Thanks to ecdysterone supplementation, strength athletes gain 2 kilos of muscle mass in 10 weeks
It seems that those old Russian studies hit the nail on the head. Ecdysterone, the most populair ecdysteroid in sports nutrition, does indeed have an anabolic effect. German researchers come to this conclusion in a human study conducted at the request of the Wada. Will ecdysterone be added to Wada's prohibited list?
The researchers divided 46 young men into 4 groups. Three groups trained with weights during the 10-week trial. One group of students took a placebo [PL], two others used a supplement with ecdysterone. A fourth group of men used ecdysterone, but did not exercise [CO].
The researchers used the Peak Ecdysone supplement, a product of the German supplement producer Peak [above]. According to the label, Peak Ecdysone contains 100 milligrams of spinach-derived ecdysterone per capsule, but when the researchers analyzed the supplement they found only 6 milligrams of ecdysterone. This is not unusual with spinach-based ecdysterone supplements. [Sci Rep. 2016 Dec 8;6:37322.]
A group of men who exercised the recommended dose of 2 capsules of Peak Ecdysone per day [Ec1], which amounts to 12 milligrams of ecdysterone per day. The men who did not train also took this dose. Another group of physically active men took 8 capsules of Peak Ecdysone [Ec2] daily. That amounts to 48 milligrams ecdysterone per day.
Peak Ecdysone also contains 100 milligrams of leucine per capsule, but the researchers think that this dose is too low to be physiologically relevant.
The subjects who used the ecdysterone supplement and worked out with weights built up more muscle mass than the subjects who trained with weights and took placebo. The higher dose in particular proved to be effective. The test subjects gained 2 kilos of muscle mass in those groups.
Moreover, the users of ecdysterone gained more muscle strength than the subjects who trained and took a placebo.
Supplementation with ecdysterone did not result in more muscle mass and muscle strength if the subjects did not train with weights. In that respect too, ecdysterone is similar to the classic anabolic steroids.
In an in vitro study, the researchers exposed muscle cells to ecdysterone and a few natural steroid hormones. They discovered that ecdysterone has as much anabolic effect as DHT, the potent androgenic metabolite of testosterone.
"This project demonstrates the performance-enhancing effect of ecdysterone in humans," the researchers write. "The mechanism of action of ecdysterone appears as independent from the androgen receptor activation, but it is rather exhibited by the activation of the estrogen receptor beta."
"Further investigations on the activity of ecdysterone are recommended. They should also include a controlled administration trial of ecdysterone in humans to elucidate the metabolism of ecdysterone and to evaluate possibilities for its improved detection in doping control analyzes."
More coming soon.
Arch Toxicol. 2019 May 23. doi: 10.1007/s00204-019-02490-x. [Epub ahead of print].
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