Thyroid manipulation is one of the most difficult concepts for a bodybuilder to understand and master. Do it right and you’ll get bigger and leaner – but do it wrong and you’ll burn muscle and end up weaker than when you started. There are many different ways to alter the function of your thyroid, from diet, to prescription medications, to exercise, and even dietary supplements.
Everyone “sort of” knows what the thyroid gland is, but do you know what purpose it serves?
The thyroid gland is very sensitive gland that regulates many processes within the body. This gland is located at the top part of the neck, and produces several hormones that are crucial in how a person looks and feels. Among these hormones is a substance called thyroxine or tetra-iodothyronine, also called T-4. The action of T-4 is indirect, because in part it will be transformed into triiodothyronine, or T-3, the more physiologically active of the two – but not all of the T-4 is immediately converted to T-3 and will act as a reserve for future use. This is highly intuitive, as the lifetime of T-4 is much longer than the faster degrading T-3.
Only about 20% of T-3 comes directly from the thyroid itself. The rest comes from the conversion of T-4. This conversion takes place in tissues such as the liver, heart, muscles, and central nervous system. Thyroid hormones are the determining factor for basal metabolism – and this is important for bodybuilders. The more thyroid hormones that are present and active, the more calories the body will use, particularly in the form of heat. When higher levels of thyroid hormones are present there will be an elevation in body temperature. This rise in temperature is slight but it can be monitored by taking ones temperature first thing in the morning.
Thyroid hormones can be both anabolic and catabolic.
A small level of the hormone T-3 is anabolic, but if levels are too high then catabolism can overtake anabolism. Thyroid hormones help to reduce fat by increasing beta receptors in the fat and muscle cells, but if these receptors are blocked, the extra caloric expenditure due to elevated T-3 will cause muscle tissue to be broken down and used as fuel – catabolism.
Many pre-competition dieters (bodybuilding) make the mistake of dosing thyroid medications too high, or they run their cycle too long. This mistake will often cause muscle wasting, and the dieter will end up with much less muscle mass than he intended to have on contest day. Thyroid medications, Cynomel (aka Cytomel) in particular, have been used for decades by bodybuilders during this type of cutting cycle. There’s never been a question regarding the ability of T-3 to dramatically shed fat, but there has been much debate on whether or not T-3 has a place in adding muscle.
Some people believe this compound is anabolic, and some believe it is catabolic. Both sides are right and wrong. Cynomel (T-3) has a half life of about 60 hours. This means that a 25mcg (if dosed correctly) 12.5mcg available after 2 1/2 days. This can result in blood levels getting very high very fast. After 4-8 weights of using this drug in pyramid fashion (how it is commonly used), a person will be in a catabolic state rather quickly; muscle wasting at its finest. Knowing that T-3 has a half life of 2 1/2 days, wouldn’t it be wise to dose accordingly? Absolutely! My personal experiences in the past have shown me that T-3 can be anabolic when taken 50mcg every 3 days.
This dosing works well due to the half life of the drug, and blood levels will stay low enough to stay in an anabolic state. Not only will T-3 increase how the body uses carbs and fats, it will also increase protein synthesis. Think of every gram of protein you ingest being used much more efficiently and being used to pack on more muscle mass. That is what T-3 can do for you if dosed correctly. Just like every other synthetic drug available, there is a downside to using Cynomel (T-3). From what you have read so far, you probably think that T-3 is a great drug. What it can do for a persons physique is wonderful, and I have seen it first hand. I have also seen disasters come contest day when a person has lost a good amount of muscle. One problem with thyroid medications is the fact that they are prescription drugs, and a doctor will not prescribe these drugs to anyone that does not have a severe thyroid problem.
I often hear people say that they think they have a thyroid condition and that is the cause of being overweight. Thyroid conditions are less common than people think, and the weight gain is general diet and lack of activity related. So walking into your doctor to get a script for T-3 or T-4 is not likely to happen. The only other option would be buying it illegally. I would strongly advise against this option. Another problem I have dealt with in the past with T-3 is dosing problems. Cynomel comes in 25mcg tablets. Rarely will you find a tablet that is dosed correctly. Often time the tablet will contain much more or much less than the 25mcg it advertises.
When a compound is dosed this low, there is much more room for error with dosing, even with large pharmaceutical manufacturers. Ceasing the use of thyroid meds hold it’s own set of problems. The thyroid gland is very sensitive, and when you flood the body with synthetic thyroid hormones, the bodies own production will shut down, and there is a period of time where thyroid levels will be extremely low while the thyroid gland recovers. During this time the metabolism slows dramatically and bodyfat will be packed on. Not good!
Some intelligent bodybuilders that have taken the time to keep up with the newest discoveries in sports nutrition have come to the realization that they can avoid this downtime that the thyroid usually takes to recover by supplementing with L-Tyrosine, Iodine, Kelp, Selenium, and 3,5 Diiodo-L-Thyronine. These supplements when used in combination greatly increase natural thyroid production. Some even more intelligent bodybuilders have thrown T-3 out the window and refuse to use at all anymore. They have realized that they can increase natural thyroid function year round, stay in a very anabolic state while avoiding catabolism altogether by using the supplements above in conjunction with one another.
The bodybuilders that have replaced thyroid medications with these supplements are left with leaner physiques without the muscle wasting effects, there are no worries with legal issues that can accompany using a drug that requires a prescription, and they are left with a healthier functioning thyroid. If these are some of the characteristics that you would be pleased with, I would definitely give Thyrovex a shot.