This Is Everything You Need to Know About Trenbolone

trenbolone results

In 1980, a French pharmaceutical company released a form of trenbolone for humans called Parabolan. The drug was intended for people suffering from muscle wasting, AIDs, or osteoporosis, but was eventually pulled from the market in 1997 due to the side effects (which you’ll learn about in a moment).

Since then, all of the trenbolone produced for humans has been made illegally in underground labs around the world.

Chemically, trenbolone is a modified form of another well-known anabolic steroid: nandrolone. Also known as Durabolin or Deca-Durabolin, nandrolone has similar effects in the body as testosterone with slightly milder side effects, making it one of the most popular steroids in the world.

In fact, one of the most popular steroid combinations or “stacks” in the world is testosterone and nandrolone.

We don’t need to get into the exact structure of trenbolone, but the short story is that by fiddling with the structure of nandrolone, scientists created a steroid that’s three times more powerful than testosterone—trenbolone.

Trenbolone also produces different side effects than testosterone, which is the primary reason bodybuilders have taken to it so enthusiastically. You’ll learn more about why in a minute.

You’ll often see the names trenbolone acetate, trenbolone enanthate, and trenbolone hexahydrobenzylcarbonate (aka trenbolone hexa) thrown around instead of just trenbolone.

This is because trenbolone is always combined with other chemicals to reduce the speed at which it’s absorbed into the blood.

If pure trenbolone is injected into an animal or person, it’s absorbed from the blood too quickly to exert its full muscle-building effects. To slow the absorption of trenbolone, scientists combine it with other chemicals such as acetic acid, which slows its release and prolongs its effects.

Why Do People Take Trenbolone?

The primary reasons people take trenbolone are the same reasons people take steroids at all:

To . . .

The short answer is that trenbolone builds muscle staggeringly fast—even faster than testosterone. It also increases fat burning and strength even more than regular testosterone.

If you know much about steroids, though, you know that testosterone helps with all of these things, too.

Aside from being more effective than testosterone, why do people take trenbolone? Why not just take more testosterone or only take trenbolone?

Well, to answer this question, you first have to understand how steroids work.

How Steroids Work

Most of the cells in your body have specialized proteins on their surfaces called androgen receptors. You can think of these proteins as mailboxes, which only receive messages from androgenic hormones like testosterone’s circulating in the blood. (Androgenic means a substance that promotes male characteristics, such as muscle and hair growth, aggression, etc.).

You can think of androgenic hormones like testosterone as incoming mail that’s circulated throughout the body, giving cells instructions on how to behave.

When a testosterone molecule attaches to an androgen receptor, its messages are transported to the nucleus of the cell, which alters the cell’s physiology.

As you probably know, the main message that testosterone sends to cells is “build muscle,” and that’s exactly what your body does when you artificially raise your testosterone levels with steroids.

What you may not know, though, is that all anabolic steroids are derivatives of testosterone, and work in more or less the same way.

That is, all of them attach to the androgen receptors on cells, which stimulates muscle growth.

So, what makes different steroids, well, different?

Two things:

Side effects and potency.

First, some steroids produce different side effects than others, and taking different kinds of steroids allows people to keep overall side effects in check while taking a higher total dose of steroids.

Second, some steroids are simply more powerful than others, and some work synergistically to produce more muscle growth than either steroid could when taken by itself.

Now, at this point you may be wondering . . . if the testosterone produced by your body works the same way as the testosterone bodybuilders inject, can’t you just increase muscle growth by boosting your testosterone levels naturally?

Unfortunately, no.

While you can increase your testosterone levels naturally, so long as your testosterone levels remain in the normal physiological range, you aren’t going to see a significant increase in muscle growth. That is, if you increase your testosterone levels but they remain well within the normal range, you’re unlikely to notice any muscle-building benefits.

To significantly increase muscle growth, you have to increase testosterone levels far beyond what your body could ever produce naturally.

Of course, the only way to do this is to take steroids like testosterone.

What kind of results are we talking about?

A good example of the muscle-building effects of testosterone comes from a study conducted by scientists at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. The researchers split 43 resistance-trained men ranging from 19 to 40 years of age into four groups:

  1. Group one consumed a placebo and didn’t lift weights.

  2. Group two was injected with 600 mg of testosterone and didn’t lift weights.

  3. Group three consumed a placebo and lifted weights.

  4. Group four was injected with 600 mg of testosterone and lifted weights.

Everyone followed this protocol for 10 weeks, and before and after the study, the researchers measured the participant’s weight, strength, and body composition.

And the results illustrate why people take steroids.

