In the never ending cat and mouse game to find the next anabolic component that's legal to sell, Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals has brought back a popular favorite from the dead in a unique form, and there's some good science to back this one up.
Prior to its ban in 2005, 1,4AD or 1,4-androstadienedione was one of the more popular anabolic options around. However, when prohormones were banned, 1,4AD went by the wayside.
Over ten years later, Hi-Tech has found a "workaround", and it looks like an impressive one that should be quite effective thanks in part to their Cyclosome ingredient delivery technology.
Before we dig into the details, take a look at the PricePlow-powered price comparisons and sign up for price alerts on Hi-Tech Pharma's supplements on this page!
The history and mechanism of 1,4AD
First, let's quickly talk about the history and mechanism that we're shooting for, which will help understand the main ingredient:
Through an enzyme pathway, this now-banned prohormone (1,4-androstadienedione) converts into the popular steroid boldenone, also known as Equipoise.
Boldenone is highly valued by bodybuilders as a popular alternative to nandrolone compounds like Deca Durabolin, in that they aren't as hormonally suppressive, but still have ability to give significant mass and strength gains.
Boldenone itself has some unique characteristics that give it high anabolic effects with lower androgenic side effects. It's based off testosterone, so it has effects similar to the king of the anabolic hormones, yet boldenone has been toned down in its chemical form to convert to estrogen less regularly at about half the potential of testosterone. Its interaction with the 5-alpha reductase (5AR) enzyme results in its conversion to the other popular steroid, dihydroboldenone (aka 1-testosterone!), however this happens much less frequently due to boldenone having less affinity for 5AR.
Boldenone is also known to significantly increase the appetite of its user, which is a highly sought after effect for hard gainers or those on a serious bulking cycle - those who will be best for Equibolin here.
So how do we get at this conversion legally?
That's where Hi-Tech enters the picture.
Now it's time to get deeper into Equibolin's label:
Note: This section was co-authored by Pogue.
This new compound is 1,4DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone). Regular DHEA, which is found naturally in the body, converts through a pathway of different hormones through various enzymes into testosterone, estrogen or whatever the body might require at that time.
With the modification of DHEA in this way, it instead allows it to make a two step conversion from itself into 1,4AD and then onto boldenone. Although this is obviously less optimal than a one step conversion, it allows the substance to be legally bought and sold in stores -- Hi-Tech Pharma's specialty.
Hi-Tech's product, Equibolin, contains 3b-Hydroxy-1,4-Androstadien-17-one Undecanoate which is a 1,4 DHEA with an undecanoate ester attached, which is to help it be more orally bioavailable.
The 1,4DHEA then goes on to cover to 1,4 Andro, which then targets boldenone, as discussed above. An effective, legal, and natural workaround for the prohormone ban!
Unfortunately, this is a rather large ester and some amount of the 75mg serving size of the compound is taken up by the ester itself instead of active hormone. This might help make it work better at the serving sizes recommended, but it might also mean you need more than that to see full results.
Where Hi-Tech changes the game here is with their Cyclosome technology, which vastly improves bioavailability, as discussed below. For this reason, the base dose of Equibolin is only two tablets per day, with a maximum of four tablets for experienced users. This is all discussed lower down.
Rhaponticum Carthamoides 100:1 Extract (Rhizomes)
As if the 1,4DHEA wasn't enough, Hi-Tech Pharma also added Rhaponticum carthamoides extract, which is highly standardized for plant-based ecdysteroids. It's long been used in traditional Siberian medicine for performance and sexual enhancement.[5,6]
Most research on ecdysteroids are limited to an ecdysteroid named ecdysterone, scientifically named 20-hydroxyecdysone. We're unsure exactly what Hi-Tech's extracting for in Equibolin, but we're assuming that this is what you're getting here. Using ethanol extraction, you can get over 2% ecdysterone, so with a 100:1 extract, we're led to believe that this is what we get.
At the very least, ecdysterone is adaptogenic. But is it anabolic?
It looks good in rats, but unfortunately, the only human study we found didn't do much.
Successful rat studies
In one rat study, in which thirteen weeks of supplementation at 10mg/kg yielded anti-obesity properties.
Further, rats given just 5mg/kg each day did indeed have anabolic properties, where local muscle mass was increased in just five days. The theory is that ecdysterone causes an increase of calcium in the cell, which activates Akt/Pl3K signalling, which then induces muscle protein synthesis (ie the gains).
