Testosterone Cypionate: A very popular ester of this powerful hormone
Testosterone Cypionate is naturally occurring in both the male and female body, testosterone is a substance which is essential to wellbeing and proper functioning.
However, in the 1930s, a testosterone steroid was developed which enabled it to be prescribed to individuals who were low in testosterone. This product was pure testosterone, not esterified, and as such would take effect as soon as it was administered, dissipating within the body very quickly.
Although this drug, known as testosterone suspension, was very useful the fast-acting nature made it difficult and expensive to use.
Researchers therefore soon came up with a newer version, a testosterone with a small ester attached: testosterone propionate. This was widely available by 1937 and provided all the benefits of testosterone suspension but with a more measured and slower release.
Because the ester on the testosterone propionate was small, the half-life was still relatively short and so researchers soon came up with two further versions, testosterone enanthate and testosterone cypionate.
The latter, testosterone cypionate, has the largest ester of all three variants, and therefore the longest half-life and slowest release. It was first created for medicinal use in the 1950s and marketed by Upjohn under the brand name of Depo-Testosterone. To this day, testosterone cypionate is still known by this name.
From the 1960s onwards, testosterone cypionate became the variant of choice for a new generation of bodybuilders, partly because it had a longer action and partly because it was a US drug. Today, while the rest of the world show a preference for testosterone enanthate, the US stands alone in preferring cypionate.
In the 1970s, the FDA clamped down on anabolic steroid use and withdrew the license for many of the therapeutic uses for cypionate, leaving only testosterone replacement therapy as the only permitted use.
Can Testosterone Cypionate be taken on its own?
Testosterone is widely regarded as the original, and best in many ways and has a very potent effect even when taken on its own.
Although testosterone in all its variants has a very strong action in increasing strength and building muscle, it’s not a wonder drug which works without any assistance. The much-lauded benefits of testosterone will only be seen when accompanied by hard exercise and an appropriate regime. In other words, testosterone amplifies the effort being put in, making it more effective. If no exercise is being carried out, testosterone will have a negligible effect.
Because testosterone is an aromatizing drug, there is the potential for estrogenic effects to occur. For this reason, when being taken alone, an aromatase inhibitor is often added to prevent undesirable side effects.
Test cypionate has a large, slow acting ester so the effects will not typically be seen until 4-6 weeks into a cycle. For this reason, it is often stacked with a faster acting drug which will help to kickstart results before the cypionate begins to have an effect.
There’s arguably no other single drug which is better for building mass than testosterone, and the versatility of cypionate allows it to be stacked with a number of other steroids for maximum effect.
Clomid and Nolvadex are sometimes required to be added to the stack to reduce the incidence of estrogenic effects.
How it is administered
Testosterone cypionate is available solely in injectable form and is administered intramuscularly to avoid shocking the bloodstream with a sudden influx of the drug.
Although the ester is long lasting, most users prefer to administer more frequent lower doses than a larger dose just once a week. It is thought that this is easier for the body to process and reduces the likelihood of side effects occurring.
The exact dosage of testosterone cypionate depends on the reason for the use.
When added to a stack to counteract the testosterone-lowering effects of other anabolic steroids, a dose in the region of 200mg per week is typically sufficient.
When used primarily for its own performance enhancing qualities, the dosage is much higher, ranging from 400mg to 1000mg per week. The typical range for use is around 600mg as this appears to provide optimal effects while minimizing the side effects.
Because testosterone cypionate side effects are usually easily controlled, a much longer cycle can be used, with up to 16 weeks not unusual.
The half-life of testosterone cypionate is longer than the other two variants as it has the largest ester attached. This means the body takes more time to break it down and the drug is steadily released into the bloodstream during this period.
The half-life of testosterone cypionate is roughly 12 days, slightly longer than enanthate but significantly longer than both propionate and testosterone suspension. It will however remain detectable within the body for much longer, up to three months. This could be a consideration for athletes supplementing with testosterone injections prior to competitions.
