Beta-Ecdysterone is soon to become the new king of the bodybuilding supplement industry. Beta-Ecdysterone supplements are growing in popularity amongst the bodybuilding and sporting community due to their ability to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance without any side effects or suppression.
Multiple studies have demonstrated this natural plant and insect extract to have anabolic effects in humans, due to having a similar structure to the male hormone testosterone. We’ve gathered the research on ecdysterone to cover the key aspects of Beta-Ecdysterone as part of a complete user's guide.
What is Ecdysterone?
Ecdysterone is a type of ecdysteroid, which is a naturally occurring hormone found in certain plants and insects. In fact, the name “ecdysteroids” is a coined term: ‘ecdy’ is derived from ecdysis, which is the moulting process of insects before increasing in growth, and ‘steroids’ due to the four carbon ring polyhydroxylated ketosteroid base structure.
On a molecular level, ecysteriods are synthesized from dietary cholesterol once metabolised by cytochrome P450s. Then ecysteriods are understood to play an essential role in morphogenesis, which is the process required for tissue development. Fascinatingly, humans also have receptors for ecdysteroids, and when activated promote various health benefits, including muscle growth.
What is Ecdysterone Also Known By?
Many ecdysterone supplements are marketed under different names, despite being the exact same ecdysteroid hormone. If you’re looking for a beta-ecdysterone bodybuilding supplement, these are the common names for them.
What Does Ecdysterone Do?
Scientists began to research ecysteriods to understand how this plant hormone has it’s anabolic abilities without significantly affecting hormonal activity in the body. They discovered that ecdysterone does not bind to androgen or estrogen receptor-alpha, but to estrogen receptor-beta (ERβ), and it is this activation that induces muscle hypertrophy, or put simply, an increase in muscle mass.
It may be surprising to hear that the activation of an estrogen related receptor to be beneficial in relation to bodybuilding, but ERβ plays a vital role in skeletal muscle growth (1). Ecdysterone has also been shown to accelerate muscle protein synthesis by stimulating the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway (2).
Ecdysterone vs Turkesterone: How is it Different?
Turkesterone is also an ecysteriod, however it works in a slightly different way to other ecdysteroids, and research has shown it to have the greatest anabolic ability. It is common for supplement companies to sell any ecdysterone as Turkesterone, however this is a false claim. Although they all work in similar ways, Turkesterone is unique due to its origin and potency.
Genuine Turkesterone is sourced exclusively from the plant species Ajuga turkestanica grown in Uzbekistan, which is then cultivated and processed under the supervision of Uzbekistan government institutions. Other ecysteriods are not as well researched, appear to be less anabolic and can easily be cultivated worldwide, making them cheaper than Turkesterone.
Find out more about how turkesterone works if you’re interested in learning more about this popular supplement.
Using Ecdysteroids for Bodybuilding
Ecdysteroids initially caught the attention of scientists due to having similar genetic structures to androgenic hormones, thus having the potential to be used as testosterone replacement therapy. However ecdysteroids did not demonstrate any binding affinity to androgen receptors, and most research was then withdrawn. However clinical research did show ecdysteroids to accelerate muscle protein synthesis (3), demonstrating ecdysteroids to be anabolic (muscle-building) and not androgenic.
Beta-Ecdysterone Benefits - Does It Work?
Researchers in Germany conducted a study which aimed to assess the effects of ecdysterone supplementation on human exercise performance. This 10 week intervention found ecdysterone to significantly increase muscle mass and even increase one rep max scores when compared to participants who did not supplement ecdysterone. Additionally there was no increase in liver and kidney toxicity (4). The data from this study indicates the effectiveness and safety of this supplement in regards to muscle growth acceleration and athletic performance. The scientific evidence has also shown Beta-Ecdysterone to induce hypertrophy of skeletal muscle to a similar degree to that of anabolic androgenic steroids, SARMS & IGF-1 (5).
The study outlined above by Parr MK et al. in 2015 does show that ecdysteroids increase strength and muscle mass whilst training, similar to other anabolic steroids.
Ecdysterone Side Effects
Usually supplements that accelerate muscle growth to such a great extent in a short time frame come with a host of negative side effects. However, unlike anabolic steroids, ecdysteroids do not have androgenic or estrogenic effects, and therefore do not cause suppression or hormonal disharmony. Infact, research has shown ecdysteroids to be an effective all round health booster (6), having positive effects on the cholesterol levels, brain tissue, blood glucose regulation as well as liver, kidney, lung and immune function.
Do You Need a PCT for Ecdysterone?
No post-cycle therapy is required following ecdysteroid use, as they do not augment hormonal activity above and beyond natural ranges, and therefore do not cause suppression or hormonal disharmony during or after use.
In fact, it is common for athletes andbodybuilders to run ecysteriods during PCT and whilst off-cycle to help maintain gains and reduce the side effects associated with hardcore supplements.
Foods High in Ecdysterone
Some foods such as spinach, quinoa and asparagus contain ecdysteroids, usually in the form of 20HE. It must be highlighted that this is significantly lower than in any ecdysteroid containing plants.
The optimum way to take beta-ecdysterone is to take a supplement, because although some vegetables like spinach contain the ingredient, they only have very small amounts.
Is Ecdysterone Legal?
Yes, taking ecdysterone is legal in all forms. However, due to the ability of ecdysterone to increase athletic performance, research does strongly suggest the inclusion of ecdysterone in the list of prohibited substances in sports in class “other anabolic agents” (7).
Where to Buy Beta Ecdysterone
When looking to buy beta-ecdysterone online, there are many things to consider. You want to find a reputable company with legitimate products. As with any ecdysteroid supplement you intend on purchasing, ensure the active ingredient is stated on the ingredients panel and not just on the front tof the label.
At Prohormones UK, we offer German Pharma’s Beta Ecdysterone, which contains 250mg of high potency 90% Ecdysterone in a vegan friendly capsule.