Recently I was asked to formulate a bodybuilding supplement.
It had to be one that I would want to use myself, and one that I would be confident to promote.
To make matters more interesting, the product was to be in the highly volatile class of ergogenic supplements known as Legal Steroids.
For the most part, legal steroids are pathetic attempts at something between a testosterone booster and an anabolic supplement. Usually, they fail in both respects.
They often contain weak-as-hell doses of amino-acids combined with pointless quantities of herbal libido boosters, sold to a clueless customer base using questionable marketing tactics.
Some claim to be extremely powerful testosterone boosters.
Testosterone boosters are rarely anything more than herbal boner pills. Again – pointless quantities of libido boosters.
What Are Legal Steroids?
Here’s the premise:
“Benefit from anabolic steroid like gains, without the negative side effects or the legal problems.”
Basically, people want the gear without the fear.
If a legal supplement could give you the same muscle growth results as synthetic anabolic steroids, don’t you think professional bodybuilders would be using them instead of taking the health risks they do?
When any company says their legal steroids can give you the same results as Dianabol, Tren, Sustanon, Deca, Anadrol etc…they are conning you.
For some reason, the manufacturers that make the most extravagant claims seem to make the most useless products for the most part. Often, they won’t even be worth the plastic bottle they come in.
There are safe and legal compounds available which have been found to have similar effects to anabolic steroids.
They aren’t as powerful as many of the most potent anabolic steroids but neither will they harm your health.
For the backbone of my formula, I thought it was important to find ingredients that have been shown in scientific studies to possess one or more of the following effects:
- Performance Enhancement (power, strength, stamina, oxygenation)
- Increased Muscle Protein Synthesis Rates
- Increased Bone and Connective Tissue Strength
- Therapeutic Effects on Muscle and Connective Tissue
- Improved Blood Flow and Muscle Oxygenation
- Improved Glucose Metabolism (better turnover of carbs for energy)
- Enhanced Nitrogen Retention (sign of anabolic environment)
- Increased Fat Burning Rates
I looked for those benefits specifically because they are the mechanisms and pathways that steroids interact with in order to have such a profound effect.
Here are the ingredients my research has led me to include in the formula.
Below is a brief description of each one and the associated findings from scientific investigations involving them.
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
- Coleus Forskohlii (for Forskolin)
- Mucuna Pruriens
- Panax Ginseng
- Eurycoma Longifolia Jack (Longjack)
- Ursolic Acid
- Alphaglycerylphosphorylcholine (Alpha-GPC)
- Beetroot Extract
Boron’s a no-brainer.
It increases free testosterone, and it does so in tiny doses (3mg to 10mg per day).
If the testosterone booster/legal steroid you are using doesn’t include boron, then it was made by a big pile of idiots.
Boron has been shown to boost free testosterone in healthy men, possibly by blocking SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin).
- Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines
- Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) can increase testosterone, IGF-1 (anabolic hormone), bone mineral density, glycogenolysis, blood flow and prevents a decline in testosterone during exercise.
It also lowers levels of LDL (aka bad cholesterol).
DHEA is one of the true legal steroids in the formula.
- Short-term dehydroepiandrosterone treatment increases platelet cGMP production in elderly male subjects
- Effect of acute DHEA administration on free testosterone in middle-aged and young men following high-intensity interval training
- Dehydroepiandrosterone replacement therapy in older adults: 1- and 2-y effects on bone
Turkesterone and 20-Hydroxyecdysone
More actual steroid compounds – legal of course.
Turkesterone and 20-HE are from the family known as ecdysteroids. The vast majority of ecdysteroids aren’t bioavailable to humans, but these are.
They’ve also been shown to increase protein synthesis rates in human muscle cells. Turkesterone is even stronger than the anabolic steroid Nerobol in this regard.
- Comparative experimental investigation of the anabolic activity of phytoecdysteroids and steranabols
- Estrogen receptor beta is involved in skeletal muscle hypertrophy induced by the phytoecdysteroid ecdysterone
- Phytoecdysteroids increase protein synthesis in skeletal muscle cells
- Mechanism of the anabolic action of phytoecdisteroids in mammals
- The action of methandrostenolone and ecdysterone on the physical endurance of animals and on protein metabolism in the skeletal muscles
Ashwagandha – Withania somnifera
The shorter explanation would be to describe what Ashwagandha doesn’t do.
