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ECDYSTERONE VERSUS TURKESTERONE: THE REAL DEAL

Jennifer AdvancedMolecularLabs

Posted on May 12 2021

 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 is an analogue of 20-hydroxyecdysone.

FYI...if that name sounds familiar, 20-hydroxyecdysone (ecdysterone) is the same compound found in AML Ecdysterone.

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]

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 findings of a 2000 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 Ecdysterone vs Turkesterone

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 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.

THE ULTIMATE ANABOLIC ECDYSTERONE STACK

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.

 

References

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

2. Dinan L, Bourne P, Whiting P, et al. Synthesis and biological activities of turkesterone 11alpha-acyl derivatives. J Insect Sci. 2003;3:6. doi:10.1093/jis/3.1.6

3. Guibout, L., Mamadalieva, N., Balducci, C., Girault, J.-P., & Lafont, R. (2015). The minor ecdysteroids from Ajuga turkestanica. Phytochemical Analysis, 26(5), 293– 300.doi:10.1002/pca.2563

4. Mamadalieva NZ, El-Readi MZ, Ovidi E, Ashour ML, Hamoud R, Sagdullaev SS, Azimova SS, Tiezzi A, Wink M. 2013. Antiproliferative, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of the chemical constituents of Ajuga turkestanica. Phytopharmacol 4(1): 1–18.

5. Syrov VN, Khushbaktova ZA, Tolubaev I, Eletskaya NV, Mamatkhanov AU. 1994. Effect of a lipid concentrate from the aboveground portion of Ajuga turkestanica on the metabolic processes and dynamics of healing skin wounds experimentally. Pharm Chem J 28(11): 837–840

6. Kutepova TA, Syrov VN, Khushbaktova ZA, Saatov Z. 2001. Hypoglycemic activity of the total ecdysteroid extract from Ajuga turkestanica. Pharm Chem J 35(11): 608–609.

7. Khalitova YD, Syrov VN, Akhmedkhodjaeva KhS, Mamatkhanov AU. 1998. Possible use of the extract of Ajuga turkestanica as a remedy contributing to lactation. Dokl Akad Nauk Respubliki Uzbekistan 8: 35–38

8. Shakhmurov GA, Syrov VN, Khushbaktova ZA. 2010. Immunomodulating and antistress activity of ecdysterone and turkesterone under immobilization-induced stress conditions in mice. Pharm Chem J 44(1): 7–9.

9. Dinan L. 2009. The Karlson lecture. Phytoecdysteroids: what use are they? Arch Insect Biochem Physiol 72: 126–141.

10. Mamatkhanov AU, Yakubova MR, Syrov VN. 1998. Isolation of turkesterone from the epigeal part of Ajuga turkestanica and its anabolic activity. Chem Nat Comds 34(2): 150–154

11. Zubeldia JM, Hernández-Santana A, Jiménez-del-Rio M, Pérez-López V, Pérez-Machin R, Garcia-Castellano JM. 2012. In vitro characterization of the efficacy and safety profile of a proprietary Ajuga turkestanica extract. Chin Med 3: 215–222

12. Syrov VN, Saatov Z, Sagdullaev ShSh, Mamatkhanov AU. 2001. Study of the structureactivity-anabolic activity relationship for phytoecdysteroids extracted from some plants of central Asia. Pharm Chem J 35(12): 667–671.

13.Arthur ST, Zwetsloot KA, Lawrence MM, Nieman DC, Lila MA, Grace MH, Howden R, Cooley ID, Tkach JF, Keith MD, Demick JL, Blanton SE, Greiner RS, Bradley AM, Davenport ME, Badmaev V, Shanely RA. Ajuga turkestanica increases Notch and Wnt signaling in aged skeletal muscle. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2014;18(17):2584-92. PMID: 25268108.

14. J. Zubeldia, A. Hernández-Santana, M. Jiménez-del-Rio, V. Pérez-López, R. PérezMachín and J. García-Castellano, "In Vitro Characterization of the Efficacy and Safety Profile of a Proprietary Ajuga Turkestanica Extract," Chinese Medicine, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2012, pp. 215-222. doi: 10.4236/cm.2012.34031.

15. Syrov, V. N. (2000). Comparative experimental investigation of the anabolic activity of phytoecdysteroids and steranabols. Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal, 34(4), 193– 197.doi:10.1007/bf02524596

16. Isenmann, E., Ambrosio, G., Joseph, J. F., Mazzarino, M., de la Torre, X., Zimmer, P., Parr, M. K. (2019). Ecdysteroids as non-conventional anabolic agent: performance enhancement by ecdysterone supplementation in humans. Archives of Toxicology, 93(7), 1807–1816.doi:10.1007/s00204-019-02490-x

17. Parr MK, Zhao P, Haupt O, Ngueu ST, Hengevoss J, Fritzemeier KH, Piechotta M, Schlörer N, Muhn P, Zheng WY, Xie MY, Diel P. Estrogen receptor beta is involved in skeletal muscle hypertrophy induced by the phytoecdysteroid ecdysterone. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2014;58:1861–1872

18. Gorelick-Feldman, J.. “Phytoecdysteroids: understanding their anabolic activity.” (2009). DOI:10.7282/T3WQ041H

19. Gorelick-Feldman J, et al. Phytoecdysteroids increase protein synthesis in skeletal muscle cells. J Agric Food Chem. (2008)

20. Velders, M., Schleipen, B., Fritzemeier, K. H., Zierau, O., & Diel, P. (2012). Selective estrogen receptor-beta activation stimulates skeletal muscle growth and regeneration. FASEB Journal : Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 26(5), 1909–1920. https://doi.org/10.1096/fj.11-194779

21. Lafont R, Dinan L. Practical uses for ecdysteroids in mammals including humans: an update. J Insect Sci. 2003;3:7. doi:10.1093/jis/3.1.7