Femera, commonly known as Letrozole is an anti-estrogen medication more aptly labeled an aromatase inhibitor (AI.) Originally developed in the fight against breast cancer, the purpose of Letro as it is often called is to reduce and inhibit estrogen buildup as excess estrogen has been directly linked to breast cancer; often the medication is given to patients as part of their post-surgery therapy. Even as Letrozole was designed as a breast cancer treating medication, as is very common other uses have been found, most notably in the world of performance enhancement and among many Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) patients. The Letro AI is so popular among so many performance enhancers it may very well indeed be the most common place one would find the medication and for most it will be performance enhancing related questions and concerns that they have with a desire to fulfill. Very similar to the AI Exemestane (Aromasin) and even more so, to a much larger degree Anastrozole (Arimidex) of these three commonly used AI’s Letrozole is undoubtedly and without question the most powerfully potent of all.
Letrozole is not an anabolic steroid in any shape or form but belongs to the aromatase inhibitor family and by its very nature its primary mode of action is just that; inhibiting aromatase but as we’ll see it has secondary qualities. Unlike many commonly used Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERM’s) Letrozole directly affects estrogen by blocking the aromatase enzyme or better yet by blocking or inhibiting the aromatase process. By its nature Letro greatly reduces the amount of estrogen in the body and prohibits estrogen from conversion as is a common occurrence with many anabolic androgenic steroids. Many anabolic steroids convert into estrogen, it is their nature and a prime example is the powerful anabolic androgen Testosterone. It is this estrogen conversion that can lead to many unwanted side-effects as we will see shortly. How powerful is Letrozole; well it can reduce the total amount of estrogen in your body by as much as 98%, again, making it the most powerful AI of the common three with only the Cytadren medication being more powerful but not necessarily more advantageous.
By their nature Ai’s also carry with them other properties as they actively increase natural testosterone production by way of stimulating both the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) but it is LH that carries with it the brunt of the advantage. No, it will not increase testosterone production to the levels one might increase them to through injectable use but there are benefits to stimulating natural production via Letro and we will find they are more beneficial in-terms of both recovery and the HRT or Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) process.
The Benefits of Letrozole:
Letrozole carries with it many benefits that may aid the individual in HRT, TRT, a Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) plan, as well as during the actual cycle process itself in the name of side-effect prevention. Further, Letro also brings about another benefit revolving around physique conditioning and this can be and is often very important to many competitive bodybuilders during their contest prep time.
For the HRT or TRT patient if he is prescribed Letrozole it will more than likely be because he suffers from low Testosterone. Low testosterone can affect the individual in a host of negative ways such as increasing body fat, a loss of muscle mass and strength, loss of libido and sexual function, depression, lack of energy and a host of other issues. As Letrozole actively stimulates testosterone production this medication is sometimes used for that very purpose but more times than not, while it will increase production, for the man who truly suffers from low testosterone it will not be enough and some form of exogenous testosterone must be applied.
When we look at the PCT process it is similar to the individual who is supplementing with Letrozole for HRT; the purpose of a PCT is to stimulate natural testosterone production. When we supplementwith anabolic androgenic steroids our natural production is suppressed; the total duration of the cycle, the compounds used and the total dose will affect this to a degree, some steroids suppress more than others but suppression will exist regardless to some level. For this reason one could supplement with Letro during his PCT to stimulate the release of LH thereby starting natural testosterone production yet again; however, this is not a practice we are particularly fond of and for good reason. The primary purpose of a PCT plan is to stimulate natural testosterone production but it is not the only purpose; the total purpose is to return the body back to normal and this is difficult to do with Letro. Letrozole greatly reduces estrogen in the body and while this is a hormone that can cause unwanted side-effects for the anabolic steroid user it is also a hormone we need for proper bodily function. We cannot “normalize” when our estrogen is so readily suppressed and it is for this reason we will always prefer SERM’s for PCT needs over any AI, including Letrozole.