Testosterone has been around since the 1930s, and cypionate since the 1950s and there’s a very good reason for their long-lasting appeal: they provide lots of benefits with minimal side effects.
Adding bulk and packing on muscle is the obvious advantage of testosterone, and these gains made can often be well sustained even after a cycle has finished. There’s a corresponding increase in strength too but this is partially down to the fact that testosterone allows individuals to train longer and harder, while also aiding a speedier recovery.
The boost in the red blood cell volume mean that there’s a more efficient delivery of oxygen to the body and collagen also receives a boost, giving protection to the bones and joints.
Testosterone is the oldest anabolic steroid and considered to be the gold standard for all others which followed. Although cypionate wasn’t developed until a couple of decades later, it shares many of the same qualities with the original testosterone variant. The only difference is the ester which controls the speed of release and clearance from the body.
Testosterone is a strongly androgenic drug, converting to dihydrotestosterone in the body via the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. Once converted, it has a very powerful androgenic effect and can cause some or all of the following:
• Oily skin
• Excess growth of bodily hair
• Deepening of the voice
• Hair loss (see below section)
Not everyone will suffer androgenic effects particularly as testosterone is one of the best tolerated anabolic steroids. However, those who are sensitive could suffer any or all of the above.
Testosterone cypionate is an aromatizing drug and if taken with another aromatizing steroid in a stack, very potent estrogenic side effects can ensue.
Fluid retention, bloating and gynecomastia can all result from excess estrogen but can be resolved by lowering the dosage or by adding either an aromatase inhibitor or a SERM. An AI is generally more effective but can cause unwanted side effects of its own (see Cardiovascular) so a SERM should be the first line of supplement tried.
When taken on its own, testosterone cypionate has been shown to have an adverse effect on cholesterol levels but to a relatively minor degree.
The problem arises when an aromatase inhibitor is taken alongside the testosterone, a common requirement in order to control the estrogenic effects. This can suppress HDL cholesterol levels in the body up to 15%.
Where possible, AIs should not be taken with testosterone unless it is absolutely necessary. When taken together cholesterol levels should be carefully monitored and a low-fat diet strictly followed, along with plenty of cardiovascular exercise.
Choosing whether or not to take an AI can be a tricky decision because the estrogenic effect of water retention can lead to high blood pressure if not controlled. A careful balance therefore needs to be struck between managing the estrogenic effects and monitoring the cholesterol when an AI is being taken.
The androgenic effects within the body mean that any individual who has the gene for male pattern baldness could suffer hair loss while taking this steroid. Hair loss will only occur in individuals who have the gene, regardless of the dose taken. Those who do not have the gene will not suffer hair loss even at very high doses.
Individuals who do have the male pattern baldness gene could find their hair loss is rapidly accelerated by taking testosterone. This can be halted by stopping the drug but this will not reverse the hair loss which has already occurred.
Finasteride can be effective against hair loss while taking testosterone cypionate because it works to block the conversion into dihydrotestosterone. It will not stop all of the androgenic effects completely but will achieve a significant reduction, preventing the scalp from being targeted and resulting in hair loss.
There is no evidence to suggest that testosterone cypionate is toxic to the liver, even at higher doses.
Taking testosterone will cause temporary atrophy of the testicles because it shuts down natural production of the hormone. Once the cycle is finished and PCT is commenced, natural production of testosterone will slowly increase back to normal levels and any atrophy in the testicles will resolve.
Just like other forms of testosterone, cypionate is extremely well tolerated and any side effects can normally be brought under control. However, for some individuals the steroid should not be taken without first seeking advice from a physician. Anyone with a history of any of the following should refrain from using cypionate or any other form of testosterone unless explicitly advised they are safe to do so:
• Lung or respiratory conditions
• Thrombosis or clotting disorders
• Increased red blood cell volume
• Cardiac disease including heart attack
• Disease of the kidneys
• Prostate tumors
• Breast cancer
• Raised cholesterol
Women who are either pregnant or breastfeeding should also avoid taking testosterone as the safety has not been proven.
