Function, Sources and Benefits of the Health Supplement Ingredient Beta-Ecdysterone, or 20-Hydroxyecdysone
Beta-ecdysterone – also known as 20-hydroxyecdysone, beta-ecdysone and 20-hydroxy-beta-ecdysterone – is a phytoecdysteroid, or plant-derived ecdysteroid. Ecdysterone is present within arthropods (insects and marine invertebrates) as well as various plants and fungi. The plant-based version of beta-ecdysterone is used as an ingredient in natural health and bodybuilding supplements, such as DBol-GH.
Functions of Beta-Ecdysterone
In arthropods, ecdysterone controls molting and metamorphosis. It is believed that plants produce phytoecdysteroids as a natural defense against plant-eating insects, as they can cause premature molting and other metabolic damage. Plant-derived beta-ecdysterone is structurally similar to testosterone and has been shown to affect steroid receptors in animal tests. These anabolic properties have led to its use in health and bodybuilding supplements.
Sources of Beta-Ecdysterone
While ecdysterone is naturally produced in insects, crabs and other arthropods, the type most commonly consumed by humans is extracted from plants and taken in capsule form as a natural dietary supplement. Among the many plants that contain beta-ecdysterone are Suma (Hebanthe Eriantha, also known as Brazilian Ginseng), Maral Root (Rhaponticum Carthamoides), Leuzea (Leuzea Carthamoides), Ox Knee (Achyranthes Bidentata), Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia), Serratula (Serratula Coronata) and Cyanotis Vaga.
Beta-Ecdysterone Benefits and Uses
Animal studies have shown that phytoecdysteroids play a role in protein biosynthesis; these anabolic properties suggest they may have a positive impact on human metabolism. Accordingly, beta-ecdysterone is primarily used in health and bodybuilding supplements to help increase muscle mass, enhance muscle definition, reduce body fat and improve athletic performance. Research has also indicated that beta-ecdysterone may provide other health benefits, such as protecting the cardiovascular system, suppressing degenerative diseases, improving glucose metabolism, supporting wound healing, enhancing skin condition and preventing oxidative damage to human lens epithelial cells.
Side Effects of Beta-Ecdysterone and Potential Interactions
At present, there do not appear to be any known side effects or potential interactions associated with beta-ecdysterone. However, as with any medication or health supplement, it is best to consult your physician before taking supplements containing beta-ecdysterone.
Beta-Ecdysterone and Studies
Numerous studies have been conducted concerning the benefits of beta-ecdysterone. Among those cited in support of its use as a bodybuilding supplement is a study by Russian researchers published in Eksperimental’naia i Klinicheskaia Farmakologiia, which found that beta-ecdysterone contributed to muscle mass increases while reducing body fat content in human subjects. Another report published by Czech scientists in Experientia indicated that beta-ecdysterone consumed by Japanese quail resulted in a 115% increase in body mass. And Diabetes, A Journal of The American Diabetes Association, reported an animal study showing that beta-ecdysterone resulted in lower body weight, improved glucose metabolism and enhanced muscle insulin signaling.
Additional benefits have emerged following international research into the use of beta-ecdysterone. Czech researchers discussed the positive biological effects of beta-ecdysterone in Natural Product Communications, theorizing that the substance has the potential to protect organisms from degenerative diseases, suppress neurodegenerative processes and protect the cardiovascular system. Menopause, The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, featured an animal study that suggested beta-ecdysterone could improve skin condition in postmenopausal women. And the International Journal of Ophthalmology published a Chinese study on senile cataracts, which found that beta-ecdysterone could inhibit oxidative damage in human lens epithelial cells
For additional research related to ecdysterone, refer to the PubMed site sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
HGH.com Supplements With Beta-Ecdysterone
Those seeking to leverage the anabolic effects of beta-ecdysterone can find this plant-based ecdysteroid in a popular natural health and bodybuilding supplement from HGH.com:
DBol-GH – Beta-ecdysterone (20-Hydroxyecdysone) is a featured ingredient within the proprietary blend content of DBol-GH, which is formulated to increase human growth hormone (HGH) levels, build muscle and increase lean mass. The active ingredients in DBol-GH capsules are designed to stack and work together, making it a popular choice among athletes and bodybuilders seeking visible results.
References (Function, Sources, Benefits/Uses and Side Effects/Interactions):
Bruno, Gene. “20-Hydroxyecdysone: The Pro-Anabolic, Plant Steroid”; Smart Supplementation, published by Huntington College of Health Sciences; 2001. <http://www.hchs.edu/literature/20-Hyroxyecdysone.pdf>
Deuster, Patricia; Maier, Steven; et al. “Testosterone Enhancers: Ecdysterone (20-Beta-Hydroxyecdysterone)”; Dietary Supplements and Military Divers: A Synopsis for Undersea Medical Officers, published by Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; January 2004. <http://hprc-online.org/dietary-supplements/files/DietarySupplementUMO.pdf>
Freedman, Lisa. “Beta-Ecdysterone” in “Supplement Guide: A-Z”; Men’s Fitness website; accessed July 23, 2014. <http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/supplements/beta-ecdysterone>
Cahlíková, Lucie; Macáková, Kateřina. “Ecdysterone and its activity on some degenerative diseases”; Natural Product Communications; May 2011. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21615037>
Ehrhardt, Caroline; Wessels, Johannes T.; et al. “The Effects of 20-Hydroxyecdysone and 17β-Estradiol on the Skin of Ovariectomized Rats”; Menopause; March 2011. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21030883>