The Science Behind Ecdysterone – What Exactly Does It Do?

Ecdysterone is a chemical that is mainly found in plants and insects that live in water. In humans, ecdysterone is mainly used as a medication for helping increase muscle mass in individuals and also for improving athletic performance. But what is the science behind this mysterious compound, and more importantly, how does it work? Well, we are going to find out right here. 

Ecdysterone belongs to a class of compounds known as ecdysteroids that share similarities in their structure with androgens. Considered as a vital growth factor of both plants and insects, there’s a raft of research that reveals that ecdysterone could also be useful for muscle growth in humans. 

What Does Ecdysterone Do?

When ingested orally, ecdysterone tends to have the same biological effect in humans as anabolic steroids, without the androgenic effect. However, it should also be noted here that because there’s no androgenicity, the safety profiles of ecdysterone and other similar ecdysteroids are far greater as compared to traditional anabolic androgenic steroids – steroids that are commonly used by athletes and bodybuilders. 

What sets ecdysterone apart from the rest is that even its side effects are deemed as being healthy, which is not something that you could say for traditional anabolic steroids. For instance, there is some research that suggests that using ecdysterone can help lower cholesterol levels in some users, while there are other studies that indicate that using ecdysterone can also help lower blood glucose levels in the body. Apart from that, there are yet other scientific studies that suggest that the use of ecdysterone can lead to healthy intestines and liver. 

While more studies need to be carried on the possible health benefits of using ecdysterone, in vitro studies on the muscle fibers of human beings has revealed some promising evidence. There is also a variety of animal models that reveal improved growth rates with ecdysteroid ingestion. 

The Science Behind Ecdysterone

Ecdysterone, also known as 20-Hydroxyecdysone, is considered to be a crucial steroid hormone for embryonic development, along with other functions such as molting, reproduction, and metamorphosis in anthropods. Ecdysterone is the precursor of 20-Hydroxyecdysone. Dietary cholesterol (present in the prothoracic glands of insects) is used to synthesize it. This is secreted through hemolymph, which is then oxidized into 20E within peripheral tissues.

20-Hydroxyecdysone activates genes that govern molting and also metamorphosis through the EcR and USP heterodimer, which is part of the superfamily of nuclear receptors. In this way, it regulates the body size of a pupa in the pupal stage. Feeding larvae a diet that includes 20E-supplements causes the size of the animal to decrease. In this way, inactivating the same receptor results in an increase in the animal’s size. Research has found that by using the same method, ecdysterone can also be used to increase the muscle size in humans along with improving athletic performance.

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