4-DHEA (also called 4-dehydroepiandrosterone) is the most potent natural androgen on the market. This means – in short – that it is the closest thing to a natural steroid, and perhaps the best way to build massive muscle in a fashion that is legal and safe.
But how do you make the most of it? Is it really that effective without bringing any risks? This guide will attempt to cut through the noise and provide an honest, detailed, appraisal of what is rapidly becoming one of the most popular supplements in all of bodybuilding.
Androgens are of course chemicals that impact the effects of testosterone. They do this by binding to androgen receptors located throughout the body and then stimulating them to increase anabolism.
Anabolism in biological terms means a biological state where the body increases protein synthesis and tissue repair, while at the same time reducing the rate of muscle catabolism. Anabolism is the opposite of catabolism, meaning that you are relaxed (often in a post-prandial state, or post-feeding state) and that there is no immediate danger. Anabolism is also triggered by an increase in the availability of protein and calories.
When you use an anabolic product, you will build more muscle more quickly, while also burning more fat. By spending more time being anabolic, you will be able to repair your tissue, build your muscle, and generally come back to the gym next time feeling stronger and more energetic.
Mechanism of Action
4-DHEA works by being converted in the body into 4-androstenediol. This is the truly anabolic substance that then has the above-mentioned effects on muscle building and recovery. This also means that you are not consuming an exogenous hormone or synthetic hormone, as with a steroid. In turn, this can prevent many of the usual side effects associated with the product.
It also means that 4-DHEA can help to increase muscle mass in a similar way to a testosterone injection, along with improving recovery, raising motivation and drive, and even boosting strength directly.
DHEA for Calm Focus
What’s more, is that DHEA also has a powerful calming effect on the brain. In one study, researchers looked at the top-performing athletes and military personnel, finding that they were the ones who were able to remain much calmer during stressful situations and to then recover more rapidly in the aftermath. They showed heightened arousal, while at the same time still being extremely calm and focussed.
Those researchers wanted to know what was different about these individuals, and so they looked at their brains. What they found was that they produced more of two chemicals. One was neuropeptide Y, and the other was DHEA. These substances did not prevent stress (in fact a lot of cortisol and adrenaline was produced) but rather worked by blunting its effects on key areas of the brain!
In other words, using DHEA could also help you to perform like a highly motivated sniper – though a lot more research must first be done.
DHEA vs 4-DHEA
You might also have heard of DHEA. So what is the difference? Technically, DHEA in its “generic form” is also known as 5-DHEA. The difference is that the double bond is located in the 5th position, rather than the 4th.
What does this mean for you? Essentially the conversion is slightly different, with DHEA converting to testosterone directly. That has very similar effects on the androgen receptors, but with the difference being that it is more thermogenic than 4-DHEA. This, in turn, means that DHEA is slightly superior for fat burning, while 4-DHEA is slightly superior for bulking!
However, DHEA also has slightly more pronounced androgenic side effects, due to conversion into estrogen.
Side Effects and Stacking
Using 4-DHEA is generally very safe as this is a mild androgenic substance that is naturally occurring. That said, 4-DHEA can also moderately increase estrogen, which is why it is recommended that you stack it and couple it with some form of hormonal support. A very popular option is the anti-aromatase substance called laxogenin. It works extremely well with a whole host of prohormones and other substances that further elevate testosterone as well. Due to its unique mechanism of action, it can be added to stacks with these products and provide additional benefits.
4-DHEA is THE product to use if you want a naturally occurring androgenic compound. This makes it a very useful addition to any stack, especially if that stack is designed to get the most from this ingredient.
The overall effect is harder, ripped muscle, and more energy and determination. This effect is highly noticeable and is comparable to the banned 4-AD.
This should tell you something: 4-DHEA is serious. And when used correctly, it is the best way to safely add lots of muscle.