Without question Letrozole’s primary beneficial role is during the actual anabolic steroid cycle itself. Recall from above, many anabolic steroids convert into estrogen and it is by this conversion that causes a buildup of estrogen in the body that some of the most common and well-known anabolic steroid side-effects exist. The conversion of estrogen is caused by the aromatase enzyme or aromatase process and when this occurs such side-effects as Gynecomastia (male breast enlargement) excess water retention or bloat, high blood pressure and cholesterol issues may occur. By supplementing with Letro while on cycle we can prevent these problems from occurring or at least greatly aid in the process; cholesterol and blood pressure will also be largely determined by your overall lifestyle. However, unless the individual is ultra-sensitive to Gynecomastia if he supplements with Letrozole the odds of Gyno as it is commonly known occurring is very, very slim. Further, the same can be said of water retention; if an individual is bloated and watery while on cycle and using Letrozole he’s probably simply eating too much and estrogen buildup is not the problem. To give you an idea of how powerful Letro is as a side-effect preventer, if an individual is supplementing with anabolic steroids and Gynecomastia starts to flare up, if the individual starts supplementing with Letrozole when the symptoms appear, in most cases the flare up will be reversed and no Gyno will exist. No, it will not help the ultra-sensitive but most it will. Very few medications can boast such a claim; while many supplement with Nolvadex, a very good SERM for Gyno prevention, if symptoms show all the Nolvadex in the world won’t help you.
The next and last true benefit is directly linked to the appearance of the physique and for most this encompasses the world of competitive bodybuilding. As Letrozole actively reduces the total estrogen in the body many bodybuilders will supplement with Letro during a contest prep diet, for the less estrogen you have the harder the physique will be; assuming you are lean. Most bodybuilders who follow this method will generally run a steady every other day dose for several weeks before the show and in many cases increase it to daily the final 7-14 days to provide this effect. Without question contest preparation with Letrozole will aid greatly in providing a harder and dryer physique; two important components of many in competitive bodybuilding.
The Side-Effects of Letrozole:
All medications of all types carry with them a potential for negative side-effects and Letrozole makes no exception; however, in general this is a fairly well-tolerated medication in most. The most common side-effect to Letro use is decreased libido or sex drive; as estrogen is suppressed and as estrogen is a needed component for a healthy sex drive, too little can cause a problem. Even so, for the performance enhancer, if he has enough testosterone in his system and does not abuse the AI he will in all likelihood be absolutely fine in this regard; it is HRT patients who use Letro or performance enhancers that don’t supplement with any or enough testosterone that may find this to be a problem.
Other possible side-effects may include a weakened immune system; estrogen is essential to a strong immune system and low levels for far extended periods of time can cause a problem. For this reason we must be responsible with our Letrozole use and only supplement when necessary and advised. It has also been greatly debated on whether or not Letro can have a negative effect on HDL and LDL cholesterol and many suspect it may in high doses and especially periods of far extended use; however, such evidence is inconclusive regarding the extent but with extended use some effect is assured to occur.
Letro & SERM’s:
It is a constant non-stop argument in many performance enhancing circles and the argument while simple is also present with simple answers. The argument presents two questions, which is better for on-cycle side-effect prevention and which is better for PCT needs, AI’s such as Letrozole or the most common SERM such as Nolvadex? As on-cycle side-effects are often brought on by a buildup of estrogen you would think this answer would be clear and it is but many fail to see it; AI’s such as Letro are far more effective at side-effect prevention as they actually reduce estrogen; no SERM on earth, not even Nolvadex has this ability.
As for PCT, we discussed in detail above our thoughts on Letrozole PCT use; yes, it will increase natural testosterone production by way of stimulating the release of LH but at the same time keep estrogen dramatically suppressed. If you are to normalize and this is and should be one of the primary goals, such estrogen suppression is not advised. Instead choose SERM’s such as Nolvadex or Clomid for your PCT needs as they will stimulate natural testosterone production but keep estrogen suppression from being a problem.
Letrozole Cycles & Doses:
As we recommend Letrozole primarily as an on-cycle side-effect preventer most will find a dosing of 0.5-1mg every other day to be perfect and generally all the Letrozole they need to get the job done. If you are ultra-sensitive to side-effects or preparing for a bodybuilding contest 1mg every day may be in your future but this is not advised for far extended periods of time; most competitive bodybuilders will however find such dosing welcomed for approximately 10 days before a contest.
For the individual who has a Gynecomastia flare up, in order to combat this problem, as discussed Letro may be able to reverse the symptoms if it is caught early enough. In this case a dosing of 2.5mg per day for approximately 2-3 weeks may be warranted; however, once the symptoms clear you will need to cut back to a more standard 1mg per day dose in order to remain in healthy working function. It is important to note, if you take a large dose of Letrozole to combat early Gynecomastia and it does not clear the symptoms in a few weeks you’re either very sensitive to Gyno or the problem has set in for too long. If this is the case there isn’t a lot you can do, as Gyno will not go away on its own. For this individual we are afraid his only hope will to have the Gynecomastia surgically removed.