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science nutrition <strong>blog</strong>

By Steve Blechman

"Ecdysterone In Quinoa and Spinach Extract"

Beta-ecdysterone (20-HYDROXYECDYSONE) is a naturally occurring ecdysteroid hormone found in over 100 plants such as spinach extract. You can also find ecdysterone in quinoa.  Recent studies have suggested that ecdysterone may increase physical performance, work capacity and boost lean muscle mass, and recovery.


Ecdysterone is a novel non-androgenic and naturally occurring steroid hormone found in plants that has anabolic, muscle hypertrophy effects. It is used to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance. Recently, beta-ecdysterone supplements have become more popular with the rise of more scientific research in animals and humans (supplements also eliminate the need to get your dose of ecdysterone in quinoa or through spinach extract). Over the years there were many skeptics in the scientific community until now! But, more research is needed in humans to confirm its anabolic effects. Also, ecdysteroids have an excellent safety profile and do not have androgenic or estrogenic effects.

In an excellent most recent review article entitled: “Ecdysterone for Sexual Enhancement, Muscle Building & Health (November 23, 2020), it mentioned, “Preliminary studies (in vitro and in vivo studies in cell cultures and animals) found that ecdysterone was able to significantly increase muscle hypertrophy both in vitro and in vivo.”

“What really caught the attention of researchers (and supplement enthusiasts) was that ecdysterone actually outperformed anabolic androgenic steroids (such as metandienone or estradienedione) as well as the selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) S.”

“A follow-up study conducted in humans found that ecdysterone supplementation led to significant increases in bench press strength.”

“Subsequent studies have identified that ecdysterone’s beneficial impacts on muscle growth (hypertrophy) is mediated by estrogen receptor-beta (ER-beta) activation.”

“This is important to note as ER-beta signaling is involved in the regulation of skeletal muscle growth and regeneration via stimulating certain anabolic pathways, activating satellite cells, and modulating immune function.”

“Ecdysterone has also been proposed to boost muscle protein synthesis via direct or indirect stimulation of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.”

“Most recently, a 2020 study using cell cultures discovered that ecdysterone inhibits myostatin gene expression in a dose-dependent manner.”

“Myostatin is an autocrine regulator that inhibits muscle growth in mammals.”

“From a mechanistic standpoint, inhibiting myostatin may allow for greater muscle growth! It also means ecdysterone could be a viable option for older individuals looking to combat sarcopenia – an age-related degeneration of skeletal muscle characterized by a loss of muscle mass, strength, and balance as well as the ability to walk and/or stand.”

“It would be great to see more studies conducted using ecdysterone in combination with resistance training to replicate these findings or add to the existing body of knowledge regarding ecdysterone and muscle building.”


Creatine is an extremely popular sports supplement that increases strength, power and lean muscle mass. Creatine monohydrate is the gold standard and most researched form of creatine. In 1992, as Twinlab’s Vice President of Product Development and Marketing (1974-2001), I was the first to bring to the retail market creatine monohydrate (as Creatine Fuel). While there are several different forms of creatine available today, creatine monohydrate has been shown to be the most cost-effective! Creatine increases power output during high-intensity sprints and improves endurance capacity by allowing athletes to exercise at a faster pace. Creatine also promotes muscle adaptations to training and stimulates muscle growth. Creatine can stimulate muscle growth by enhancing IGF-1, muscle cell formation and increasing protein synthesis. Creatine can also inhibit the production of the muscle-wasting protein myostatin. Myostatin acts by inhibiting the growth of muscles – it prevents them from growing too large. By inhibiting myostatin, creatine can promote the growth of skeletal muscle. The blockade of myostatin has the potential as a treatment for various muscle-wasting disorders such as sarcopenia and loss of muscle during aging. Research has shown that creatine monohydrate combined with leucine can reduce the negative effect of myostatin and enhance muscle growth. So, it makes scientific sense to combine leucine with creatine monohydrate to maximize recovery, protein synthesis and muscle growth.

