men. As for Trenbolone, it does not aromatize at all, but its moderately strong progestin nature can make gynecomastia a possibility depending on the individual’s sensitivity. When use is coupled with an aromatizing steroid, this will greatly enhance the odds of gynecomastia. Regardless of the steroid in question, Aromasin can offer protection from the estrogenic effects.
An important note: Aromasin will have no affect on dihydrotestosterone (DHT) derived anabolic steroids as they do not convert to estrogen. Such steroids cannot lead to gynecomastia or excess water retention; it is impossible. The exception would be Anadrol (Oxymetholone), while a DHT derivative, it carries with it a strong estrogenic nature. However, while estrogenic action is present, the hormone does not aromatize, meaning there is no aromatization for Aromasin to inhibit. The use of an AI will not affect the estrogenicity of Anadrol. For protection from such a steroid, the individual will need to inhibit activation of the estrogenic mechanism, and this will make SERM’s the first line of defense.
The final effects of Aromasin surround its use in a PCT plan. Due to the use of anabolic steroids natural testosterone production is suppressed. The rate of suppression will be dependent on the steroids being used, and to a degree, the total doses, but natural production will be suppressed nonetheless. Most male steroid users are advised to include exogenous testosterone in all their cycles in order to ensure they have enough testosterone to meet their body’s needs. This won’t be an issue for most men as testosterone is normally a base steroid in a cycle. If it is not used as a base steroid the individual should ensure he administers the minimal amount necessary to combat suppression.
Once the cycle of steroids is over, while exogenous testosterone protected the individual while on cycle, at the end of the cycle natural production is still suppressed. Natural production will begin again once all the exogenous hormones have cleared the system, but returning to your prior levels pre-cycle will take a lot of time. In fact, it could potentially take up to a year assuming no other anabolic steroids were used during this period. By implementing a PCT plan, we stimulate natural testosterone production, cut down on the total recovery time and ensure we have enough testosterone for proper bodily functions. This does not bring our total levels back to their previous naturally high state, but it speeds up the recovery and ensures we do not spend a lot of time in a low testosterone state. Not only is a low testosterone condition extremely unhealthy and bothersome due to a host of possible symptoms, it can see the lean tissue gained on cycle destroyed. During a phase of low testosterone, it is easy for cortisol to become dominant in the body, which will destroy muscle tissue and promote fat gain.
Due to the need for a strong PCT and Aromasin carrying extremely strong natural testosterone stimulating properties, this makes it very appealing for this purpose. Due to the slight androgenic nature and moderately decent promotion of IGF-1 this makes it even more appealing. However, we must consider the primary purpose of Aromasin, which is as an anti-estrogen. High levels of estrogen can be problematic, but the hormone is still necessary to our body’s health. It is important in maintaining a proper immune system, as well as in the maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels. Then consider the PCT, which in part is primarily designed to stimulate natural testosterone production, but the overall primary point is to normalize the body. We cannot normalize with low estrogen levels. For a proper PCT that not only stimulates testosterone production but promotes overall normalization, SERM’s should always be your first choice.
The possible side effects of Aromasin are very similar to the primary AI’s in Arimidex and Letrozole. Many who use the AI often report fatigue and weakness, but this is often not an issue for the anabolic steroid user. The exception would be the steroid user who is in the middle of a harsh cutting cycle, such as in preparation for a bodybuilding contest. Many bodybuilders often report strong lethargy during this period, which isn’t surprising due to the intense diet and often incredible amount of cardio. However, it’s often amplified by the use of an AI like Aromasin. Overall, the primary possible side effects of Aromasin include:
While the above represents the primary possible side effects of Aromasin, studies have shown the AI may have the ability to decrease bone mineral content, which in turn could increase the individual’s risk of osteoporosis. This should not be a large concern for most steroid users as many steroids actually have the ability to greatly increase bone mineral content. Regardless, when looking at the side effects of Aromasin, while they largely revolve around possible the overall chance surrounds the individual’s nature. We all respond to varying medications and hormones differently. This includes AI’s like Aromasin to every last over the counter medication on earth and even applies to many of the foods we eat.
