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A Brief History of Prohormones


Powerlifting Bench Press


The first recorded use of prohormones in the world of athletic, bodybuilding and sports supplements comes in 1996, when US chemist Patrick Arnold developed a commercially viable form of the androstenedione supplement.

The prohormone caused a storm in the world of sports, especially in the area of baseball. American sports reporters were taken with the great successes of baseball star Mark McGwire, who took the nation's record for home runs in 1998. His success thanks to the use of the prohormone androstenedione led to controversy over the supplement's legality, but he and it were both cleared after a legal probe.

Once the effectiveness of prohormones were proven, a rash of further sporting supplements appeared on the market, such as androstenediol, 1-4-androstadienedione, 5 alpha androstenediol and norandrostenediol. These were marketed for different forms of sporting and athletic activity - some would metabolise into testosterone in the human body, while others would metabolise into to anabolic hormones such as boldenone, nandrolone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Patrick Arnold did not allow himself to be outstripped by the competition, however, developing the new prohormone 1-AD, designed to metabolise into 1-testosterone, placing it on a par with illegal steroids banned from sport and bodybuilding contests. By this time, androstenedione was considered to be of little value by bodybuilders, and this sign of prohormones' development was very welcome. What was not so welcome was the rush of new products which were so similar to anabolic steroids that they came with many of the same dangers. Arnold himself was outspoken in condemning this move, warning that the negative publicity attached to steroid-imitating prohormones would taint the whole supplements industry. Eventually, the Anabolic Steroid Control Act was passed in 2004, outlawing such prohormones and ensuring that only safe, tested products remained on the market.

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