As expected, the guys who didn’t lift weights or take steroids didn’t gain any muscle to speak of and added a measly 7 pounds to their squat and nothing to their bench press.

The natty lifters in group three fared significantly better and gained about 4.5 pounds of muscle and added about 77 pounds to their squat and bench press, which is fantastic for 10 weeks of training.

They could’ve skipped all the workouts, though, and just injected testosterone instead.

On average, the men in group two who took steroids and sat on their butts for 10 weeks gained 7 pounds of muscle and added 70 pounds to their squat and bench press.

It gets better, too.

The people in group four who took steroids and lifted weights gained a mind-boggling 13.5 pounds of muscle. In 10 freaking weeks.

Yes, that’s 1.3 pounds of muscle per week and about half the amount a guy with above-average genetics could expect in his first year of weightlifting.

The steroided lifters also increased their squat and bench press by a whopping 132 pounds and gained eight times more size in their triceps and twice as much size in their quads as the natty lifters.

Another study by the same scientists found that people taking 600 mg of testosterone for 20 weeks gained 17 pounds of muscle without training.

Remember—that’s just from taking a relatively small dose of testosterone.

What would happen if the lifters took twice as much testosterone?

Would they gain twice as much muscle?

No, actually. Not only would the results be less impressive, they’d also start to run into more severe side effects.

Why Bodybuilders Take Trenbolone

The reasons bodybuilders take trenbolone is because simply taking more testosterone causes two problems:

  1. The gains from testosterone begin to level off after a relatively short period of time.

  2. The side effects of testosterone become increasingly severe the more you take.

When you first start taking testosterone, you gain muscle exceptionally fast for the first 8 to 12 weeks. After this initial honeymoon period, there’s a rapid drop off in gains which can only be surmounted by taking a larger dose.

The problem with taking more testosterone, though, is that you get smaller and smaller increases in muscle mass for every additional increase in dosage.

For example, let’s say you gained 14 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks from taking 600 mg of testosterone, like the people in the aforementioned study did. If you were to double your dose to 1,200 mg per week—a more typical dose used in professional bodybuilding—you might only gain another 10 pounds of muscle over the next 10 weeks.

Despite taking twice the dose, you only gained ⅔ as much muscle as you did during the previous 10 weeks.

Scientists aren’t entirely sure why this occurs, but it’s most likely due to the fact that the body becomes resistant to the effects of testosterone over time.

The second problem that occurs when someone takes more testosterone is that side effects begin to rear their head in force.

The main side effects of taking testosterone are . . .

  1. A drop in natural testosterone levels and decreased testicle size

  2. An increase in estrogen levels

  3. An increased risk of acne, baldness, and excess hair growth on the face and body

The first problem is baked into all steroids.

No matter what kind of steroid you take or how you take it, your natural testosterone levels will decrease and your testicles will shrink. Period.

This occurs because your body has a complex system in place for keeping testosterone levels within a certain range.

When you artificially raise your testosterone levels by taking steroids, your body lowers your natural testosterone levels in an attempt to bring them back to normal.

Testosterone is primarily produced in the testes, and so one of the main ways the body reduces testosterone production is by reducing testicle size.

Some people think they can short-circuit this problem by only taking a small dose of testosterone—just enough to assist in building muscle but not enough to lower their natural testosterone levels.

In fact, this is the worst possible way to take steroids.

With every milligram of testosterone you inject, your body ratchets down its own testosterone production by roughly the same amount.

On average, a healthy young man will produce 6 to 8 mg of testosterone per day, or around 30 to 40 mg per week. This will generally put his natural circulating testosterone level between 264 to 916 ng of testosterone per dL of blood.

If you were to take a baby dose of 100 mg per week of testosterone, the first thing that would happen is your natural testosterone production would drop to more or less nothing in short order.

So, right away, you’ve already run into one of the worst side effects of taking steroids. And how much muscle will you build as a result of this baby dose of testosterone?

Not much.

Proof of this comes from another study conducted by scientists at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine. The researchers took 61 young men and split them into five groups:

  1. Group one was injected with 25 mg of testosterone per week.

  2. Group one was injected with 50 mg of testosterone per week.

  3. Group one was injected with 125 mg of testosterone per week.

  4. Group one was injected with 300 mg of testosterone per week.

  5. Group one was injected with 600 mg of testosterone per week.

The researchers also gave everyone a drug that would shut down their natural testosterone production, so they could ensure any changes in their physiology were due to the steroids and not changes in their natural testosterone. (Their natural testosterone levels would have dropped rapidly anyway—this simply sped up the process).

