Review: Gaspari’s Halodrol Liquigels; Better Than Halodrol-50?
Note: Halodrol Liquigels has been discontinued.
“Halodrol Liquigels™ is the evolution and natural progression of the old (and no longer produced) Halodrol-50™…”
“Evolution and natural progression?” That’s putting a positive spin on things…
In the beginning, Gaspari begat Halodrol-50, which was marketed as an alternative to the recently banned prohormones. According to the label, Halodrol-50 was “polydehydrogenated polyhydroxylated Halomethetioallocholane” which—beyond being chemical gibberish—was a pretty thin disguise.
Lab tests commissioned by the Washington Post revealed the actual ingredients: it contained oral steroids similar to oral Turinabol (T-bol) and Madol (desoxymethyltestosterone). Thus, Halodrol-50 was discontinued under the glare of media scrutiny and expectation of action by the FDA. The “Liquigel” formula was unveiled shortly afterwards.
The original Halodrol-50 was—by all reports—a pretty effective anabolic. How do the Liquigels compare?
Blend: 480 mg
Arachidonic Acid (40% In A Proprietary Fatty Acid/oil Blend), 6-OXO® (4-Etioallocholen-3, 6, 17-Trione), DHEA, 20-Hydroxy-Ecdysterone, -(-)3, 4-Divanillytetrahydrofuran
Directions: Take 1–3 gelcaps daily. After 6 weeks of continual use, a 30 day cessation period is recommended. Users of this product should consume at least 64 ounces of water per day. Do not exceed suggested daily dose.
Unlike Halodrol-50, there’s no question that the Liquigels are 100% legal. Broken down, the ingredients are:
Arachidonic Acid (AA): AA has been championed as an anabolic supplement by Bill Llewellyn, author of Anabolics 2000–2007 and the founder/CEO of Molecular Nutrition. Not surprisingly, Molecular Nutrition markets X-Factor, a “straight” arachidonic acid supplement.
The rationale is based on the role that a particular metabolite of arachidonic acid—a prostaglandin known as PGF2a—plays in muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Theoretically, supplemental arachidonic acid should increase synthesis of PGF2a, and enhance MPS. And more MPS = more muscle = good.
In addition, some recent, preliminary research in mice indicates that arachidonic acid may also have anti-obesity effects, due to its role in downregulating stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD1)—an enzyme in the liver.
High SCD1 activity has been implicated in the development of metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Suppressing SCD1 activity might help people lose fat, or at least resist fat gains.
Ideally, then, supplemental arachidonic acid could promote lean mass gains while reducing body fat. Whether this actually happens is debatable, however. X-Factor users frequently report good results, nonetheless, a controlled study failed to verify either increased PGF2a or improvements in body composition in test subjects using the supplement.
6-OXO: 6-OXO is a aromatase inhibitor marketed by Ergopharm. It’s a “suicide” inhibitor designed to reduce testosterone conversion to estrogen. Originally developed for post-cycle therapy following a prohormone cycle, 6-OXO is currently marketed as a standalone supplement for raising testosterone.
It was shown to be effective for this purpose in two separate clinical trials: the first was a small, unpublished pilot study conducted by a private company (Human Performance Specialists, Inc.); the second, a formal study performed at Baylor University. The first study was not peer-reviewed, and only selected highlights are published on ErgoPharm’s web site. The Baylor study, however, was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Just as with AA, however, the published study also failed to document significant changes in body composition in subjects taking the supplement.
DHEA: Dehydroepiandosterone (DHEA) is an androgen produced by the adrenal glands. It’s also a prohormone, as it can be converted to androstenedione and testosterone (as well as estrogens) in the the body. Although it’s banned by most competitive sports organizations, studies have demonstrated that it has no significant effects on either serum testosterone or body composition in younger, healthy men.
20-Hydroxy-Ecdysterone (20E): 20E is an ecdysteroid. Ecdysteroids are steroid hormones found in insects and a number of plants. 20E’s reputation as an anabolic is based on (primarily) Eastern Bloc research demonstrating increased protein synthesis in animals.
An extensive review of the available data concluded ecdysteroids like 20E “…seem to display a wide array of pharmacological effects on vertebrates, many of which are beneficial. However, these claims require more thorough validation and clinical testing.” This is an understatement, since Eastern Bloc research is often less than reliable.
-(-)3, 4-Divanillytetrahydrofuran: This compound has been showing up in a lot of bodybuilding supplements these days…it’s the active principle in “Stinging Nettle” (Urtica dioica). In-vitro research has shown it can bind tightly to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), so theoretically, it has the potential to increase bioavailable (free) testosterone. There are no human—or even animal—studies that I know of, however, so at this point, the ability of oral -(-)3, 4-Divanillytetrahydrofuran to enhance free testosterone is purely speculative.
After assessing the above ingredients and past/present user feedback, I seriously doubt the Liquigels are a match for the original Halodrol-50. Nonetheless, it’s probably about as useful as it’s possible for a non-hormonal, legal, and safe “anabolic” to be.
Halodrol Liquigels will almost certainly have some effect on serum testosterone: the recommended dose is sufficient to provide a useful amount of 6-OXO (300–600 mg). Likewise, many users give a “thumbs up” to AA, and the dose should be sufficient here too. It’s also possible that the -(-)3, 4-Divanillytetrahydrofuran could have some effect on free testosterone—”unknown” doesn’t mean “it doesn’t work,” after all…but this, the 20E and the DHEA are “wild cards.” Can’t hurt, I suppose.
In general, Gaspari puts out some pretty decent supplements without overindulging in extreme hype or sensationalism. All things considered, Halodrol Liquigels could be worth experimenting with by those with good control over their training and nutrition who are looking for an additional, relatively risk-free “edge.”