Anastrozole is a powerful Aromatase Inhibitor (AI) commonly known by the trade name Arimidex given to it by AstraZeneca. Often referred to as an anti-estrogen medication, Arimidex was developed as a means to fight breast cancer. Estrogen is one of the primary enemies of a breast cancer patient, and as is evident by the AI classification Arimidex inhibits this hormone. Of course, as is common with such medications, Arimidex has found a welcomed home in performance supplementing circles, as for performance enhancers, estrogen can be quite problematic. As we'll see, this inhibiting estrogen nature is quite beneficial to the performance enhancer, but by its nature it also possesses another very useful trait. Let's take a look and see what we can find.
Arimidex functions as an anti-estrogen by two primary methods; inhibiting the aromatase process thereby preventing the conversion of testosterone into estrogen while simultaneously reducing the total amount of estrogen in the body. Through this process, we can actively reduce the total amount of estrogen in our body by as much as 80%, and that is a whopping amount! While reducing and inhibiting estrogen is this AI's primary function, Arimidex also carries some powerful testosterone related qualities. By its nature, Arimidex actively stimulates the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), two hormones essential to testosterone production. Through this stimulation, total testosterone output can be increased substantially. As it pertains to a breast cancer patient, it's not too hard to see how greatly beneficial this AI can be; reduce estrogen and reduce what the cancer feeds off of. Then we have the performance enhancer, and this encompasses the largest group of Arimidex users. First and foremost, many of the side-effects related to anabolic steroid use are of an estrogenic nature caused by the aromatase process; as Arimidex inhibits this process the problem is solved. Further, as increasing total testosterone will enhance performance we simply have another benefit. This same testosterone increasing benefit can further translate into therapeutic Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT).
Millions upon millions of men worldwide suffer from low testosterone; in the U.S. alone, it is estimated at least 5-million men suffer with another 25-million suffering from total androgen deficiency (Andropause.) As Arimidex can stimulate the release of LH and FSH, both essential to natural testosterone production some TRT plans opt for this AI in lieu of direct testosterone therapy. Arimidex can serve this purpose; some reports estimate this AI can increase natural testosterone production by as much as 50%; however, often this is not enough. If your levels are severely low, a 50% increase while nice may not bring you to a suitable level. Further, in many cases, the production of LH and FSH isn't the problem, and as such direct TRT therapy must be applied; we're referring to the use of exogenous testosterone.
For the performance enhancer, the only true time to supplement with Arimidex is when on a cycle of anabolic steroids. Side-effects of steroid use such as Gynecomastia and water retention are often caused by the aromatase process, and by the AI's direct mode of action, they can be warded off. It is true; the reduction in estrogen will inhibit total growth in a bulking cycle to a degree, but not to the extent many believe. At any rate, this should not be a concern; after all, what's worse, a slight hindrance in growth or a plague of estrogenic effects? To begin, Gyno and water retention are not the only problems that can be caused by excess estrogen; high blood pressure and cholesterol, libido issues, hair-loss and a host of other effects can all be estrogen related. In any case, with supplemental use of Arimidex while on-cycle, these problems can be combated and avoided by most all healthy adult men who supplement. As a side note, Arimidex is also extremely useful during a cutting cycle, as the reduction in estrogen will provide a dryer, harder look.
Some performance enhancers like to use Arimidex for their Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) plan, due to the testosterone increasing benefits; we are not fans. While Arimidex will increase testosterone, the primary purpose of a PCT plan, part of the PCT purpose is to normalize your body, and if you're reducing estrogen so dramatically you are defeating this purpose. For the PCT period, your best bet will always be the use of Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERM's) such as Nolvadex or Clomid. SERM's will increase LH and FSH output, but they will not reduce estrogen, and more importantly will help you normalize.