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science nutrition <strong>blog</strong>

 By Robert Schinetsky


The supplement industry never ceases to disappoint or find opportunities to cash in by overhyping understudied ingredients to unknowing consumers.

We’ve seen dozens of these instances over the years, including testosterone boosters such as D-Aspartic acid and Tribulus Terrestris, and scores of “exotic” stimulants that continue to show up in pre-workout supplements.

One of the newer trendy ingredients is turkesterone -- a compound that’s being touted by some entities in the industry to be as powerful as anabolic steroids.

But, does it live up to the hype?

Let’s discuss...

What is Turkesterone?

Turkesterone is one of the primary bioactive compounds naturally occurring in Ajuga turkestanica -- a plant with a long history of use in traditional medicine for its anabolic, adaptogenic, hepatoprotective and hypoglycemic activity.

In Uzbekistan and Tadzhikistan, in particular, the plant has been valued for its beneficial effects on muscle strength and stomach aches as well as its protective action against heart diseases.[1]

Turkesterone belongs to a family of compounds known as ecdysteroids -- anabolic compounds found in plants, arthropods, and certain fungi that regulate moulting and metamorphosis in insects and may also play a role in reproduction.[2]

Turkesterone Supplement is an analog of 20-hydroxyecdysone.

FYI...if that name sounds familiar, 20-hydroxyecdysone (ecdysterone) is the same compound found in AML Ecdysterone. So let’s discuss turkesterone vs ecdysterone and see how the two compare.

Turkesterone and ecdysterone are the two major ecdysteroids found in Ajuga turkestanica, each accounting for ~0.2–0.4% of dry weight of aerial parts.[3]

So are there any turkesterone studies that have proven its benefits? Previous research has shown that extracts of Ajuga turkestanica may:

          ● Exert antiproliferative, antimicrobial and antioxidant effects[4]

          ● Support wound healing[5]

          ● Reduce hyperglycaemia in alloxan-induced diabetic rats[6]

          ● increase lactation in female rats[7]

          ● Immunostimulating effects[8]

Researchers attribute the majority of these effects to the presence of ecdysteroids.[9]

On its own, those activities make Ajuga turkestanica a botanical certainly worth investigating, but why specifically are more and more advertisements starting to pop up touting the plant, and more specifically turkesterone, as a “muscle building supplement?” For starters, the name turkesterone sounds very similar to the king of all anabolic hormones -- testosterone, making it all the more enticing for consumers to want to try.

Second, ecdysteroids are responsible for growth (in plants and insects) and have a steroid backbone containing a Cis A/B ring junction, a 7-ene-6- one chromophore, and a 14α-hydoxyl group.

Third, ecdysteroid-enriched extracts of Ajuga turkestanica (as well as pure turkesterone) have also been found to display anabolic effects on muscles.[10,11,12]

Fourth, turkesterone (as well as ecdysterone) possess anti-stress effects[8], which can indirectly support muscle building via optimizing cortisol levels in the body.

Fifth, extracts of ajuga turkestanica have been shown to activate Notch receptors in skeletal muscle cells, which helps stem cells to develop into new muscle cells.[13]

Sixth, in vitro studies suggest that when muscle cells are exposed to Ajuga turkestanica ecdysteroids, myostatin expression is reduced.[14] FYI, myostatin is a protein in the body that limits muscle growth. This same study also found that ecdysteroids were more effect myostatin inhibitors than methandienone -- the active compound in Dianabol.[14]

But, perhaps the biggest reason supplement companies are flocking to this ingredient is based on the turkesterone studies and research from the last twenty years. In the year 2000, there were findings from a study which found that turkesterone possessed a greater anabolic effect than methandienone.[15]

While all of this sounds highly promising, there are a couple of issues at play.

First (and most importantly), there are no human studies to date on turkesterone. All research to date has been done in cell cultures and animals. And, we don’t need to tell you that just because something is shown to work in vitro or in rats will mean that the same effects will translate on a 1:1 basis when ingested orally in humans.

But, for fun, let’s just say that turkesterone may work when taken orally.

This brings us to the second issue with turkesterone supplements on the market -- they’re woefully underdosed.

Extrapolating a human equivalent dose from the animal studies puts the dosage around 400mg of ajuga turkestanica extract standardized to 40% ecdysteroids, with the ecdysteroid content slanted heavily in the favor of 20-hydroxyecdysone (ecdysterone) NOT turkesterone.[14]

Finally, the vast majority of Ajuga turkestanica extracts available on the market only contain ~20% ecdysteroids, meaning that you’re not getting a whole lot of turkesterone (or ecdysterone for that matter.

