Androstenedione entered the national spotlight in the summer of 1998, when Baseball home run record-holder Mark McGwire told reporters that he used The supplement to improve his performance. Since McGwire’s admission a Little more than 18 months ago, androstenedione use has increased 500% According to a recent press release by Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Manufacturers claim that “Andro,” as the supplement is commonly known, Boosts the body’s natural testosterone levels and increases Muscle-building ability. Body-builders tout it as a natural alternative to
Anabolic steroids. Nevertheless, questions remain about the efficacy and Safety of this widely available substance, which is currently unregulated By the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Androstenedione is a steroid hormone that is part of what is called the Production pathway for testosterone. Testosterone promotes muscle growth, But it also increases body hair, can cause acne, and enhances growth of The prostate gland. Some believe that higher levels may adversely affect Cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health. Manufacturers claim that Andro boosts testosterone levels, allowing
Weightlifters to increase muscle mass without resorting to synthetic Steroid injections. Andro is touted as “natural” because it is normally Made in the adrenal glands and testes. Anabolic steroids are synthetic Derivatives of testosterone not found in the body. In theory, Andro Supplements are converted to natural testosterone in the body. Despite a lack of persuasive evidence that Andro can actually Boost muscle mass, the supplement has been heavily marketed And is widely used by athletes and body-builders. Despite a lack of persuasive evidence that Andro can actually boost muscle
Mass, the supplement has been heavily marketed and is widely used by Athletes and body-builders. Nevertheless, according to a study by Douglas S. King, PhD, and colleagues At Iowa State University, androstenedione does not appear to help build Muscle or increase blood testosterone levels. Published in the June 2, 1999, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Study compared testosterone levels in 20 young men who were on a moderate 8-week muscle-training regimen. Half of the subjects received a daily 300-milligram dose of androstenedione, while the other half received a Placebo.
The researchers found no difference from response to placebo, in either Muscle strength or muscle mass, in the men taking Andro. They also found That blood testosterone levels were not increased by the supplement. Researchers did note one difference in the men taking the supplement: They Had a significant elevation in of estrogen, a hormone associated with Female body characteristics. Increased levels of estrogen have been linked to gynecomastia (breast Enlargement) in men and breast cancer in women, according to the Iowa Authors. They also found that men using androstenedione had a significant
Decrease in blood levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), The “good” cholesterol thought to help fight the buildup of fatty plaques On artery walls. In theory, then, use of androstenedione may increase Risks for cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, research performed on rats, published in the July 1999 issue Of Endocrinology, suggests that androstenedione may lead to increased Aggression or “steroid-induced rage” in much the same way that Testosterone does. And some researchers speculate that, as in the case of Anabolic steroid use, excessive use of androstenedione may shut off the
Body’s own production of testosterone and shrink the testicles. Finally, Androgens in adolescents are known to stunt growth, so the supplement Should not be used by teens that have not completed puberty. Despite these emerging concerns, androstenedione remains a readily Available over-the-counter nutritional supplement. Because the substance Is unregulated, the purity of commercially available androstenedione is Unknown, and probably varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. While the National Baseball Association allows players to use the Supplement, several athletic organizations have banned its use, including
The National Football League, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the International Olympic Committee. In an accompanying editorial comment on King’s JAMA study, Dr. Charles Yesalis II of Pennsylvania State University notes a worrisome trend: Increasingly widespread use of the supplement, particularly among young People. Several questions regarding safety and efficacy remain to be Answered. For example, King’s study used a daily dose of 300 milligrams, But recent advertisements for androstenedione recommend a daily dose of 500 to 1,200 milligrams.
We know very little about side effects at this dosage. The data on effectiveness also remain murky. For instance, some believe Andro may “work better” in better-trained athletes. Most of the subjects In King’s study were relative newcomers to weight training, and such Inexperienced weight trainers generally make impressive gains in the early Phase of resistance training. Those gains could overshadow, statistically, Any potential benefit from androstenedione.
As Yesalis notes in his editorial, “Future studies may need to focus on The effects of a higher dose of androstenedione administered over a period Longer than 8 weeks. ” Dr. Yesalis concludes with a call for government review of the supplement. “In the case of androstenedione,” he writes, “the study by King et al Contributes to the evidence suggesting that the government should Carefully consider intervening and remove androstenedione and its Derivatives from the market. ” Meanwhile, in light of the potential health hazards and lack of evidence For androstenedione’s muscle-building power, consumers should proceed with Caution and consult a physician before traveling this largely unmarked road.