What is Androstenedione?
Androstenedione is a steroid hormone which is mainly used to make medicine. It is widely used in the production of several drugs, but it comes with its own set of issues. Now, the main problem with this product is that it has been banned by a lot of reputed organizations, yet still, a lot of companies use it as it comes with its fair share of advantages. Androstenedione is mainly used to increase the production of testosterone in the body. The main aim is always to enhance athletic performance, increase energy or even to keep red blood cells healthy. It also helps in enhancing recovery as well as growth from exercise. It is also highly used to increase sexual desire and performance as well as the supplements that have the same functionality. Due to its advantages, several people prefer to use the substance, but as there is no way you can directly ingest Androstenedione, it is highly advised that you check the main constituents of testosterone or estrogen supplements to get the benefits of it.
The product is popularly used as a common supplement by various known celebrities as well. It is known to be used by the baseball home run hitter Mark McGwire and a few other professional sports players in the initial times as it was widely used back then. In January 2005, the United States passed legislation which was known as the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 and androstenedione was reclassified from a dietary supplement and was put under the category of an anabolic steroid, which is a schedule III controlled substance. Androstenedione is known as a precursor of testosterone and other androgens, as well as of estrogens like estrone, in the body, and is used in addition to functioning as an endogenous prohormone. This product also has a weak androgenic activity.
While it has mainly been found to possess a lot of estrogenic activity, which is similar to other DHEA metabolites, it is also in contrast to androstenediol, which has a low affinity for the estrogen receptors, with less than 0.01% of the affinity of estradiol for both the ERα and ERβ.
It is also often described as a ‘pro-hormone’ because it has very few effects itself. But, it is also crucial because of its ability to different parts of the body to convert it into various hormones- namely testosterone and estrogen, which exert many effects on both- males and females.
When it comes to females, the outer part of the adrenal glands (known as the cortex), as well as ovaries, release androstenedione into the bloodstream which is then converted to provide around half of all the testosterone required along with all of the body’s oestrone, which is a form of estrogen. Although the testes produce large amounts of androstenedione in males, they secrete only a little amount of this into the blood and, instead, it rapidly converts it into testosterone inside the testes. The adrenal glands are also known to produce androstenedione in men, but this contribution is nothing as compared to the overwhelming production of the other androgenic hormone, testosterone by the testes.
How can one control androstenedione?
The production and conversion of androstenedione within the body are very complicated because of its rapid conversion and production by different glands which are present in the body. In other words, androstenedione reacts in a complicated way with the body. However, there are two critical parts of the brain (the hypothalamus and pituitary gland), which are known to be crucial for the control of androstenedione secretion from the testes, ovaries as well as the adrenal cortex. The release of androstenedione by the adrenal cortex is considered to be connected to the secretion of a specific hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone by the pituitary gland. The testes and ovaries are further stimulated to release it by the luteinizing hormone as well as the follicle stimulating hormone. These are then further released from the anterior pituitary gland in response to a hormone signal that comes from the hypothalamus.
What happens if one has too much androstenedione?
The effects of too much androstenedione can only rise as a result of its conversion in the body to either of the hormones- estrogen or testosterone.
- In men, if it is too much, then it will lead to an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone production, which can further aggravate into effects such as breast development. It highly depends on the cause of the excess androstenedione. There may be other changes too, for example, the testes becoming smaller. These appearances are rare but not unheard of.
- In women too the imbalance can occur, and the excess body and facial hair growth (also known as hirsutism) might be one of the most prominent blows to one’s look. After which, the stopping of periods (also known as amenorrhoea), aggravation of acne as well as changes to the genitalia may occur as a consequence of too much androstenedione.
- Androstenedione is highly abused by bodybuilders, especially to build muscle bulk, related to which, some studies have proven that its long-term use may also decrease muscle strength. However, fixed and clear consequences of too much androstenedione being present are still unknown.
What happens if one has little androstenedione?
Men, who have very little androstenedione may fail to develop various sexual characteristics which are associated with puberty, such as the growth of public and body hair, the growth of the sexual organs as well as the deepening of voice and baritone. Similarly, even girls may fail to get their periods and may not face any of the changes usually witnessed in puberty. Additionally, a male fetus which has very little androstenedione may also be born with abnormal genitalia. Low production of the product in later life would cause the same changes for both men and women as would be caused by the low production of testosterone and estrogen. Androstenedione is a good supplement to fix issues such as the above-mentioned ones.
There is no product which gives out pure androstenedione. It is a component of most hormonal medicines. However, the excess and the deficiency both can create a problem, and you are highly advised to consult a doctor before starting consumption. Overall, it is a fairly decent supplement for those who want to fix their hormonal issues and problems. But it must be noted that these issues can only be diagnosed by licensed medical practitioners and self-diagnosis or self-medication can have some serious ill effects on the body. Medicines and supplements with Androstenedione are available throughout the United States with a prescription, but you may come across issues regarding the procurement in other countries as the laws and the practices differ from country to country.
Thomas Matthys a former world-class track & field athlete and the founder of Swol Headquarters. He graduated from the University of Fordham with a Master’s degree in Science. Matthys is a certified sports nutritionist and personal coach of several professional athletes. Matthys has been involved in various clinical studies within Track & Field including one on the factors associated with muscle recovery and HIIT.