To put everything into perspective, using the numbers we have to date on turkesterone and ajuga turkestanica extract, if you weigh 180 lbs, you’d need to consume over EIGHT GRAMS of the extract daily!

Consider that most supplements only provide between 250-500mg of Ajuga turkestanica extract, and you start to see that you’re getting ripped off.

The good news is that there already is another option that’s readily accessible, not over-priced, and (best of all) is supported by human research -- turkesterone’s big brother...ECDYSTERONE!

Ecdysterone for More Muscle & Strength

As we mentioned above, ecdysterone (20-hydroxyecdysone) is a naturally occurring steroid found in plants, belonging to a family of compounds called ecdysteroids.

Previous human research has shown that resistance-training individuals given ecdysterone (12mg per day for 10 weeks) experienced greater gains in hypertrophy and strength compared to those receiving placebo.[16]

How Does Ecdysterone Work?

Ecdysterone promotes lean mass gains via estrogen receptor-beta (ERβ) activation.[17]

This is noteworthy since ERβ signaling is involved in the regulation of skeletal muscle growth and regeneration by stimulating anabolic pathways, activating satellite cells, and modulating immune function.[20]

Furthermore, ecdysterone has also been suggested to support muscle protein synthesis via direct or indirect stimulation of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.[18,19]

Most importantly, ecdysterone does NOT interact with the androgen receptor, meaning it will not cause suppression or any other unwanted side effects commonly found with AAS usage.[17,18]

Researchers found that ecdysterone supplementation in health human subjects resulted in no elevation in biomarkers that would indicate liver or kidney toxicity from ecdysterone supplementation, providing evidence that ecdysterone is not only effective, but SAFE!

Perhaps most surprising is that the results from ecdysterone supplementation were strong enough for researchers to conclude:

“These data underline the effectivity of an ecdysterone supplementation with respect to sports performance. Our results strongly suggest the inclusion of ecdysterone in the list of prohibited substances and methods in sports in class S1.2 “other anabolic agents.”[16]

In other words, the gains in muscle size and performance accompanying ecdysterone supplementation were significant enough for the researchers to suggest that ecdysterone be added to the list of WADA’s banned substances!

And, remember, ecdysteroids do not increase blood pressure, and despite their anabolic activities, they do not possess androgenic, estrogenic, or anti-estrogenic) effects.[21]

The Bottom Line on Turkesterone vs Ecdysterone

So now that we have discussed turkesterone vs ecdysterone, what is the final word on these types of supplements? When taken together, while turkesterone does have some impressive research behind it, those studies are done in animals (rats) and cell cultures, which do not translate on a 1:1 basis to healthy human subjects taking the turkesterone supplement orally. Furthermore, the vast majority of turkesterone supplements on the market are woefully underdosed as they contain a very small percentage of actual turkesterone (they are largely generic ajuga turkestanica extracts).

Ecdysterone has been studied in healthy humans and shown to be effective (and SAFE) when taken orally and used in combination with resistance training.

For these reasons, we’ve followed the science and created Advanced Molecular Labs Ecdy Sterone (20-hydroxyecdysone), which supplies 500mg beta-ecdysterone (exceeding 95% purity derived from Cyanotis Arachnoidea) per capsule to aid muscle protein synthesis and lean mass gains.

Each serving of AML Ecdy Sterone also includes 2,000IU of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin that serves a number of roles in the body including hormone production (e.g. testosterone), bone health, cell growth, neuromuscular function, and immune function.


For best results stack one capsule AML Ecdy Sterone with AML Postworkout which contains: leucine (5grams), creatine monohydrate (5grams), and betaine (2.5grams).

Click here to learn more about Ecdy Sterone and how to create a post-workout supplement stack to maximize your hard work in the gym! © Published by Advanced Research Media, Inc. 2021 © Reprinted with permission from Advanced Research Media, Inc.



1. Luan, F., Han, K., Li, M., Zhang, T., Liu, D., Yu, L., & Lv, H. (2019). Ethnomedicinal Uses, Phytochemistry, Pharmacology, and Toxicology of Species from the Genus Ajuga L.: A Systematic Review. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 47(05), 959–1003. doi:10.1142/s0192415x19500502

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