Supplemental leucine post-exercise also enhances muscle creatine uptake via an insulin-meditated effect. Creatine also promotes muscle glycogen storage. Creatine monohydrate plus carbohydrates increases muscle glycogen restoration following exhaustive exercise better than carbohydrate feeding alone – according to Paul Greenhaff and colleagues from the U.K.

Exercise capacity and fatigue are greatly influenced by glycogen stores in muscle and liver. Recovery from repeated intense workouts depends on restoration on muscle, liver and glycogen stores. A most recent study published in The Journal Nutrients (April 30, 2018) found that creatine monohydrate may have more muscle protective benefits than whey protein isolate on muscle damage and recovery. Creatine monohydrate supplementation prior to and following a controlled muscle injury was more effective at restoring functional strength compared to whey protein isolate and placebo supplementation.


Betaine, also known as trimethylglycine, is a natural osmolyte like creatine. It is important in maintaining cellular hydration. As an osmolyte, betaine enhances muscle cell swelling, stimulating protein synthesis and decreasing protein breakdown, resulting in muscle growth. Betaine also has been shown to increase growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Taken together, betaine is an excellent post-workout supplement when combined with leucine and creatine. For further muscle growth benefits, take the electrolytes potassium and magnesium citrate post-exercise. Potassium and magnesium citrate enhance hydration and muscle cell volume as an osmolyte, working synergistically with creatine and betaine to enhance muscular recovery and muscle growth. Potassium citrate is also an acid buffer. High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets result in low-grade, chronic acidosis, enhancing muscle breakdown and muscle wasting. Potassium and magnesium citrate can buffer acidosis and preserve muscle mass when following a high-protein, acid-forming diet.


Leucine promotes recovery by stimulating the mTOR pathway to increase protein synthesis to repair injured tissue. Leucine, one of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), is the most important chemical that turns on the mTOR pathway, so it is likely that consuming leucine after exercise would be more effective (and cheaper) than consuming BCAAs. The addition of isoleucine and valine may hinder the benefits of leucine due to competition for transport into muscle cells. The BCAAs share the same active transport system into cells and muscle cells. Indeed, isoleucine and valine have been shown to inhibit absorption leucine. In the March 2018 issue of the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, it was reported that men fed 6 grams of whey protein supplemented with leucine, isoleucine and valine observed less protein synthesis than whey protein supplemented with just leucine. Also, research has shown that valine can cause insulin resistance in muscle, which is detrimental to muscle growth and enhances the accumulation of body fat. Also, many athletes consume glutamine supplements because they may boost the immune system. A Belgium study, however, found that glutamine suppresses the mTOR pathway and could interfere with muscle protein synthesis. Yes, glutamine is antagonistic to leucine when it comes to turning on protein synthesis! A dipeptide of alanine and glutamine called Sustamine also fails to turn on mTOR. The science supporting glutamine as a muscle-building, performance-enhancing supplement is quite lacking.

For best results as an anabolic trigger, take 5 grams of leucine (on an empty stomach) 15-30 minutes before a post-workout meal. By taking pure leucine on an empty stomach, you will get a better spike in blood levels than if you take leucine with food, because food can slow leucine’s absorption. When leucine is taken on an empty stomach, it’s a powerful metabolic switch that turns on protein synthesis. Leucine increases mTOR activity for several hours after training. When leucine is taken after resistance exercise and before a post-workout protein-containing meal rich in essential amino acids, it triggers greater protein synthesis for improved recovery and greater gains.



For maximum benefits, take 1 serving of AML EcdySterone capsules with 1 scoop of AML PostWorkout immediately after a resistance-training workout before eating a post-workout meal. When stacking AML EcdySterone and AML PostWorkout you will have support for improved muscle growth from multiple pathways and faster recovery time after your workout. AML EcdySterone contains 500mg beta-ecdysterone exceeding 95% purity (derived from Cyanotis arachnoidea) to support muscle protein synthesis and lean mass gains.

©Published by from Advanced Research Media, Inc. 2020

©Reprinted with permission from Advanced Research Media, Inc.



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