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20.01.2010


Animal study: ATD doesn't help steroids users

More muscle and bigger balls. That's the promise that the American producers of designer supplements containing the androgenic steroid ATD hold up to bodybuilders. But according to a Swedish animal study, the results of which were published recently in Behavioural Brain Research, it's an empty promise.


Animal study: ATD doesn't help steroids users


ATD is short for 1,4,6-androstatriene-3,17-dione. It's an nabolic steroid and its structure is shown below. If you've read The Anabolics Handbook you’ll know that this compound sabotages the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase converts testosterone into estradiol. The less estradiol there is circulating in the body, the more LH and FSH the pituitary starts to make. These hormones are responsible for getting the testes to make more testosterone. In the body ATD turns into an anabolic steroid that in test-tube studies has been shown to stimulate the androgen receptor, and therefore may stimulate muscle growth. So the manufacturer's claims may work.

1,4,6-Androstatriene-3,17-dione
But for all ergogenic substances it holds that you only know for sure if a substance works once you've seen it in human or animal (in-vivo) studies. Biological reality is always more complicated than theory. It just so happens that Swedish researchers working on addiction at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology published the results of the animal experiment they did. They implanted capsules that released testosterone in rats, and injected the animals with ATD as well. According to the American designer supplement manufacturers this combination should protect natural testosterone production.

But the tables below don't bear out the producers' claims. They show the effect of ATD in healthy male rats with no implants [sham] and in rats that did get an implant [testosterone]. The tables also show the effect of two different doses of ATD: 30 and 60 mg/kg/dag. The animals were given the substances for a week.


Animal study: ATD doesn't help steroids users

Animal study: ATD doesn't help steroids users


Regardless of whether the rats got testosterone or not, the ATD made them lighter. And their testicles got smaller too. So in this experiment ATD did exactly the opposite of what the American manufacturers had claimed. The Swedes hint at why this might be: "ATD, in addition to inhibit aromatase, also may affect the binding of testosterone to the androgen receptor", they write.

The Swedes were not actually interested in learning about the effects of all sorts of dubious designer supplements on the 'grey market'. What they wanted to know was why high doses of testosterone lead to behaviour changes. Testosterone releases inhibitions. That's why men make more noise, commit more crimes, fight more wars and are more expressive than women. But is that the effect of testosterone? Or is it the effect of the female sex hormone estradiol, which is produced when aromatase converts testosterone?

The latter is the case, the Swedes discovered in an experiment they did to measure lack of inhibition. They put thirsty rats in a cage where they could only drink if they first go tan electric shock. The rats with a testosterone implant stood up to the electric shocks better than the rats without implants. The rats that got ATD as well as the implant were less able to deal with the electric shocks.


Animal study: ATD doesn't help steroids users


ATD is very interesting for biologists who are looking at the way hormones influence behaviour. But athletes are better off spending their money on something else.

Source:
Behav Brain Res. 2010 Jan 20; 206(2): 216-22.

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