Now here's what's wild: These are also hormones that function as insect steroids! And for whatever reason, they seem to have some targets in mammals too.[7,9]
One unsuccessful human study
But here's the bad news: There is a human study that concluded "Results indicate that M [Methoxyisoflavone], E [20-hydroxyecdysone], and CSP3 [sulfo-polysaccharide] supplementation do not affect body composition or training adaptations nor do they influence the anabolic/catabolic hormone status or general markers of catabolism in resistance-trained males."
This is unfortunate, but all is not lost - first off, this is an auxiliary ingredient. And second, it may be much more effective with Hi-Tech's Cyclosome delivery technology discussed next.
So while this is a supporting ingredient with no human research behind it for muscle gains, the rat models combined with the mammalian receptors lead us to believe that it still might help, if only just a bit - but let's be honest - we're truly looking at Equibolin for the 1,4DHEA.
Now let's discuss how Hi-Tech is setting itself apart from the others:
Cyclosome Technology for better absorption
On top of the attached ester, Hi-Tech uses what they call a Cyclosome delivery system. This is where the active hormone and its ester are suspended in a lipid and then placed in a cyclodextrin. This is a "best of both worlds" situation where you encapsulate the hormone in a sugar molecule and put a lipid-based delivery system around it.
All of Hi-Tech Pharma's latest anabolics and prohormones are using this process - it is explained in great detail in the bottom of our Androdiol post as well.The quick idea is that this lipid encapsulation is used to make the compound more bioavailable orally. It's been commonly done with compounds such as curcumin (where "Phytosome" is often used) and prescription drugs, but now Hi-Tech Pharma is one of the first to use it with prohormones.
These technologies have been explored for years, but some alternatives haven't worked out as well as this one. Since most steroid hormones themselves are destroyed by the liver before they become active in the system, drug companies have tried different techniques to bypass this, such as adding a c17 alpha alkylated (also commonly known as methylation), which makes a hormone able to bypass the liver, but much harsher to use and with greater side effects.
A trade-off worth taking
On the other hand, there's the oral suspension delivery system, where an esterified hormone is suspended in a lipid. That yields partial results, and is part of what we're getting with Cyclosome technology.
Both lipid encapsulation and methylation have their pros and cons, and oil suspension taken orally has been noted for being less bioavailable orally than methylation - yet with far fewer side effects than the "methyl monsters" of 2004+. That's a trade-off we'll gladly take for a legally sold, over-the-counter supplement.
Since methylation is dangerous and Hi-Tech isn't doing that, their Cyclosome technology also adds in the cyclodextrin process to further improve absorption on top of the lipid encapsulation.
So, will Hi-Tech's delivery system outdo systems of old? Only real world feedback will tell, but beta tests have been through the roof so far with the their 1-AD supplement using this same process.
Some additional circumstantial research: Do these DHEA metabolites work at all?The only study that looked at these newer DHEA based prohormones in terms of their effectiveness used 1-DHEA which converts to 1-testosterone. 1-DHEA is the main ingredient in one of Hi-Tech's other new Cyclosome-based prohormones, 1-AD.
This study used 330mg per day of the compound and it resulted in an ~4-5kg of lean mass gain while losing roughly 2.5kg fat mass (this data is estimated from the charts, since the text does not provide numbers).
Meanwhile, numbers all went up significantly more in the 1RM Bench Press, 1RM Deadlift, and 1RM Back Squat.
In that study, the placebo and 1-DHEA group performed the same amount of total work, so there's a clear advantage to the 1-DHEA supplementers.
Remember, this is a different compound (1-DHEA vs 1,4DHEA here), but there is indeed some credence to these new legal DHEA molecules that Hi-Tech Pharma is selling - although we'd of course love more research on 1,4DHEA itself.
Who is this for?
Equibolin is an intermediate-to-advanced prohormone - not for beginners or rookies. If the natural products discussed in our next generation muscle building supplements article are not enough for you, Equibolin is roughly the next step up.
So it's suitable for supplementally-aggressive men who are familiar enough with proper diet and training, who know and have researched how a proper cycle should be run would be able to get the most out of using this.
Age-wise, both younger men and older men would get the benefits of lean muscle gain, strength, with a lower chance of estrogenic and androgenic side effects along with an increased appetite that the compound is renown for providing
Who is this not for?
