Androstenedione is a hormone produced naturally in the body by the adrenal glands, the ovaries (in women), and the testicles (in men). The body first manufactures
Androstenedione is widely used by athletes who believe that it can build muscle and increase strength. However, there is no evidence that it works. Furthermore, androstenedione supplements may cause positive urine tests for illegal steroid use, due to the common presence of a contaminant (19-norandrostenedione).
Androstenedione is not an essential nutrient—your body manufactures it from scratch. It is found in meat and in some plants, but to get a therapeutic dosage, you will need to take supplements.
The typical recommended dose of androstenedione is 100 mg 2 times daily with food.
Androstenedione is said to enhance
and strength by increasing testosterone production, thereby building muscle. However, in double-blind studies, when androstenedione was given to men, it did not alter total testosterone levels, nor improve sports performance, strength, or lean body mass.
There are concerns that androstenedione, like related hormones, might increase the risk of liver cancer and heart disease. In support of this last consideration, there is some evidence that androstenedione can adversely affect cholesterol levels. 9
According to one case report, use of androstenedione was associated with loss of libido and decreased sperm count in a 29 year old bodybuilder.
Another case report suggests an additional potential complication with the use of androstenedione.
3. King DS, Sharp RL, Vukovich MD, et al. Effect of oral androstenedione on serum testosterone and adaptations to resistance training in young men: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1999;281:2020–2028.
7. Broeder CE, Quindry J, Brittingham K, et al. The andro project: physiological and hormonal influences of androstenedione supplementation in men 35 to 65 years old participating in a high-intensity resistance training program. Arch Intern Med . 2000;160:3093–3104.
8. Leder BZ, Leblanc KM, Longcope C, et al. Effects of oral androstenedione administration on serum testosterone and estradiol levels in postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab . 2002;87:5449–5454.
9. Broeder CE, Quindry J, Brittingham K, et al. The andro project: physiological and hormonal influences of androstenedione supplementation in men 35 to 65 years old participating in a high-intensity resistance training program. Arch Intern Med . 2000;160:3093–3104.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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