Is Testosterone Cypionate best suited to cutting, bulking or both?
Testosterone is generally viewed as a drug which is extremely versatile and it can be used for a wide variety of situations within bodybuilding, both to support other drugs and for its own performance enhancing qualities.
When used during a bulking cycle, testosterone cypionate can help to provide big gains, although if used without an AI, the muscles may feel soft and puffy. Some individuals prefer this appearance during a bulking phase so it’s a matter of personal preference.
During a cutting phase, test cypionate can provide lean gains as well as protecting muscle mass previously acquired.
Is it safe for women to use?
As a pure testosterone, cypionate is not generally recommended for women because of the strong androgenic action. This leads to virilization effects which can become permanent if use of the drug isn’t ceased. The general consensus is that other anabolic steroids which have a gentler androgenic action are more suitable for use in women such as Primobolan and Anavar.
The other problem is that the half-life of this variant is the longest of all the testosterones, so if following a testosterone cypionate injection side effects are experienced, there is a much longer wait for the drug to clear the body.
Type of PCT needed after the end of the cycle
Use of testosterone in any form will switch off the body’s own natural production so PCT is vital in order to avoid permanent low testosterone production.
PCT should commence 14 days after the final testosterone cypionate injection, assuming no further anabolic steroids are taken. If further large ester anabolic steroids are taken, PCT should commence 14 days after the last injection of the final steroid. If only small ester anabolic steroids are taken following use of testosterone, then PCT should commence three days after the final injection.
A SERM such as Clomid or Nolvadex is integral to PCT and will help to stimulate the pituitary gland into releasing the necessary hormones which signal to the testicles to produce testosterone. For cycles which have totaled more than 700mg of steroids (when added together) HCG should be added to the PCT. This should be taken first before moving onto Clomid or Nolva.
Buying testosterone cypionate is not as easy as it used to be because there are a number of fakes in the market, particularly in the brands which claim to be manufactured in the US.
Those which claim to have been made in the US but don’t display a brand should be avoided as there is a stronger likelihood that the bottle doesn’t contain the real thing. There are a number of worldwide producers of testosterone cypionate so it is possible to buy online fairly easily.
On the black market you can expect to pay $150-200 for a 10cc vial at a concentration of 200mgs per cc.
Sports that use it
Testosterone is used widely in all sports because of its ability to not just increase muscle mass and strength but also to enhance performance and recovery too.
Cypionate is the longest lasting ester of all three variants and while this may make it more convenient to take, it can cause problems by remaining in the body. It’s detectable for up to three months and some sources suggest that it may be even longer as metabolites settle within the internal organs and fat stores too.
Elsewhere in the world testosterone enanthate is the preferred choice but within the US, testosterone cypionate shots are the most popular within the world of sport.
There’s not a sport which hasn’t experienced use of testosterone, from cycling to athletics, but perhaps the communities where it’s used the most are bodybuilding and powerlifting. Buying testosterone cypionate allows individuals to train much harder between competitions and gives them the advantage even after the cycle has finished, with lean mass generally well retained.
Legality of purchase and its usage in the US
The US has chosen to take a particularly strong stance against the use, purchase and supply of all types of anabolic steroids, including testosterone cypionate.
It may only be used for the purposes for which it is prescribed, and not for athletic or recreational use of any kind. For this reason, a physician in the US cannot legally prescribe testosterone cypionate for the purposes of acquiring greater muscle mass in bodybuilding.
It is possible to buy testosterone cypionate online legally from other countries but it is against the law to ship the product into the US. Possession and distribution both attract a hefty fine or a jail sentence, even for personal use.
This harsh stance is not mirrored elsewhere in the world and many countries such as Canada and the UK allow the buying of testosterone for personal use only. In other countries it is even more widely available and can be openly bought without fear of prosecution.