Blood Tests on a steroid Cycle.

Blood Test Protocol on Cycle.

Blood work is essential if your intention is to utilise steroids safely.

I split blood tests into two separate groups, those who are doing a normal cycle with a PCT and those who are blasting and cruising.

Normal Cycle + PCT:

Pre-cycle bloods will give you a hormonal baseline (necessary for comparison after a PCT). In addition, you will be able to identify any contra-indications to cycling (undiagnosed health issues and general status of organs in the body).

Mid-cycle bloods will let you know how your body is reacting to the steroids and whether you have been ‘Shut-down’. From a health perspective, it will let you know if you should continue with the cycle or not, depends on your health status. Furthermore, it will allow you to know whether you can, for example, end the cycle with an oral or increase the dose for the remainder of the cycle.

Post-cycle bloods should be done after the PCT has ended and should be compared to your pre-cycle bloods to see how your body has recovered hormonally. Furthermore, it might allow you to be aware of and correct any health issues that may have occurred on cycle.

Which blood tests are needed? (Interpretation will be expanded upon in a separate article)

Hormones — These are important as a baseline (to see what your levels are at the beginning of a cycle for comparison), mid-cycle (to see if there is any shutdown of natural supply) and to see if you’ve recovered after your PCT.

  • LH/FSH: These gonadotropins stimulate the testes to produce testosterone.
  • Total Testosterone (Free + Bound Testosterone) and Free Testosterone (Testosterone that is not bound to SHBG)
  • SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin): binds to Testosterone in the bloodstream which makes it inactive.
  • Estradiol: E2 is affected by aromatizing hormones. Important for mid-cycle bloods to assess if an anti-estrogen is required.

Health Markers — These are the staples needed to assess organ and general health.

  • FBC/CBC (Full/Complete blood count)
    • HCT (Hematocrit): Increases in response to androgens and will indicate whether you need to donate blood. If it is too high you run the risk of secondary polycythemia.
    • Hb (Hemoglobin): Also increases in response to androgens and will be linked to the HCT.
    • Neither of these two markers should be elevated before a cycle, if they are, correct them prior.
    • WBC (White Blood Cells): Gives you a good indication of whether you have an infection. Can also be raised in cases of unsterile gear.
    • Platelets: Contrary to popular belief, it is not highly influenced by androgens and a poor marker in the absence of other signs or symptoms.
  • Lipids (LDL/HDL): Androgens increase LDL (bad cholesterol) and decrease HDL (good cholesterol). Ensure these markers are in range prior to initiation and post cycle.
  • LFT (Liver Function Test) (AST/ALT/GGT/Bilirubin): You want to be sure your liver is healthy going into the cycle.
  • U&E (Urea and Electrolytes) – This assesses metabolic and kidney function
    • Potassium: Necessary if utilizing diuretics
    • Creatinine: is usually elevated in bodybuilders and gives an indication of the clearance capacity of the kidney.
    • Urea: More useful in the context of chronic kidney issues but may also indicate acute kidney injury.
    • eGFR (Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate): This estimates the filtration of your kidneys (it is an equation using creatinine). If decreased could indicate kidney issues.
  • PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) – POINTLESS. This will be expanded upon in a new article.
  • Insulin, FASTING Glucose – Not necessary unless using compounds known to impact glucose and insulin sensitivity (e.g., Growth Hormone, MK677, GHRP-6 etc.). Might be good to assess insulin sensitivity just out of curiosity to prevent diabetes from occurring.

Blast and Cruise:

If you are purely cruising, then it is important to have blood tests at least 3-4 times per year to ensure health levels are stable and not declining or anomalous for any reason.

When blasting the protocol is like the Normal Cycle protocol.

Pre-cycle bloods: the hormone baseline is not needed in this case as you are most likely shut down. However, it is vital to check organ health prior to a cycle. You will be able to identify any contra-indications to cycling (undiagnosed health issues and general status of organs in the body).

Mid-cycle bloods will let you know if you should continue with the cycle or not, depending on your health status. You will be able to identify health problems and fix them. Furthermore, it will allow you to know whether you can, for example, end the cycle with an oral or increase the dose for the remainder of the cycle.

Post-cycle bloods should be done after a few weeks after the cycle has ended and should be compared to your pre-cycle bloods to see how your body has handled the steroids and if there are recurring health issues.

Which blood tests are needed? (Interpretation will be expanded upon in a separate article)

Hormones — Not all these tests are useful when blasting and cruising. LH/FSH will, most likely, be low. Total testosterone and free testosterone will be useful when cruising to allow you to adjust your cruise and titrate it to effect. SHBG might be useful when utilizing compounds known to crash it and to fix it if it is too high. Estradiol is also useful so that you know if anti-estrogens are needed.

  • LH/FSH: These gonadotropins stimulate the testes to produce testosterone.
  • Total Testosterone (Free + Bound Testosterone) and Free Testosterone (Testosterone that is not bound to SHBG)
  • SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin): binds to Testosterone in the bloodstream which makes it inactive.
  • Estradiol: E2 is affected by aromatizing hormones. Important for mid-cycle bloods to assess if an anti-estrogen is required.

Health Markers — These are the staples needed to assess organ and general health.

  • FBC/CBC (Full/Complete blood count)
    • HCT (Hematocrit): Increases in response to androgens and will indicate whether you need to donate blood. If it is too high you run the risk of secondary polycythemia.
    • Hb (Hemoglobin): Also increases in response to androgens and will be linked to the HCT.
    • Neither of these two markers should be elevated before a cycle, if they are, correct them prior.
    • WBC (White Blood Cells): Gives you a good indication of whether you have an infection. Can also be raised in cases of unsterile gear.
    • Platelets: Contrary to popular belief, it is not highly influenced by androgens and a poor marker in the absence of other signs or symptoms.
  • Lipids (LDL/HDL): Androgens increase LDL (bad cholesterol) and decrease HDL (good cholesterol). Ensure these markers are in range prior to initiation and post cycle.
  • LFT (Liver Function Test) (AST/ALT/GGT/Bilirubin): You want to be sure your liver is healthy going into the cycle.
  • U&E (Urea and Electrolytes) – This assesses metabolic and kidney function
    • Potassium: Necessary if utilizing diuretics
    • Creatinine: is usually elevated in bodybuilders and gives an indication of the clearance capacity of the kidney.
    • Urea: More useful in the context of chronic kidney issues but may also indicate acute kidney injury.
    • eGFR (Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate): This estimates the filtration of your kidneys (it is an equation using creatinine). If decreased could indicate kidney issues.
  • PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) – might possibly have a place in cruising but pointless without a rectal exam/ Prostate Ultrasound.
  • Insulin, FASTING Glucose – Not necessary unless using compounds known to impact glucose and insulin sensitivity (e.g., Growth Hormone, MK677, GHRP-6 etc.). Might be good to assess insulin sensitivity just out of curiosity to prevent diabetes from occurring.

Here you have it. My blood test protocol.

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