The scientists took careful measurements of everyone’s hormone and cholesterol levels and body composition before and after the study.

Here’s how much everyone’s testosterone levels changed:

  1. Group one’s testosterone levels were 253 ng/dL.

  2. Group two’s testosterone levels were 306 ng/dL.

  3. Group three’s testosterone levels were 542 ng/dL.

  4. Group four’s testosterone levels were 1,345ng/dL.

  5. Group five’s testosterone levels were 2,370 ng/dL.

As you can see, group one, two, and three’s testosterone levels were still well within the normal range.

Group one didn’t gain any muscle and gained 8 pounds of fat.

Group two didn’t gain any muscle and gained 6 pounds of fat.

Group three only gained 4 pounds of muscle and didn’t lose any fat.

Pretty lame results, all things considered.

Things got interesting as the dose increased, though.

Group four gained 12 pounds of muscle and lost 2 pounds of fat, and group five gained 17 pounds of muscle and lost 2 pounds of fat.

Groups three, four, and five also lost several pounds of fat, whereas groups one and two gained several pounds.

These people weren’t exercising at all, either.

This study highlights a few critical facts about steroid use:

  1. Steroids are extremely powerful at building muscle and burning fat.

  2. Taking a tiny dose of steroids (25 or 50 mg) not only doesn’t increase muscle mass, it also increased fat gain.

Remember that even a small dose of steroids like 25 mg is still enough to shut down your natural production of testosterone. Despite getting lackluster results, groups one, two, and three all still had to deal with low testosterone for several months after finishing the study.

This is why anyone who’s gained a substantial amount of muscle while taking steroids has taken a relatively large dose—they have to.

The second main side effect people encounter when taking steroids is an increase in estrogen levels.


Well, in men estrogen is produced by an enzyme known as aromatase, which converts a percentage of our testosterone into estrogen through a process known as aromatization.

When testosterone levels are at their normal, healthy level, estrogen levels also remain relatively low in men.

When testosterone levels are 3, 5, or 10 times their normal level, which is what happens when people take steroids, estrogen levels increase proportionally.

This can lead to a long list of feminizing effects such as gynecomastia (“man boobs”), water retention, and fat gain.

To counter these side effects, many athletes take estrogen blockers (which come with their own side effects), but this also presents a problem:

Estrogen plays an important role in muscle growth, too, and reducing it to rock bottom levels reduces the muscle-building benefits of steroids.

Specifically, estrogen . . .

  • Plays an important role in muscle recovery and repair by improving muscles ability to absorb glucose and boosting growth hormone levels.
  • Improves the body’s response to anabolic steroids by increasing the number of androgen receptors on muscle cells.
  • Allows you to train harder by bolstering serotonin levels, which increases your arousal, focus, and ability to push yourself in workouts.

So, how is a roider to reap the benefits of estrogen without growing man boobs and getting bloated and fat?

Trenbolone is part of the answer.

You see, another unique feature of trenbolone is that it isn’t converted into estrogen by the body—at all.

This means you could take as much trenbolone as you wanted and never run into any of the side effects of excess estrogen (though this doesn’t entirely solve the problems of excess estrogen, as you’ll learn in a moment).

Some misguided souls take only trenbolone in order to minimize their estrogen levels, but this also produces the same problems as taking estrogen blockers.

What most informed steroid users do is take testosterone and trenbolone.

The testosterone increases their testosterone levels and maintains their estrogen production (as a portion of the testosterone is converted into estrogen). The trenbolone further increases testosterone levels and muscle growth without causing an overabundance of estrogen in the body.

This is why research shows that animals given trenbolone along with estrogen generally grow muscle faster and end up leaner than animals only given trenbolone.

Of course, bodybuilders don’t inject estrogen, but they do take testosterone which also raises estrogen levels.

Summary: The reason people take trenbolone is that it’s three times more effective for building muscle than testosterone and it doesn’t increase estrogen levels, which allows them to take a higher total dose of steroids with fewer side effects.

What Are the Trenbolone Side Effects?

Trenbolone is a mixed bag.

On the one hand, the main reason many bodybuilders take it is to reduce negative side effects from taking large amounts of testosterone or other estrogen-producing steroids.

On the other hand, trenbolone comes with its own long list of side effects, some of which are just as bad or worse than simply taking more testosterone.

You’ve already learned some of the main side effects of testosterone: a drop in natural testosterone levels and testicle size, excess estrogen production, and an increased risk of acne, baldness, and excess hair growth on the face and body.

Some of these side effects also pertain to trenbolone, but let’s cover these again briefly for the sake of completeness.

