Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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New prohormone: Delta-2

A few months ago supplements maker Androgenetx launched a new prohormone. It's called Delta-2 and the active ingredient in the product resembles the designer anabolic steroid madol. No doubt you know the latter. But what exactly is 5-alpha-androst-2-ene-17-one?

Delta-2 contains this steroid, illustrated here, which goes by the chemical name of 5-alpha-androst-2-ene-17-one or delta-2-androst-17-one. The steroid is created in the human gut when microorganisms convert natural testosterone analogues. [J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1997 Sep-Oct; 63(1-3): 81-9.] Biologists have also found 5-alpha-androst-2-ene-17-one in elephants. [Reproduction. 2001 Mar; 121(3): 475-84.] Contrary to what the Wikipedia entry on 5-alpha-androst-2-ene-17-one says, this eccentric steroid has not yet been detected in human urine. The study that Wikipedia refers to [Steroids. 2000 Feb;65(2):98-102.] doesn't even mention 5-alpha-androst-2-ene-17-one.

New prohormone: Delta-2


If you imagine a 17-beta-hydroxyl group and a 17-alpha-methyl group where the 17-ketone group is located on the Delta-2 molecule, then you get madol or DMT: the designer steroid from the Balco affair, which later turned up as the active ingredient in designer supplements like Pheraplex.

In the late sixties, Julius Vida published Androgens and Anabolic Agents, now regarded as the standard reference book, in which Vida conducted identical animal tests on hundreds of steroids. Among these was one substance that bears a remarkable resemblance to 5-alpha-androst-2-ene-17-one. And this substance, if you inject it, is pretty active.

New prohormone: Delta-2

According to Androgenetx, 5-alpha-androst-2-ene-17-one is a "naturally occurring DHEA metabolite". We're not sure whether this is the case. But whether or not 5-alpha-androst-2-ene-17-one is a DHEA metabolite, it certainly doesn't resemble it in terms of effect. The figure below illustrates what Vida discovered on DHEA.

New prohormone: Delta-2

Taken orally, 5-alpha-androst-2-ene-17-b-ol has no effect. That's probably because it's not soluble in water and the small intestine therefore can't absorb it. But the analogue in Delta-2 is water soluble, so it does get absorbed.

Delta-2 owes its effectiveness to 5-alpha-androst-2-ene-17-one being absorbed and then converted into 5-alpha-androst-2-ene-17-beta-ol. Anabolic steroid hormones simply have to have a 17-beta-hydroxyl group to be able to interact with the androgen receptor. It's not surprising that users blog about doses of several hundred milligrams of 5-alpha-androst-2-ene-17-one a day. [ 02-09-2011] Their experience confirms the impression that Vida's data gives: Delta-2 is nothing like the mild DHEA. Delta-2 undoubtedly helps build muscles and strength, and undoubtedly also causes side effects.

One capsule of Delta-2 also contains large quantities of the flavonoid naringenin. This blocks an enzyme that neutralises many steroids and might improve the bioavailablity of 5alpha-androst-2-ene-17-one. Researchers at Organon discovered years ago that you absorb Andriol better if you take the capsules with a meal that contains a small amount of fat. Might this trick work for Delta-2 too?