Anyone who is just getting started with weight training and learning how to diet would not be benefited by this compound. Anyone under the age of 21 should not be here (hell, sticking with consumers over the age of 25 would be even smarter).
Without knowing how to train properly or the amount macronutrients needed to be taken each day, this could turn into a waste of money - so get your training game straight before starting on a PH like this. Women should also probably avoid Equibolin, as it is an strong sex hormone that can and probably will results in virilizing effects.
Not for dieters: massive appetite
Further, for those of you on cutting cycles, Equibolin would probably not be ideal, as it's effects on appetite stimulation might making trying to reduce your calorie intake a difficult task, to say the least.
DosingThe standard dosing on the Equibolin label states to take two tablets spread out during the day. We believe this is the best way to go for your first cycle of Equibolin.
However, as each dosage is only 75mg, that would give 150mg per day, which is much less than the circumstantial study we looked above at as a reference. On top of this, this compound is esterified, and has less of the overall hormone in it. However… uptake will be increased by the Cyclosome technology, so this could all even out, leaving us at two tablets per day as a safe start.
But for an experienced user, or someone returning for their second cycle who had no side effects with the first, a more suitable recommendation would be to take 4 tablets per day - which is indeed the maximum number of tablets you can take per day according to Hi-Tech's label. Note that it's going to cost you a fair amount, so come ready.
Whether or not the delivery system used by Hi-Tech is enough to compensate for taking less remains to be seen, and as long as the side effects of the user don't start getting noticeable and requiring ancillary compounds, trying to match the 300mg per day dose of the study could be optimal for the most aggressive users. This would also double your cost, of course, so start with just two tablets per day and you can avoid buying twice as many bottles at first.
Regardless of dose, they should be spread out over the day as much as possible to keep the level of the hormone in the body at stable amounts.
Do you need PCT?
As with all hormonal products, you will need to use a post cycle therapy due to negative feedback inhibiting your body's own natural testosterone production from restarting after using exogenous steroidal products. We believe in a "better safe than sorry" approach, although these prohormones are far less aggressive than their methylated counterparts of the past.
A standard post cycle therapy will require some form of either the drug Nolvadex (tamoxifen) or Clomid (clomiphene).
Get blood tests!This isn't just some creatine supplement you take and forget about. This is serious stuff, so we have to preach to get blood tests when you're on any prohormone.
Unfortunately, over the counter post cycle therapy supplies often don't cut it to bring testosterone back up in line with where your levels were before the cycle. This is why it's imperative that you get blood work done after your cycle to not only check your testosterone level, but your liver and kidney values, along with cholesterol and other cardiovascular markers. Have your endocrinologist appointments all scheduled before you start running this!
With that information you can see if you need to take additional supplements or modify your diet to make sure everything is in line and you stay healthy after a cycle. Without getting blood work, you are just guessing as to where everything is at and if you need to continue running anti-estrogens or if will need to use other methods to bring them back in order.
Users can also read our post cycle therapy guide for more information.
Users can also see our muscle building supplements article to see other natural muscle-builders to be get stacked in, budget permitting.
Next-level users could get even crazier: Nor-DHEA would be another interesting compound to stack with this one for some more strength and mass gains. The only concern with using these ingredients based around the DHEA model is that they all make their conversion to the principle hormone through all the same enzymes, which can become oversaturated and leave the other hormones you take to sit around and break down, which essentially makes them go unused.
How much this takes and what dosage is needed to accomplish this is unknown. Beyond that, your typical muscle building compounds such as creatine, whey protein, and some preworkout caffeine would work fantastic.
For first-time runs, however, we'd suggest sticking with the standard muscle-building stack of creatine / betaine / L-Carnitine-L-Tartrate (discussed in the article above), along with pre workout, and go from there.
Conclusion... holy Hi-TechHi-Tech has been taking over the fat burner market, and now it looks like the anabolic and prohormone market is next.
Equibolin is the next step in their liposomally-treated, enhanced DHEA supplements that are both legal and so effective that we're thinking a legit PCT is going to be needed. This is serious stuff, and we're quite impressed with the amount of technology used.
The next-generation prohormones are finally going professional here. This is happening, and you're going to be hearing a lot more about it in the future. The "Hi-Tech Takeover" continues...
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