Nolvadex, Clomid and HCG in Post Cycle Therapy (PCT)
One of the most frequently asked questions on MuscleTalk is how to
properly use the Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) drugs Nolvadex, Clomid
and HCG correctly.
(A note to Americans - when I say 'oestrogen' I mean 'estrogen' -
we spell it correctly in the UK!)
Why Bodybuilders Use Clomid
Clomid is a generic name for Clomiphene Citrate and is a synthetic oestrogen. It is prescribed medically to aid
ovulation in low fertility females. Another generic name is Serophene.
Most anabolic steroids, especially the androgens, cause inhibition
of the body's own testosterone production. When a bodybuilder comes
off a steroid cycle, natural testosterone production is zero and
the levels of the steroids taken in the blood are diminishing. This
leaves the ratios of catabolic : anabolic hormones in the blood
high, hence the body is in a state of catabolism, and, as a result,
much of the muscle tissue that was gained on the cycle is now going
to be lost.
Clomid stimulates the hypothalamus to, in turn stimulant the
anterior pituitary gland (aka hypophysis) to release gonadotrophic
hormones. The gonadotrophic hormones are follicle stimulating
hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH - aka interstitial cell
stimulating hormone (ICSH)). FSH stimulates the testes to produce
more testosterone, and LH stimulates them to secrete more
testosterone. This feedback mechanism is known as the
hypothalamic-pituitary-testes axis (HPTA), and results in an
increase of the body's own testosterone production and blood levels
rise, to, in part, compensate for the diminishing levels of
exogenous steroids. This is vital to minimise post cycle muscle
Not all steroids do cause shut down of the feedback mechanism.
Everyone is different and you must also take into account how long
you have been using a certain steroid and at what dose in order to
determine if you need Clomid or not.
Clomid also works as an anti-oestrogen. As it's a weak synthetic
oestrogen, it binds to oestrogen receptors on cells blocking them
to oestrogen in the blood. This minimises the negative effects like
gynecomastia and water retention that may be a result of oestrogen
that has aromatised from testosterone.
It's effect as an anti-oestrogen are quite weak though, and it
should not be relied upon if you are going to be using androgenic
steroids that aromatise at a rapid rate, or if you are pre-disposed
to gynecomastia. Arimidex and Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) are far more
Clomid does not, as is often thought, stimulate the release of natural
testosterone, but rather works at reducing the oestrogenic
inhibition caused by the steroid cycle. It does this in a similar
manner to the way it and Nolvadex block oestrogen receptors in
nipples to combat gyno development, i.e. by blocking the oestrogen
receptors in the hypothalamus and pituitary thus reducing the
inhibition from the elevated oestrogen. This allows LH levels to
return to normal, or even above normal levels, and in turn, natural
testosterone levels to also normalise.
Inhibition of the HPTA is caused by either elevated androgen,
oestrogen or progesterone levels. On cessation of the steroid
cycle, androgen levels begin to fall and Clomid dosing is normally
commenced according to the half-life of the longest acting drug in
the system (see below).
This may also explain the reason individuals often find post-deca
recovery more difficult, as the progesterone presence is untouched
by the Clomid. We know that Clomid and Nolvadex (being very similar
chemically) are both ineffective with regard to reducing
progesterone related gyno, so it is reasonable to assume that
Clomid has little effect against progesterone levels.
Clomid During A Cycle
When we use anabolic steroids, the level of androgens in the body
rises causing the androgen receptors to become more highly
activated, and through the HPTA, a signal tells our testes to stop
producing testosterone. During a cycle the body has far higher than
normal levels of androgens and, as long as this level is high
enough, Clomid will not help to keep natural testosterone
production up. It will be almost all but completely shut off, in
Some heavy androgen users, however, do advocate a small burst of
Clomid mid-cycle, though it must be hard for them to say if it
really of any benefit, due to the amount of gear they are using.
Therefore, the only purpose of Clomid during a cycle is as an
When To Take Clomid
The correct time to commence Clomid depends on the type and cycle
of steroids you have been using. Different steroids have different
half-lifes (indicates the time a substance diminishes in blood),
and Clomid administration should be taken accordingly.
As we have seen above, Clomid taken when androgen levels in our
blood are still high will be a waste. It is crucial to wait for
androgen levels to fall before implementing our Clomid therapy.
However, if taken too late we could possibly lose gains.
The list below determines when you should start Clomid. Select from
the list any steroids you've used in your cycle and whichever one
has the latest starting point is the time to commence Clomid. For
example, if Dianabol, Sustanon and Winstrol were cycled, the time
for administering Clomid should be 3 weeks post cycle, as Sustanon
remains active in the body for the longest period of time.
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