Conclusion: to prevent HPTA shutdown, minimize physical sides, minimize unknown long term effects, and/or minimize mental sides. Use blood work to determine when you are healthy or not to jumping back on cycle.
Users of PEDs, be they SARMs, AAS or combinations of the two, ‘cycle’. That is, long periods of time running a compound is considered to have negative impacts on your health, and so time is spent ‘on’, followed by an equal or at least sizable amount of time spent ‘off’.
I selfishly want to examine the reasons to minimize time spent off cycle, in part to justify my own short sighted desires to stay on cycle for as long as possible. Readers should consider that folks in /r/PEDs and /r/PEDsR are often looking to justify their own choices, and while I always try to be unbiased please consider the source of the content before just blindly following what someone on the internet claims.
Let’s start with listing out the reasons and dive into each one individually. There are 4 that I can think of, (but if you know others please let me know and I will update):
- To prevent HPTA shutdown - essentially, the inability to produce your own T. This is considered a risk as those shutdown would require exogenous testosterone (i.e. TRT) for the rest of their lives. Shutdown may make you infertile, but it can be at least temporarily restored through HGC for when you need to knock up your gal
- To minimize risk from physical side effects, such as high blood pressure, insulin (de)sensitivity, high cholesterol, allow BUN and creatinine to recover and prevent kidney damage - I have catalogued the physical side effects into 5 categories of estrogenic, androgenic, cardiovascular, hepatoxic and testosterone and it’s available here: www.pedsr.com/peds-db.
- To minimize risk from yet unknown long term effects - Minimizing risks from unknown long term effects is the most fungible reason on this list. It’s a hypothetical, betting against the drug developers, and mostly applied to compounds such as GW501516, or Cardarine. The unknown is scary, and the anxiety that comes with running the drug can really fuck with you… ‘Will this give me cancer? What is that ulcer in my mouth? That wasn’t there yesterday… oh fuck, I’m getting cancer aren’t I?’ – this happens to me at least once every Cardarine cycle, even though I’ve already established this, at least to my own satisfaction, to not be a relevant risk at common doses and cycle lengths (<4 weeks in my case). And while I call out GW specifically, it’s equally applicable to SARMs we have very little long term data on. I’m not at all concerned with Ostarine or LGD4033/VK5211, but perhaps a little less comfortable with YK11 or RAD140.
- To minimize unpleasant mental side effects - Often, users will cycle some drugs because of the impact it may have on their lives, but not necessarily the physical health. For example, in my own last cycle of tren, my end of cycle bloods came back great with everything in range (thanks Cardarine!), but Jesus Christ I was tired and I was lashing out about small things - both out of character. Even though my physical health on paper looked great, my mental health was at a point where I just could not have continued from the 10 weeks I was at to the 12 weeks I had planned - and running tren for longer is just out of the question.
Reasons #2, #3, #4 will always be valid concerns, as these deal with physical or mental side effects that are tied to the use of certain compounds. There’s not a lot we can do to prevent the cycling of compounds that may cause physical, mental, or unknown effects. However, preventing HPTA shutdown is one I’m very interested in exploring further – at what point are you shutdown? How can you optimize your time on versus time off to minimize this risk?
Minimizing HPTA Shutdown Risk
Time on equals time off. We've heard this from the old timers on boards since forever. But why?
Not surprisingly, the only data we have on HPTA shutdown involved long term use of AAS. There are solutions in these cases – short term in the case of HCG and long term complete restoration thanks to /u/MezDez guide to Triptorelin
So in this area at least we’re flying blind. We simply do not know the right amount of time needed. Some people do less time off cycle and may seem to be fine but long term studies on this just does not exist.
How about for users on TRT though? They don't need to worry about being shutdown - they already are. Can they run cycles without having to cycle off certain compounds? Can they run LGD4033, as an example, indefinitely? My conclusion to that is that at some point the user will seek to minimize perceived risks from long term use, as spelled out above in #3. Or maybe they won't and so long as their blood work is OK I don't see a whole lot wrong with it.
With AAS it's a different story. TRT users cannot escape the side effects, even though they get to disregard suppression. Be it hepatoxicity, high blood pressure, left ventricular hypertrophy, or the inability to sleep, everyone eventually has to settle the bill at the end of the night. That said, I recommend using blood work as your guide - cycle for a reasonable amount of time, come off everything except TRT, and get bloods before going back on cycle. If everything looks good, you're golden. If it doesn't, take more time off.
All in all, the old sayings have merit, though I can't prove it one way or another. Regular bloodwork should be your guide - don't cycle indefinitely, and if everything is in range that's your signal that your body is ready to cycle once more.