While it’s possible to build muscle and gain strength without the use of supplements or steroids. Performance-enhancing drugs are nonetheless used. According to many studies, including one recent one conducted at Freie Universität in Germany. The compound called Ecdysterone may be an especially effective supplement for enhancing strength and muscle recovery.
Is Ecdysterone a steroid? Are Ecdysterone supplements safe?
Let’s look below at how this compound works, as well as potential benefits and risks of using it.
What Is Ecdysterone?
Ecdysterone is a type of ecdysteroid compound that is naturally found in some plants, including spinach. It’s primarily taken in supplement form to improve muscle gains and athletic performance.
Some research suggests it can help people put on lean muscle mass and increase strength and power more. Within about two to three months. Ecdysterone supplements also go by several other names, including 20-hydroxy-ecdysterone, beta-ecdysterone and alfa-ecdysone.
Is ecdysterone a hormone?
Ecdysterone is a natural type of steroid that is derived from certain plants, including spinach and quinoa. It’s technically a type of phytoecdysteroid. Keep in mind that “steroids” are organic compounds and not the same thing as synthetic anabolic steroids. (variations of the male sex hormone testosterone)
Does ecdysterone increase testosterone? Because it has a similar chemical structure to the hormone testosterone. It may have some hormone-mimicking effects. But, it isn’t the same thing as taking testosterone. And it isn’t considered to be an artificial hormone that is used for hormone replacement therapy.
That said, it’s still believed to be pretty potent and may have similar effects to certain legal and illegal steroids. Including prohibited anabolic agents, such as metandienone. Some even speculate that it’s stronger and more effective than other steroids that are currently banned.
Does ecdysterone work?
Reliable studies focusing on this compound have been limited. Considering it’s only recently become more available to the public as a supplement. Based on available research and testimonials, here’s what we know about its potential benefits:
1. Helps to Improve Muscle Building
Ecdysterone is thought to help increase protein synthesis. Which might make it easier to put on muscle mass with consistent strength-training.
Some research has shown that it has a high “anabolic ratio,” meaning it can contribute to increased:
stimulation of muscle cell formation (anabolism)
protein synthesis from amino acids
red blood cell production
bone remodeling and growth
It’s thought that ecdysterone has anabolic effects that are mediated by its estrogen receptor (ER) binding properties. ERβ signaling is involved in the regulation of skeletal muscle growth and regeneration and also modulated immune function.
Ecdysterone also seems to support muscle protein synthesis by affecting PI3K/Akt signaling pathways.
A 2015 study conducted on rats found that ecdysterone exhibited a strong hypertrophic effect on the fiber size of certain muscles in the rats, even stronger than other steroid compounds, including metandienone, estradienedione and SARM-S-1, when administered at the same dose.
2. Assists in Athletic Performance
Ecdysterone is appealing to athletes and bodybuilders because they not only build muscle. But can also reduce fatigue and ease recovery. At one point, beta-ecdysterone was even nicknamed the “Russian secret” because supposedly it was used by Russian Olympic athletes.
In 2019, researchers from Freie Universität in Berlin examined the performing-enhancing effects of ecdysterone. They found that it did in fact contribute to greater muscle strength and recovery in young men who exercised.
In this particular study, 46 participants were split into two groups for 10 weeks. Those who took different doses of ecdysterone-containing supplements and those who did not. Higher increases in muscle mass were observed in participants who took ecdysterone. as well as significant increases in one-repetition bench press performance.
In fact, ecdysterone was found to be so effective that the researchers recommended adding it to to lists of prohibited steroid compounds among competitive athletes.
3. Helps Support Immune Function
Ecdysteroids seem to have some adaptogenic effects that can help the body cope with stress and pathogens. Some potential ways that this compound may support homeostasis and immune function include by:
Increasing red blood cell number
Improving quality of sleep
Improving tolerance to thermal stress
Supporting cardiac function and circulation
Stimulating bone growth
Having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
Risks and Side Effects
Ecdysterone is considered to be generally safe as long as it’s not overused. In the U.S., it’s currently not banned or treated like a steroid. Yet it is on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2021 Monitoring Program list. Which means WADA intends to gather more information about the substance to determine if it should be prohibited or not.
One of the most reliable studies mentioned above found that taking it in supplement form did not lead to symptoms of liver or kidney toxicity. It also seems to lead to fewer side effects compared to other steroid drugs. Such as changes in appetite, mood, libido, hair growth and sleep.
To avoid potential side effects, or to simply avoid wasting your money. Make sure to buy a high-quality ecdysterone supplement from a reputable seller.
In studies, low dosages between 12 milligrams per day and 45 milligrams per day have been taken safely for about 10 weeks. This amount has been shown to be enough to promote gains in muscle mass when coupled with consistent strength-training.
But, our golden rule is 500 mg after your workout. For best results combine with 5g creatine monohydrate and whey protein.