It has been shown to:
- Improve Power and Strength
- Enhance Performance
- Increase Free Testosterone
- Reduce Stress
It’s part of a family called Adaptogens, and they have fully earned the title.
- Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial
- Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults
- Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers
- Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility
- Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males
- Efficacy of Withania somnifera on seminal plasma metabolites of infertile males: a proton NMR study at 800 MHz
Coenzyme Q10 is an important component in cellular energy production.
Otherwise known as ubiquinone it almost has vitamin status because we cannot live without it.
Supplemental CoQ10 can have many benefits, including the treatment of some serious diseases caused by a deficiency.
My specific research led me to scientific papers that demonstrated its ability to optimize testosterone production, improve exercise performance and reduce muscle damage.
- Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 on semen parameters, sperm function and reproductive hormones in infertile men
- Reducing exercise-induced muscular injury in kendo athletes with supplementation of coenzyme Q10
- Effect of coenzyme Q10 administration on endothelial function and extracellular superoxide dismutase in patients with ischaemic heart disease: a double-blind, randomized controlled study
- Coenzyme Q10 and exercise training in chronic heart failure
Coleus Forskohlii (for Forskolin)
Coleus Forskohlii supplements are taken based on their Forskolin content.
This bioactive compound is an all-rounder, and an ingredient that should be included in everything from anabolic supplements to fat burners.
Lean mass, overall body composition, bone mineral density, exercise performance, respiration, fat burning, testosterone…you name the parameter and forskolin appears to have a positive effect on it.
Bone mineral density is increased notably with forskolin supplementation. Stronger, healthier bones are the platform for stronger muscles.
- Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men
- Regional fat loss from the thigh in obese women after adrenergic modulation
- Clinical Efficacy Of Coleus Forskohlii (Willd.) Briq. (Makandi) In Hypertension Of Geriatric Population
- Effects Of Coleus Forskohlii Supplementation On Body Composition And Hematological Profiles In Mildly Overweight Women
Taken from velvet bean, Mucuna Pruriens is a source of L-Dopa, a precursor to important neurotransmitters.
Interestingly it can also help optimize testosterone levels and increase growth hormone production.
- Mucuna Pruriens Improves Male Fertility By Its Action On The Hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal Axis
- A Proton NMR Study Of The Effect Of Mucuna Pruriens On Seminal Plasma Metabolites Of Infertile Males
Another adaptogen, similar to Ashwagandha, Panax Ginseng has therapeutic effects on muscle damage and can increase testosterone and DHT in people with depleted levels.
- Effects Of Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer Saponins On Male Fertility
- Effects Of Panax Ginseng Supplementation On Muscle Damage And Inflammation After Uphill Treadmill Running In Humans
Shilajit is a type of mushroom that can improve testosterone production.
Ginger’s one of the more common ingredients on the list, but its benefits to the bodybuilder and male health in general cannot be left out.
Reduced pain and muscle soreness should be on every lifter’s wish list. It can even bolster testosterone and improve sexual health.
The effect of Ginger on semen parameters and serum FSH, LH & testosterone of infertile men [https://www.iasj.net/iasj?func=fulltext&aId=71548] Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) Reduces Muscle Pain Caused By Eccentric Exercise [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20418184]
Turmeric’s active ingredient, Curcumin, should be in every supplement ever made.
It’s that amazing.
There are health benefits aplenty, including stress reduction, DNA repair, reduced risk of cancer and more.
However, for gym rats and lifters it increases Nitric Oxide for excellent muscle pumps. It also reduced pain, inflammation and soreness following an intense session.
Curcumin reduces fatigue, improves insulin sensitivity and can help keep us active as we get older and older.
- Diverse Effects Of A Low Dose Supplement Of Lipidated Curcumin In Healthy Middle Aged People
- Efficacy of turmeric (curcumin) in pain and postoperative fatigue after laparoscopic cholecystectomy: a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study
- Comparative evaluation of the pain-relieving properties of a lecithinized formulation of curcumin (Meriva(®)), nimesulide, and acetaminophen
Eurycoma Longifolia Jack (Longjack or Tongkat Ali)
Longjack – aka Tongkat Ali – has been in male health products for years. It’s been touted for its ability to increase testosterone production but there’s more to it than that.
It reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which in-turn reduces stress and protects testosterone.
Furthermore, longjack has performance enhancing effects such as improved power output and subjective well-being.
Paired with resistance training, it can increase lean mass gains too.
- The ergogenic effects of Eurycoma Longifolia Jack: A Pilot Study
- Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects
A molecule extracted from apple peel, ursolic acid can also be found in Holy Basil.
It’s early days science-wise but results so far are looking great for ursolic acid’s positive effect on muscle growth, power output, performance enhancement and anabolic hormone production.
It also boosts Irisin, which is known as the “exercise hormone”.
Ursolic acid looks extremely promising as a body re-composition agent – i.e. able to increase muscle mass and decrease fat mass.
One day, when everyone is using this stuff, remember where you heard it first!
- Ursolic Acid-induced elevation of serum irisin augments muscle strength during resistance training in men
Alpha-GPC is a pre-cursor to an extremely important neurotransmitter – acetylcholine.
Benefits of supplementation include: improved power output, performance enhancement, greater mind-muscle connection and increased HGH release.
- Acute supplementation with alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine augments growth hormone response to, and peak force production during, resistance exercise
- Glycerophosphocholine Enhances Growth Hormone Secretion And Fat Oxidation In Young Adults
Betaine reduces the decrease in anabolic signalling that usually occurs during training itself.
It also improves and protects cell integrity, hydrates the cell, reduces muscle acidosis, boosts IGF-1 production and increases work output.
- The Effects Of Chronic Betaine Supplementation On Exercise Performance, Skeletal Muscle Oxygen Saturation And Associated Biochemical Parameters In Resistance Trained Men
- Betaine Supplementation Enhances Anabolic Endocrine And Akt Signaling In Response To Acute Bouts Of Exercise
Beets are a rich source of nitrates and when supplemented can enhance physical performance through nitric oxide boosting, improved blood flow and improved muscle glucose uptake.
- Dietary nitrate supplementation improves team sport-specific intense intermittent exercise performance
Zinc is awesome.
We absolutely need it for many health parameters, including normal testosterone levels.
The thing is, we lose zinc in our sweat. So if you work out a lot, you need to replenish your stores before it starts to affect your overall health and gains.
Magnesium deficiency is the second most prevalent nutrient deficiency next to Vitamin D3. The two also work together with Vitamin D helping sustain magnesium levels in the brain.
This essential dietary mineral is also lost when we sweat, making its replenishment all the more important for active people.
You might notice that there are very few of the ingredients you find in most “testosterone boosters” and “legal steroids” these days.
I’m talking about tribulus terrestris, nettle root, fenugreek, horny goat weed, d-aspartic acid…
The list goes on.
Most of them are the herbal boner pill ingredients I was talking about earlier. Good for libido, maybe, but not testosterone levels. And more importantly, not for increased muscle mass or enhanced performance.
Fenugreek might cause a temporary increase in testosterone but it’s at the cost of conversion to DHT, which is actually more anabolic.
D-Aspartic Acid might raise test levels…for all of five minutes before they drop back down. It can even lower testosterone levels in some people.
If there was infinite space in each supplement serving, they might have featured in it, for added libido enhancement if nothing else. There’s more than enough of that in there in any case. Many of the testosterone ingredients will improve libido.
The above formula is the closest thing you’ll get to an anabolic steroid that doesn’t compromise your health, or legal status.
I have researched bodybuilding, male health and male enhancement supplements – amongst others – for many years now.
Producing fact based information about these products, the ingredients that go into them and the scientific evidence for them, is my profession. It’s my passion.
Furthermore I am 100% fixated on the simple concept that supplements should work, and help consumers achieve their goals.
Marketing trickery and over-hyped broscience BS is not my thing. If it was, I could have made a boat load of money by now.
As it is, I want to bring something to this uncontrolled, unethical corner of the industry: Legal Steroids.
Something that really will help you achieve your goals.