Nolvadex is a popular and powerfully effective Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM) that is often referred to as an anti-estrogen. However, while being an antagonist it is also an agonist as it will actually act as estrogen in certain parts of the body while acting as an anti-estrogen in other areas. As one of the oldest SERM’s on the market that is still regularly used medicinally, while Nolvadex is also used by anabolic steroid users it is not an anabolic steroid. This is an important note as some are often confused by its use in steroid cycles. Nolvadex is simply a SERM.
Nolvadex, officially known as Tamoxifen Citrate, was first developed in 1961 by ICI now AstraZeneca under the trade name Nolvadex. The SERM was developed to treat breast cancer, specifically hormone-responsive breast cancer. However, it has also been effectively used in breast cancer prevention. Then we have anabolic steroid users, and it was long ago discovered that Nolvadex had a place among such individuals. Nolva, as it’s commonly known, can be used as an anti-estrogen during an anabolic steroid cycle in order to prevent estrogenic related side effects. It is also used as part of a Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) recovery plan, which is its most common and beneficial point of use for the steroid user.
Tamoxifen Citrate is a SERM with both estrogen agonist and antagonist properties. As an anti-estrogen, Nolvadex functions by binding to the estrogen receptors in the place of estrogen. This binding prevents the estrogen hormone from performing its action in certain parts of the body, which is precisely why it’s beneficial to breast cancer patients. Many forms of breast cancer actually feed off estrogen when it attaches to the receptors in the chest. By preventing the attachment in such receptors, this also protects anabolic steroid users from gynecomastia, which can be caused by anabolic steroids that aromatize such as Testosterone, Dianabol, and Nandrolone and Boldenone to a degree.
While primarily viewed as an anti-estrogen, Nolvadex also has the ability to act as estrogen, specifically in the liver. This presents a benefit as estrogenic activity in the liver has been linked to healthier cholesterol levels. For the steroid user, this can be extremely beneficial as many anabolic steroids tend to have an adverse effect on cholesterol. More on this when we look at the direct effects of Nolvadex later on.
Although primarily an anti-estrogen, Nolvadex also possess strong testosterone stimulating characteristics. Nolvadex has the ability to block the negative feedback that is brought on by estrogen at the hypothalamus and pituitary. As a result, this stimulates an enhanced release by the pituitary of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). Both LH and FSH are essential to natural testosterone production. Without LH and FSH, with an even stronger emphasis on LH, there is no natural testosterone production.
For the breast cancer patient, the effects of Nolvadex are very straightforward. By blocking the estrogen hormone from attaching the cancer is unable to feed on the hormone necessary to its survival. While effective, it’s not always the only compound used or even the first. Often Aromatase Inhibitors (AI’s) are used early on as they have the ability to lower serum estrogen levels. In time, a switch from an AI to a SERM like Nolvadex will be made. In a preventative situation, those who have a strong family history of breast cancer may prevent it by Nolvadex use early on.
For the anabolic steroid user, the primary effect of Nolvadex on cycle is in the prevention of gynecomastia. Nolvadex does not appear to have a strong effect in preventing the other primary estrogenic effect in water retention, but this can often be controlled in other ways. As for gynecomastia protection, this can be enough for many men and should be your first choice if it can get the job done. If not, you will need an AI like Arimidex (Anastrozole) or Femara (Letrozole). However, AI’s can have a negative effect on cholesterol. Alone AI’s do not appear to have a strong, negative effect, but when coupled with an aromatizing steroid this effect appears to be exasperated. Cholesterol can be controlled with the use of an AI, but if it can get the job done a SERM like Nolvadex should be your first choice. As an added bonus, remember this SERM will have a positive impact on your cholesterol levels.
The final effect of Nolvadex represents the most valuable one for the anabolic steroid user. The use of anabolic steroids will suppress natural testosterone production. The rate of suppression will be dependent on the steroid(s) being used, but in most cases, it will be significant. Once the use of anabolic steroids comes to an end, assuming the individual did not suffer from a prior low testosterone condition and did not damage his Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Testicular-Axis (HPTA) through improper practices, natural testosterone production will begin again. This natural production will begin on its own, however, there is a problem. Once you come off cycle your natural testosterone levels will be extremely low and while production will begin again they will remain low for a very long time. It will take months and months for the body to fully recover its prior high natural testosterone levels. In fact, it could take up to a year or more depending on the harshness of the cycle and the individual’s general dispositions. This means the individual will be in a state of low testosterone for quite some time, and that can come with a host of bothersome symptoms. This condition can include all the symptoms associated with low testosterone. Further, with testosterone levels low, the individual may very well lose a lot of muscle tissue gained through steroid use as cortisol becomes the dominant hormone in the body.