First, we’ll go over the most obvious and severe side effects, and then I’ll give you a list of what else you can expect when taking this drug.

A Drop In Natural Testosterone Levels and Testicle Size

Like every other steroid, trenbolone reduces your natural testosterone levels.

Remember—this is an unavoidable, intractable, inherent side effect of all steroids, and something that can’t be reduced, modified, or changed whatsoever.

You’ll occasionally hear people say that this or that particular steroid didn’t reduce their natural testosterone levels, but in most cases they’re either lying, ignorant of their actual testosterone levels, or are taking fake or watered down steroids.

We already skimmed over the physiology at play here, but it’s worth digging deeper to fully understand why this occurs.

To understand why natural testosterone levels always drop when you consume any kind of anabolic steroid, you first have to understand how testosterone is produced in the body.

This is a fairly complex multistep process, but bare with me. Once you understand this, you’ll understand far more about how steroids work than 99% of the people out there.

As you probably know, testosterone is produced in the testes in men (and ovaries in women). When testosterone levels begin to flag, a portion of the brain known as the hypothalamus senses this, and releases a hormone called Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH).

Next, the pituitary gland senses the high levels of GnRH, which causes it to produce two more hormones: luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

Finally, these two hormones trigger specialized cells in the testes known as Leydig cells to produce testosterone. As testosterone levels rise, the hypothalamus produces less GnRH, testosterone production decreases, and the cycle repeats itself.

Assuming someone is otherwise healthy, this system does a remarkably good job of keeping testosterone levels within a relatively narrow range.

Everything changes when you introduce anabolic steroids into the mix, though.

The massive rise in testosterone levels triggers the hypothalamus to more or less shut down GnRH production, which shuts down LH and FSH production, which shuts down testosterone production.

Over the short term (days) natural testosterone production falls to almost nothing, and over the long-term (several months), testicle size shrinks as well.

The only way to increase natural testosterone production and testicle size again is to stop taking steroids.

Even then, it takes around two to four months for natural testosterone levels and testicle size to return to where they were before steroid use.

Keep in mind that all of this applies to steroid-like drugs like SARMs and prohormones, too. These drugs indirectly raise anabolic hormone levels in the body, which has the same effect of reducing natural testosterone levels.

Trenbolone is simply a more powerful derivative of testosterone, and so you’re going to experience all of the same effects.

As trenbolone isn’t approved for human use there are very few studies of its effects in humans, and so we don’t know what effect it might have on natural testosterone levels versus other steroids.

Due to the fact that trenbolone works in more or less the same way as testosterone, chances are that the effects are similar.

Summary: Trenbolone reduces natural testosterone levels in a matter of days and testicle size in a matter of weeks, this effect persists for as long as you continue taking trenbolone, and it doesn’t resolve until several months after stopping trenbolone.

Gynecomastia (Breast Growth)

Bodybuilders have known for quite some time that taking steroids can cause breast growth.

Here’s a particularly obvious example:

trenbolone results

This is generally caused by excessively high estrogen levels, which are caused by the conversion of testosterone into estrogen.

As you know, though, trenbolone isn’t converted into estrogen, so it can’t cause breast growth, right?

Actually, it can.

Trenbolone doesn’t increase estrogen levels, but it does increase levels of another feminizing hormone: progesterone.

Progesterone is a hormone that’s involved in a number of processes in the body, including metabolism, brain function, and the production of other hormones. It’s most well known, though, for being one of the primary hormones involved in menstruation, fertility, and breast growth in women.

And that’s not so good for men trying to get big, lean, and strong.

Unfortunately for trenners, trenbolone mimics the effects of progesterone in the body, so much so that it actually stimulates the effects of progesterone more than progesterone does.

The most obvious side effect of this is gynecomastia, aka man boobs.

Overall, gynecomastia among steroid users isn’t that common, but it happens often enough that many steroid users take a cocktail of other drugs to keep it from happening.

Gynecomastia also seems to be most common among people taking the most steroids, with smaller doses being much safer in this regard.

Another related, disturbing, but thankfully less common side effect of increased progesterone activity is lactation. In men.

Yes, you read that right—although it’s not officially documented anywhere I could find, I’ve had several people who used trenbolone tell me that they lactated while using the drug. You’ll also see this complaint on steroid forums from time to time.

Summary: Trenbolone reduces natural testosterone levels in a matter of days and testicle size in a matter of weeks, this effect persists for as long as you continue taking trenbolone, and it doesn’t resolve until several months after stopping trenbolone.

“Tren Cough”

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