Every so often a product seems to break out from the world of bodybuilding to garner a great deal of attention in mainstream media. When it comes to pro-hormones, you probably remember 1998, when the testosterone precursor androstenedione (the original pro-hormone) became a household word, almost overnight. The tremendous controversy started when a reporter spotted a bottle in home-run king Mark McGwire’s locker during a postgame interview. Television-news programs and papers all across the country were soon reporting on this mysterious new ‘home-run pill’ and ‘over-the-counter steroid,’ to which, it was said, McGwire surely owed a lot of his success. Although the hoopla over pro-hormones like andro died down soon after, it has definitely reemerged in 2003, this time with a vengeance. But now, andro is pass’, and reporters are talking about a whole new set of pro-hormones/pro-steroids.
The one currently breaking out of the pack is Molecular Nutrition’s boldenone precursor Boldione. William Llewellyn, Molecular Nutrition’s CEO and the author of Anabolics 2004, seems to be appearing everywhere these days, most of the time with a bottle of Boldione in hand. You can find him in a page-one article in the Washington Post (December 6, 2002: ‘New Steroids Sold Over Counter’); on the cover of ESPN The Magazine (July 7, 2003, cover story: ‘Catch Him If You Can’); in a feature interview on ESPN Television (September 2, 2003: ‘Outside the Lines’); and in other television, newspaper and radio interviews in major markets around the country.
Thinking back, it’s difficult to recall a sports-supplement developer or company receiving such media attention. The immediate question becomes, What’s all the fuss about? The answer is probably a combination of things, including Llewellyn’s notoriety as an author; however, it surely includes the sheer potency of the new generation of pro-hormones like Boldione, which his work has helped bring to market.
Boldione seems to be a big departure from the first-generation pro-hormones like andro and norandro. Not only does it convert to a very different steroid, in this case boldenone, but it does so with an affinity not noted with other pro-hormones. When it comes to oral bioavailability, or the measure of how much active steroid you receive from a given oral dose, Boldione is far better than its predecessors. In fact, it is the most orally active pro-hormone ever developed.
According to Llewellyn, that’s not just a marketing claim; it’s supported by a very solid body of medical research. In particular, studies demonstrate that even when the body excretes the hormone after oral dosing, it largely remains intact and active.1 Even after it’s made its way out of the body, you still find large amounts of active boldenone in the excretions. The same type of study was conducted on 1-androstenediol (1-AD), and by comparison Boldione was three times better (three times more active steroid in the urine).2 The active urinary metabolites from androstenedione are many times lower than those of the other two compounds, almost to the point of not warranting comparison.3 We can understand why the products of today are far different from the products we had just a few years ago.
The target hormone is highly desirable as well. Boldenone, normally found in the veterinary steroid Equipoise, is a very popular anabolic steroid among bodybuilders. Boldenone itself is a derivative of testosterone and like it promotes the growth of muscle tissue. In fact, according to the standard animal assay experiments, boldenone was the equal of testosterone in its ability to promote anabolism but exhibited only half of the androgenic activity.4 That means boldenone will have a very similar effect milligram for milligram when it comes to building muscle tissue but will be much less active in terms of producing unwanted androgenic side effects like hair loss, acne and aggression. A legal supplement that can supply effective levels of boldenone to its user is, likewise, a very impressive achievement, to say the least.
Estrogenic Side Effects?
Boldenone is highly favored not just because it’s an excellent muscle-building steroid, but also because it doesn’t tend to cause a lot of water or fat retention. That has to do with its slower rate of estrogen conversion. Testosterone, as you probably know, can cause a lot of these side effects as levels go up. It produces two to four times more estrogen for a given dose, which is a considerable difference when it comes to polishing your physique.5
Reports of such side effects are very common among those who take high doses of testosterone precursors like androstenedione and androstenediol’but apparently not with Boldione, as the boldenone precursor has been used successfully when prepping for a bodybuilding contest. Llewellyn’s recent interview with the Washington Post included comment from Elm Valle, a 29-year-old bodybuilder from Tennessee. Elm used Molecular products, including Boldione, for a Mr. Tennessee contest last year. In four weeks he gained 12 pounds of muscle, lost considerable bodyfat and placed third in his weight class. If that isn’t impressive, we don’t know what is. ALL An Ideal Pro-hormone?
With so many pro-hormone choices these days, it’s difficult to say that any one product is ideal. There are many different circumstances in which you might want to use pro-hormones, often requiring different approaches from case to case. Sometimes you’re looking to bulk up, for example, and would want as much sheer mass as possible. In such cases raising levels of a hormone like testosterone with a pro-hormone like 4-androstenediol would usually have been recommended in the past (a little extra water or fat weight is not a big deal for most). At other times you want to harden your physique and don’t want to use one of the classic bulking agents. Instead, you’d want to supplement a steroid that doesn’t elevate estrogen levels. Something like norandrostenediol would have typically been the way to go a couple of years ago. But Boldione does appear to be one of the most versatile pro-hormones next to those two, with qualities favorable for both purposes. It’s very effective at building mass and favorable when it comes to producing side effects, or a lack thereof. Its tremendously high oral bioavailability only makes it more desirable.
Editor’s note: Get two bottles of Molecular Nutrition’s Boldione for only $99.95 (you save $20). Call 1-800-667-4626 and ask for the IRONMAN Research Team Boldione Special.
1 Galletti, F., and Gardi, R. (1971). Metabolism of 1-dehydroandrostanes in man. I. Metabolism of 17-beta-hydroxyandrosta-1,4-dien-3-one, 17-beta-cyclopent-1-enyloxyandrosta-1,4-dien-3-one (quinbolone) and androsta-1,4-dien-3-one (1). Steroids. 18:39-50.
2 Galletti, F., and Gardi, R. (1972). Metabolism of 1-dehydroandrostanes in man. III. Metabolism of 17-beta-hydroxy-5a-androst-1-en-3-one, 17-beta-(1-methoxy-cyclohexyloxy)-5-a-androst-1-en-3-one (mesabolone) and 5a-androst-1-en-3,17-dione. J Steroid Biochem. 3:933-6.
3 Baulieu, E., and Mauvais-Jarvis, P. (1964). Studies on testosterone metabolism. II. Metabolism of testosterone-4-14C and androst-4-ene-3, 17-dione-1,2-3h. J Biol Chem. 239:1578-84.
4 Vida, J. Androgens and Anabolic Agents: Chemistry and Pharmacology. New York: Academic Press; 1969.
5 Gual, C., et al. (1962). Biosynthesis of estrogens. Endocrinology. 71:920-25. IM