Due to the low testosterone issues after a cycle of anabolic steroids, most men are encouraged to implement a PCT plan that includes Nolvadex post anabolic steroid use. Solid PCT plans often contain Nolvadex as well as the SERM Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate) and the powerful peptide hormone HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin). By implementing this PCT plan, you will greatly stimulate natural testosterone production, speed up the recovery process and greatly protect your physique. Once the PCT plan comes to an end, contrary to popular belief your testosterone levels will not be resting at their normal high level state. Total recovery will still take a lot of time. However, a PCT plan that includes Nolvadex will ensure you have enough testosterone for proper bodily function while your levels continue to naturally rise.
There are many performance enhancing athletes that scoff at PCT plans, and there is a time to forgo them. If you’re only going to be off cycle for a short period of time, say 4-6 weeks or are cruising on a low testosterone dose between full blown cycles, there is no logical reason for a PCT plan. Such scenarios are very common in hardcore bodybuilding circles but they are not realistic for most anabolic steroid users. Most steroid users will take a fair amount of time off cycle, and in the name of health and wellbeing this is the best approach. If this is the case, there is no logical reason for forgoing PCT, and we can guarantee those that implement it will be far better off.
There are possible side effects of Nolvadex use, but we will find this is a very well-tolerated SERM for most men and women. However, there are possible side effects but they are generally very rare. Most men will not have the first problem. The side effects of Nolvadex will be a little more common in women but even then they are not all that common. The possible side effects of Nolvadex use include:
The above are the most common side effects of Nolvadex. Other possible side effects of Nolvadex although less common than above include:
When it comes to the side effects of Nolvadex that really is all there is to it. Undoubtedly some of those effects do not sound all that pleasant, but again, most all the side effects of Nolvadex are fairly rare. As a final note, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not for any reason take Nolvadex. Such use can potentially be very damaging to the developing child.
Nolvadex is used in numerous breast cancer plans. There are six specific breast cancer treatment plans that can include male and female treatment. Regardless of the specific breast cancer scenario, standard Nolvadex doses normally fall in the 10-20mg ranges two times per day. An initial 40mg per day dose is very commonplace. Once breast cancer has been eliminated, it’s not uncommon for a 10-20mg per day dose to continue indefinitely.
For the purpose of estrogenic side effect protection during anabolic steroid use, 10-20mg per day is common. If 20mg per day does not protect you from gynecomastia you will need an AI. If you cannot control water retention with this dose you may also need to consider an AI, but with a sound diet that is not overabundant in calories, especially carbohydrates, water retention should be controlled. Many performance athletes often inaccurately blame the steroids for their tremendous water retention, when in truth a lot of the time they’re eating more than they need. Overeating will cause you to hold water, add in aromatizing steroids and this will be worse. Control your diet and control estrogen through SERM’s and most should be fine. If an AI is needed and in heavy cycles and contest cycles they normally are, controlling cholesterol will become even more important.
For the purpose of PCT, standard Nolvadex doses will normally begin at 40mg per day. The dose will normally hold at 40mg per day for a couple weeks, reduce to 20mg per day for a couple weeks and then finish with an optional week or two at 10mg per day. How your cycle ends will determine when you begin your Nolvadex therapy. If HCG is included, this will also affect the timing.
There are several SERM’s available, Nolvadex and Clomid being the most common but of all SERM’s Nolvadex may very well be the most beneficial. It’s undoubtedly beneficial to breast cancer patients, and you can guarantee many of them are quite thankful for it. In a performance capacity, the individual should not expect any type of true performance boost. Granted, it can stimulate natural testosterone production, but it’s use here will simply be aiding in bringing you back to normal, nothing more. However, those who include Nolvadex in the PCT versus those who don’t or who forgo PCT altogether, you will find the Nolvadex user greatly protects his lean tissue. The Nolvadex user will maintain far more muscle tissue and strength. And then we’re left with on cycle protection, and while it’s not the strongest protectant, when we consider the cardiovascular benefit it is one of the most valuable. Many anabolic steroid users regularly worry about water retention, a little acne and things of a visual nature, but protecting our cardiovascular health is truly the most important factor.