What is Beta-Ecdysterone… And Can It Help You Build Muscle?

Say the word “steroid” and natural bodybuilders will run for cover, but they’ll also crane their necks trying to hear what comes next. We all know that steroids build muscle, so when a natural substance like beta-ecdysterone is touted to have the same types of benefits, we owe it ourselves to at least find out the full story.

When it comes to beta-ecdysterone, it’s a winding story that may yet have a happy ending for lifers seeking new muscle mass, but we’re not quite there yet.

What Is Beta-Ecdysterone?

Beta-ecdysterone is a steroid found in plants and some insects, where it acts as a growth hormone.

Also known as ecdysterone or 20-hydroxyecdysone, beta-ecdysterone first caught the attention of bodybuilders in the late 1980s when several Eastern Bloc countries began touting plant sterols as steroid alternatives.

While terrestris tribulus gained some traction in the US market, beta-ecdysterone lagged behind because it was expensive to extract from plants. Basically, no one could afford to gamble on an unproven substances.

Extraction methods improved in the early 2000s, though, and ecdysterone became more widely available, which spawned more users and an interest in the benefits of ecdysterone supplements.

What Can Beta-Ecdysterone Do for Bodybuilders?

The most common purported benefit of beta-ecdysterone for fitness enthusiasts is that it can enhance muscle synthesis.

While research studies are a bit unclear on this point, some results do seem to support the basic idea.

A 2014 study out of Germany, for example, found that rats fed beta-ecdysterone supplements experienced enhanced anabolism and produced new muscle growth.

A very early human study was published in 1988 by Soviet researchers – S. Simakin and colleagues. In this experiment, highly trained athletes were given either a placebo, protein or protein PLUS ecdysterone for 10 days while continuing to train.

While the first two groups showed muscle loss, the athletes taking ecdysterone gained 6-7{fb9a4be0d6494174e6be9660e119e25a878ea9b5c7f2169440a84f81fc131373} in lean mass and lost 10{fb9a4be0d6494174e6be9660e119e25a878ea9b5c7f2169440a84f81fc131373} of their body fat.

The results were amazing, but many have discredited the study as being obscured by Cold War tactics AND because the duration was so short.

What Else Can Beta-Ecdysterone Do?

So, while beta-ecdysterone may help you build muscle, scientific results are still inconclusive on that front.

Even so, beta-ecdysterone could provide other benefits that might help bodybuilders and other parts of the population. Among these are:

Blood Sugar Control Some studies suggest that beta-ecdysterone can lower blood sugar levels without affecting insulin secretion or absorption. That could be a powerful benefit for diabetics or people trying to lose weight.

Osteoporosis Treatment Studies out of China and Germany found that beta-ecdysterone can halt the effects of osteoporosis in rats. If those results hold in human studies, the compound may eventually be used to treat bone loss.

Antioxidant Action A 1999 study from Russia showed that beta-ecdysterone exerts powerful antioxidant powers in relation to lipid (fat) metabolism in the body. This could make it an immune booster, as it might help neutralize free radicals that can damage body tissues.

The evidence for beta-ecdysterone as an important addition to your bodybuilding regimen is not overwhelming at this point, but it seems to hold promise and bears watching as further studies are conducted.

If you DO decide to try ecdysterone, make sure to consult your physician first and ask about any possible complications.

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