Ecdysteroids as non-conventional anabolic agent: performance enhancement by ecdysterone supplementation in humans

Ecdysteroids as non-conventional anabolic agent: performance enhancement by ecdysterone supplementation in humans / Eduard Isenmann, Gabriella Ambrosio, Jan Felix Joseph, Monica Mazzarino, Xavier de la Torre, Philipp Zimmer, Rymantas Kazlauskas, Catrin Goebel, Francesco Botrè, Patrick Diel, Maria Kristina Parr. - (Archives of Toxocology (2019) 23 May).
- PMID: 31123801.
- DOI: 10.1007/s00204-019-02490-x


Recent studies suggest that the anabolic effect of ecdysterone, a naturally occurring steroid hormone claimed to enhance physical performance, is mediated by estrogen receptor (ER) binding. In comparison with the prohibited anabolic agents (e.g., metandienone and others), ecdysterone revealed to be even more effective in a recent study performed in rats. However, scientific studies in humans are very rarely accessible. Thus, our project aimed at investigating the effects of ecdysterone-containing products on human sport exercise. A 10-week intervention study of strength training of young men (n = 46) was carried out. Different doses of ecdysterone-containing supplements have been administered during the study to evaluate the performance-enhancing effect. Analysis of blood and urine samples for ecdysterone and potential biomarkers of performance enhancement has been conducted. To ensure the specificity of the effects measured, a comprehensive screening for prohibited performance-enhancing substances was also carried out. Furthermore, the administered supplement has been tested for the absence of anabolic steroid contaminations prior to administration. Significantly higher increases in muscle mass were observed in those participants that were dosed with ecdysterone. The same hypertrophic effects were also detected in vitro in C2C12 myotubes. Even more relevant with respect to sports performance, significantly more pronounced increases in one-repetition bench press performance were observed. No increase in biomarkers for liver or kidney toxicity was noticed. 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".


Research / Study
23 May 2019
Ambrosio, Gabriella
Botrè, Francesco
de la Torre, Xavier
Diel, Patrick
Goebel, Catrin
Isenmann, Eduard
Joseph, Jan Felix
Kazlauskas, Rymantas
Mazzarino, Monica
Parr, Maria Kristina
Zimmer, Philipp
Other organisations
Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln (DSHS) - German Sport University Cologne
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ) - German Cancer Research Center
Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) - Free University of Berlin
Hochschule Düsseldorf - University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf
Nationale Centrum für Tumorerkrankungen (NCT) - National Center for Tumor Diseases
Sapienza Università di Roma - Sapienza University of Rome
Roma, Italia: Laboratorio Antidoping FMSI
Sydney, Australia: Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory (ASDTL) - Sydney (AUS)
Analytical aspects
New substance, not on prohibited list
Doping classes
S1. Anabolic Agents
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Date generated
9 May 2019
Date of last modification
5 June 2019
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