Androstenedione - New Breakthrough in Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Sex andAthletic Enhancement

Androstenedione - New Breakthrough in Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Sex andAthletic Enhancement

by Ward Dean, M.D. & Jim

a new dietary supplement has taken the sports

is a metabolite of DHEA and a natural precursor

of testosterone. To understand why androstenedione

has become so popular with athletes and bodybuilders,

as well as how it may benefit health in general,

we first need to look at testosterone.

is responsible for the normal growth and development

of the male sex organs, muscles, beard and

body hair, and plays a key role in maintaining

human health, strength and energy. In short,

testosterone is responsible for making the

every anabolic steroid is a synthetic analog

anabolic, is not a steroidi.e., it is

not derived from cholesterol. Having normal

testosterone levels is essential for health

and well-being. Lest we give the impression

that testosterone is only a male

growth, maintains mood, and boosts sex drive

many other physiological and biochemical changes

that occur with aging, testosterone levels

of testosterone in the blood that is not bound

to sex hormone binding globulin [SHBG]) drop

significantly with advancing age. Often, symptoms

like decreased sex drive and ability to perform

(libido), fatigue, depression, and signs like

increased body fat, reduced muscle mass, and

loss of bone density are preceded by decreased

signs of lowered testosterone production can

occur at different times for different men,

however most of us will experience a dramatic

decline. Even those seniors fortunate enough

to maintain testosterone in the normal range

probably had even higher levels in their youth.

Conditions other than advanced age that can

usual methods to restore low testosterone

levels to normal is to use testosterone replacement

therapy (TRT). This is normally done with

One problem with many testosterone replacement

therapies is that they use synthetic testosterone

which may cause a number of adverse effects.

Another challenge is to mimic the bodys

Testosterone is naturally produced in a pulsatile

fashion, with the greatest amount being produced

throughout the evening, with much smaller

amounts produced during the day. Although

somewhat safer than oral pills, testosterone

injections and transdermal patches can cause

testosterone levels to remain elevated for

days or weeks. The testosterone will then

either drop to subnormal values until the

next treatment is given or applied, or the

next treatment may result in an overload or

be converted into estrogens or toxic metabolites.

abnormally low levels of testosterone which

may occur following conventional TRT is caused

by feedback inhibition of the hypothalamus,

pituitary, and testicles. This can adversely

production, and even lead to testicular atrophy.

None of these problems are known to occur

with physiological (in terms of both dose

produced in the body from either 17-a-hydroxyprogesterone

Kochakian, a world expert on steroid hormones,

discovered that it has both androgenic (masculinizing)

The anabolic effects of androstenedione were

ignored by the scientific community until

1962. At that time, two researchers conducted

and experiment in which normal women were

given either 100 mg of DHEA or 100 mg of androstenedione.

The study found that both hormones led to

increased testosterone levels twice as much

as DHEA. In the women given DHEA, testosterone

levels (normally less than 199 ng/dl), rose

to 280 ng/dl within 60 minutes. The second

levels elevated as high as 660 mg/dl and hour

and lasted only a couple of hours -- and remained

at peak-levels for only a few minutes -- just

as occurs naturally in our bodies. Confirmation

of the effectiveness of androstenedione is

contained in a German patent which claims

that 50 mg of oral androstenedione can raise

plasma testosterone levels in men from 140%

to 183% of normal. Thus, we may now have arrived

at a truly physiologic (natural) way to restore

flagging testosterone levels in aging men

and women to those of young, healthy adults.

those whose testosterone levels may need a

boost, 25-50 mg of androstenedione taken at

bedtime, and perhaps again first thing in

the morning, will mimic the bodys normal

diurnal rhythms. The same dose may be taken

30-60 minutes before exercise (for enhanced

performance) or after completion of exercise

(to enhance muscle recovery and growth).

levels of testosterone start rising about

15 minutes after oral administration and stay

elevated for around 3 hours. Blood testosterone

levels usually peak in around 1 to 1.5 hours

after ingestion. Because the elevated testosterone

levels swiftly return to normal baseline levels,

there is little risk of negative feedback

may also benefit from occasional low-dose

androstenedione use. It will probably be found

to be of use in the maintenance of bone density

and actual reversal of osteoporosis. Also,

occasional use of androstenedione as a libido-enhancer

has been reported, with onset of effects occurring

within 30-60 minutes. Women using androstenedione

for any use should be careful to adjust the

dose downward -- or discontinue use -- should

signs of secondary male characteristics be

noted (i.e., voice deepening, hair or whiskers

with permission from Vitamin Research News,

copyright 1998. You can call VRP for their

free newsletter, with articles by Ward Dean,

MD and Lane Lenard, PhD, former editor of