The final side effect of Aromasin will revolve around cholesterol. Aromasin, like all AI’s has the ability to negatively skew cholesterol levels. Alone it doesn’t appear to carry this ability at a significant level, but when combined with an aromatizing steroid data shows that it may in fact become significant. This can be an issue of concern for the steroid user as many anabolic steroids already have the ability to negatively affect cholesterol levels. This is an issue that many steroid users give very little attention to. Most are far more concerned with possible visually related side effects such as acne, possible hair loss and water retention, but these really aren’t too concerning. Cholesterol, that is an issue of concern, and while it is very possible for a healthy adult to maintain proper cholesterol levels and use anabolic steroids, it will take some effort and is worthy of your attention.
When looking at the hard data at hand, we find that the use of Testosterone at a therapeutic level, such as in the treatment of low testosterone will statistically produce no negative effect on cholesterol levels. However, the same data shows that when the same level of testosterone is conjoined with an AI like Aromasin, HDL cholesterol can be decreased or suppressed by as much as 25%. Then we have performance level doses, which will have a moderate effect on HDL cholesterol, but once again this is exasperated by the use of an AI.
Due to the potential negative effect on cholesterol, Aromasin and other AI’s should only be used when necessary. Many anabolic steroid users rely on AI’s heavily and that is a mistake. It is possible to avoid estrogenic side effects without an AI. It’s not always possible, but when possible it should be avoided. Many will find SERM’s like Nolvadex to provide all the protection they need. A SERM will not inhibit aromatization or lower serum estrogen levels, but it will attach to the receptors and prevent estrogen from binding. This can greatly aid in the prevention of gynecomastia. It can help with water retention to a degree, but it’s often not enough for many men. However, most men will find they can do a lot to control water retention if they do a better job controlling their diets. Excess calories are necessary for growth, but when the excess is heavy this will promote water retention. This will hold very true with excess carbohydrates more so than anything else and will hold true with or without the use of anabolic steroids. If the individual is consuming an abundant amount of calories and adds an aromatizing steroid to the mix, this will only exasperate the problem. Further, keep in mind that while excess calories are necessary for growth, normally this only requires a slight increase above maintenance. The total increase will vary from one man to the next based on his need, but rarely is it as abundant as many make it. Control your diet and your carbohydrate intake and you will do a lot for controlling water retention.
While SERM’s can offer a lot of protection, some will still need AI’s. This will be very true in many hardcore plans, and can often be beneficial to a contest cycle. However, use should be limited to when only necessary. Many who implement moderate anabolic steroid cycles, which is the vast majority of anabolic steroid users would be surprised by how little Aromasin or any AI they could actually get by with.
In a therapeutic setting to treat breast cancer, Aromasin is only used after Nolvadex has failed. This is normally after 2-3 years of Nolvadex therapy. From here Aromasin is given to the patient at a dose of 25mg per day, which will normally last another 2-3 years or until the cancer’s progression has come to a halt. This is normally followed by more Nolvadex therapy in an effort to halt the cancer from returning. This is a highly successful plan in the fight against breast cancer.
In a performance setting, standard Aromasin doses will normally be 12.5-25mg every other day. Most should be fine with 12.5mg every other day, with some getting by with only two to three doses per week. The individual’s total sensitivity and the composition of the steroid in cycle in question will dictate the final outcome. There will be, however, some who require a daily dose with as much as 25mg per day. This should be short lived and only continued as long as necessary due to the possible cholesterol issues. This type of use can prove very useful for the competitive bodybuilder 7-14 days leading up to the completion in an effort to come in as dry and hard as possible. But again, this full dose use is only used for a limited time.
Aromasin is an extremely powerful and valuable AI. We cannot necessarily call it more valuable than the more traditional AI’s, but it is useful. In the end, you may have to try varying AI’s at different times to find which one works best for you.
If you are using Aromasin during an anabolic steroid cycle, you are strongly encouraged to keep the possible cholesterol issues in mind. Some have suggested that the use of an AI like Aromasin along with a low dose of Nolvadex could protect the individual from cholesterol issues. While there is no concrete data to fully support this, in theory it may work as Nolvadex as an anti-estrogen actively acts as estrogen in the liver, thereby promoting healthier cholesterol levels. Regardless, for your cholesterol health, ensure your diet and lifestyle is cholesterol friendly. A cholesterol friendly lifestyle will be limited in saturated fats and simple sugars. It should also be abundant in omega fatty acids; daily fish oil supplementation is advised. Incorporating plenty of cardiovascular activity into your routine is also advised. Some may also find a cholesterol antioxidant supplement to be useful.