Nolvadex is History/Outdated! Please read...


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Nolvadex is History/Outdated? Please read...

Should Nolvadex be Avoided at All Cost?
by Dharkam

Nolvadex is the trade name of a drug containing a molecule called Tamoxifen. Its primary use by male bodybuilders is to prevent gynecomastia (the growth of the breast tissue). It was introduced by steroid guru Dan Duchaine 25 years ago. After a quarter of century, it is time for an update about its use. What I am going to demonstrate is it is high time to eliminate Nolvadex from the bodybuilder's drug stacks.

A Little Bit of History

Back in the late 70's, more and more bodybuilders developed strange lumps around their mammary glands. At first, no one really took notice but more and more competitors grew a gynecomastia. In 1981, the M Olympia had a pretty serious gyno. This was shortly after the introduction of this new drug by Dan Duchaine. At the time, it was a pretty good idea as no one else could came up with a solution in order to prevent this growing problem. Nolvadex was popularised by Dan's first Underground Steroid Handbook. Dan even states that "this drug has a lot of potential but hasn't been used enough yet to find it". After more than 25 years of intensive usage, it is my opinion that it is time to forget about Nolvadex. Why? First, because newer and more effective drugs have been developed. Second, because it seems obvious that Nolvadex impairs muscle growth.

Nolvadex and Muscle Growth

After so many years of usage, it seems pretty clear that if Tamoxifen helps prevent the growth of the nipples, it also weakens the anabolic properties of steroids in a majority of bodybuilders. We are frequently said that this weakening effect is due to the anti-estrogenic action of Nolvadex. According to the fantasy, muscles require both testosterone and estrogens to grow at an optimal rate.

This belief is derived from the results of studies showing that without estrogens, testosterone alone possesses minimal anabolic properties. By increasing the density of androgen receptors, estrogens render the muscles much more sensitive to testosterone (1). This has been demonstrated in a very specific muscle called the levator ani. But this muscle does not reflect what happens in the muscles bodybuilders are interested in (2). Estrogens have even been shown to reduce muscle fiber size (3-4). I think this effect of estrogens is closer to what we experience on bodybuilders.

Another popular explanation of the weakening action of Nolvadex is provided by studies which have shown that it reduced the plasma level of IGF-1. I do not think this is a primary explanation.

What Nolvadex Truly Is

Most lifters assume Nolvadex is a pure estrogen antagonist (which would mean it prevents estrogens from acting on their receptors). As far as bodybuilding is concerned, this assumption is very wrong as Nolvadex is both an estrogen receptor agonist and an antagonist. It all depends upon the tissues. Along with the nipples, on which Nolvadex acts mainly as an antagonist, we are also interested by its behaviour on skeletal muscles, on the liver and on the fat cells.

Nolvadex has been shown to behave as estrogens in skeletal muscles (5). This is a very good thing for every athletes except bodybuilders. You see, estrogens protect muscle cells from the training-induced damages (5-6). It means that one can train more without damaging his muscles. Recovery will also be much faster. But for bodybuilders, the training-induced damages are a key ingredient to trigger growth. Nolvadex will therefore reduce the muscle building effects of resistance training.

As for the impact of Tamoxifen on IGF-1, it simply demonstrates another estrogen-like action of Nolvadex. By rendering the liver less sensitive to growth hormone (probably by reducing the liver density of GH receptors), estrogens and tamoxifen diminish the production of IGF-1. This action of estrogens explains why women produce less IGF-1 than men eventhough the have a higher GH level.

Nolvadex and Muscle Definition

Within 24 to 48 hours, Nolvadex is able to greatly increase muscular definition. As a result, bodybuilders assume Nolvadex will help them reduce their bodyfat level. But this rapid cutting action of Nolvadex is due to an anti-estrogenic action on water retention. Estrogens will make you hold water. Nolvadex will produce the opposite effect. But it says nothing about the impact of Tamoxifen on bodyfat. Depending upon your own production of estrogens and your estrogen receptor density on adipocytes, Nolvadex can act as an antagonist (which would help you lose fat) or an agonist. In that case, Nolvadex will make you fatter especially in the lower body area.

Conclusion: if the introduction of Nolvadex 25 years ago was a brilliant idea, times have changed. Very effective anti-aromatase drugs (such as Letrozole or Anastrazole) have been introduced. They will fight gynecomastia, help prevent the anti-anabolic actions of estrogens, fight fat and water retention. They will also boost natural testosterone production far more effectively than Nolvadex. So, it is up to you to decide whether you wish impair your rate of progression with an outdated drug or move on to the 21st century.


(1) Max SR. Androgen-estrogen synergy in rat levator ani muscle: glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1984 Dec;38(2-3):103-7.

