Ecdysterone is a natural molecule found in plants. As a natural steroid, ecdysterone can assist build lean body mass. The supplementation of ecdysterone has become so popular that some agencies would like it banned.
The varieties of ecdysterone, including in supplement form, have not been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The WADA is not allowed to test for it. Currently, ecdysterone is not on the International Standard Prohibited List of 2022.
The purpose of this review is not only to discuss the potential benefits of taking ecdysterone but also to provide reasons why you should avoid supplements that are available online promising and promoting rapid weight gain without scientific backup.
The article will then focus on the history, clinical use, pharmacology, mechanisms of action, and side effects of ecdysterone and the best way to effectively use an ecdysterone supplement.
A Short History of Ecdysterone
In 1958, a group of natural products chemists from Oklahoma City University was exploring the effects of insect hormones on animal tissue cultures.
The first semi-synthetic “ecdysteroids” were developed by isolating compounds from those naturally occurring in the milkweed plant, followed by other isolation procedures that lead to the synthesis of 20-Hydroxyecdysone (Ecdy) as well as Iso Ecdysterone, Dienedione, and other steroidal substances called juvenoids.
Since then, scientists have discovered over 200 different types of ecdysteroids.
Ecdysterone and Weight Gain
Ecdysterone is considered a dietary supplement and therefore legal to use without government intervention, though it has been recommended for banning for professional sport athletes by some researchers. Based on many studies and reviews, the general consensus from many popular publications is that the benefits of taking ecdysterone supplements outweigh any adverse side effects.
Types of Supplements Available
There are four types of supplements containing Ecdy found online and in some health food stores. Here is a list with brief explanations to help you find the right supplement for your needs.
Ecdy Vitamins contain only one active ingredient, 100 mcg of Vitamin B-6 per tablet.
Super Ecdy contains 100 mcg of Vitamin B-6 per tablet and 100 mcg of Magnesium. The inactive ingredients include Gelatin, cellulose, magnesium stearate, and calcium silicate.
Glandular Vegetable Protein, derived from plant protein flour consisting of many different components but only one active ingredient which is 100 mcg of Vitamin B-6 per tablet – The inactive ingredients include processed soybean, tapioca starch/modified cornstarch, yeast food (Ammon sulfate) , magnesium stearate, and calcium silicate.
Glandular protein is similar to Type 3 as described above but also contains 100 mg’s of Magnesium – The inactive ingredients include processed soybean flour, tapioca starch/modified cornstarch, yeast food (Ammon sulfate), magnesium stearate, and calcium silicate.
The most common side effect of these supplements is stomach upset and diarrhea if consumed in high quantities, which may happen with some dietary supplements containing this ingredient like Type 1 and 2 due to the high Vitamin B-6 content.
Some people find that it helps control their blood sugar levels. It is important to note that most studies do not use supplements less than 500mg daily taken orally over periods, which means there are currently no detailed studies to date to determine the long-term effects.
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Ecdysterone – The Clinical Use
The most common medical use for ecdysterone is to treat osteoporosis. Ecdysterone sulfate has also been considered an anabolic agent in adults because of its chemical resemblance to steroid hormones.
Ecdysterone sulfate has been tested on delinquent youths to reduce their aggressiveness or aggressive tendencies because it contains properties that could potentially become masculine due to its molecular similarity, requiring testosterone levels to increase. The findings have yet to be scientifically confirmed.
However, evidence indicates ecdysteroids can stimulate skeletal muscle hypertrophy through increased protein synthesis, transcriptional activation, and mRNA stability, which means there may be potential for things like bodybuilding or muscle growth.
Ecdysterone is also used to boost the immune system in mice due to their antioxidant properties, which help support the activity of natural killer cells. It has been suggested that these supplements may have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to protect against free radicals and chemical toxins.
Ecdysterone – The Potential Benefits
The most promising benefit for ecdysterone supplement is muscle growth which can be accomplished by either increasing protein synthesis or inhibiting ubiquitin-proteasome activity, which breaks down proteins.
With proper diet and exercise, strength gains may also lead to increased lean body mass and natural fat loss. Endurance athletes would benefit from increased stamina and healthy blood sugar levels without any risk of addiction due to its molecular similarity to many steroidal hormones.
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Ecdysterone – The Potential Risks
The primary reported side effect for ecdysterone is stomach upset, making it difficult to take certain kinds of supplements containing these ingredients orally, so they are usually crushed up or broken down into powder form to mix with juice before being consumed.
It may also cause allergic reactions in sensitive people who have trouble breathing, hives, itching, and swelling though these symptoms are not very common. Some medical studies suggest that higher testosterone levels related to the supplement’s activity may be associated with prostate problems, particularly for individuals who already have an enlarged prostate gland naturally due to aging or other conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia. Still, more research is on this matter.
It is worth noting that allergic reactions to ecdysterone supplements happen. Before using these supplements, people should consult a doctor if they have hormone-related diseases or conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, depression, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, ulcers, or other stomach problems.
Additionally, those who already take medications for liver disease or estrogenic cancers like breast cancer need to discuss using this supplement with their doctors to avoid side effects.
Ecdysterone Supplements – The Verdict
There’s a lot of potential for ecdysterone supplementation because it has a wide variety of benefits, including healthy immune function, muscle growth, improved endurance, and fighting fatigue during longer exercise sessions which can improve athletic performance.