(2) Rance NE, Max SR. Modulation of the cytosolic androgen receptor in striated muscle by sex steroids. Endocrinology. 1984 Sep;115(3):862-6.

(3) Kobori M, Yamamuro T. Effects of gonadectomy and estrogen administration on rat skeletal muscle. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1989 Jun;(243):306-11.

(4) Suzuki S, Yamamuro T. Long-term effects of estrogen on rat skeletal muscle. Exp Neurol. 1985 Feb;87(2):291-9.

(5) Koot RW, Amelink GJ, Blankenstein MA, Bar PR. Tamoxifen and oestrogen both protect the rat muscle against physiological damage. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1991;40(4-6):689-95.

(6) Naessens G, De Slypere JP, Dijs H, Driessens M. Hypogonadism as a cause of recurrent muscle injury in a high level soccer player. A case report. Int J Sports Med. 1995 Aug;16(6):413-7.
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san_juan said:
But this rapid cutting action of Nolvadex is due to an anti-estrogenic action on water retention. Estrogens will make you hold water. Nolvadex will produce the opposite effect.

This error in fact tends to make whatever else he says suspect in my view.
Well I've never heard of anyone taking Nolva for fat loss...and it seems to work great in preventing gyno and for PCT.
Actually none of this is new

What I get out of this is that nolva is fine for short term use against gyno.
You might have to sacrifice a little strength, although I've never noticed a difference, for a day or two.
Thats why I only use it when I need it.
But be careful of the source of your article. I see that the info has been bibliographed. But sometimes people who write such articles are only showing you the parts that they want you to see. It could even be a person hired by a sponsor of a company who sells letrozole or Anastrazole.

I actually don't doubt any of this info. Such claims have been around for a while. A lot of people, including myself, buy nolva because its cheaper than the other products. And since I'm not really prone to gyno, nolva is all I need.
I'm not even sure if I have ever really needed it. Sometimes I get a little scared because I'm pumping myself with so much test that I must need it.

I have never used Dbol or Androl. But if I do I might consider something besides nolva.

Good read. Thanks!
I am well aware of that article, and disagree with some of it.
outlawtas2 said:
Well I've never heard of anyone taking Nolva for fat loss...and it seems to work great in preventing gyno and for PCT.

I imagine it may prevent fat gain by blocking the bodies natural stronger estrogen....but i do not see how it could induce fat loss.
well i dont think it means fat all over. rather fat retention caused by estrogen buildup. such as in the chest area for sufferes of gyno i dont know the exact science behind it but i do rmember lion saying something about letro being used to burn fat as well
Here are the facts regarding Nolvadex, still the best in my opinion.

Tamoxifen is an oral selective estrogen receptor modulator which is used in breast cancer treatment, and is currently the world's largest selling breast cancer treatment. It is used for the treatment of early and advanced breast cancer in pre- and post-menopausal women. It is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the reduction of the incidence of breast cancer in women at high risk of developing the disease. It has been further approved for the reduction of contralateral (in the opposite breast) breast cancer.

Tamoxifen competes with oestrogen in the body for oestrogen receptors in breast tissue so that transcription of oestrogen-responsive genes is inhibited.

Tamoxifen was invented by ICI Pharmaceuticals (now AstraZeneca) and is sold under the brand names Nolvadex, Istubal, and Valodex. It is also available as a generic drug in a number of countries. In the United States and other countries, Tamoxifen was almost always referred to by its generic name even before its patents expired.

A rare condition occasionally treated with tamoxifen is retroperitoneal fibrosis.

Tamoxifen is sometimes used to treat gynecomastia in men. Tamoxifen is also used by bodybuilders in a steroid cycle to try and prevent or reduce drug-induced gynecomastia caused by steroids that are used in the same cycle.

Tamoxifen is also used to treat infertility in women with anovulatory disorders. A dose of 10-40 mg per day is administered in days 3-7 of a woman's cycle.

On April 17, 2006, it was announced that raloxifene is equally effective in reducing the incidence of breast cancer, but caused fewer side effects.

Side effects

Tamoxifen is a selective estrogen receptor modulator. Even though it is an antagonist in breast tissue it acts as partial agonist on the endometrium. Therefore endometrial changes, including cancer, are among tamoxifen's side effects. Source: Golan et al. Principles of Pharmacology page 450. For some women, tamoxifen can cause a rapid increase in triglyceride concentration in the blood.
goiterjoe said:
it's also not nearly as harsh on your cholesterol levels as aromatase inhibitors are.

Are you saying that nolva has a negative effect on cholesterol levels but not as bad as an aromatase inhibitor?
outlawtas2 said:
Well I've never heard of anyone taking Nolva for fat loss...and it seems to work great in preventing gyno and for PCT.

I agree, I'll stick with nolva because it works.