Plant Based Anabolics
This list of ingredients have reported anabolic effects that do not rely on testosterone. They typically work in other pathways that are anabolic, yet not androgenic. There are many pathways that do have this effect like IGF-1, MTOR and further down stream metabolites. Research on these is still new and although these agents don’t typically put the same amount of muscle on as hormonal items, they still have some great benefits!
Beta Ecdysterone – This is another ingredient that is constantly reconstituted in an effort to make it sound cool and anabolic. Some research was done in the 60’s on ecdysterones having anabolic effects and then it basically went dark. There is some reason to suspect that these bug steroids do have activity in primates, but it is not really strong. Either way, it seems the rapid clearing of ecdysterones in the body make it impossible to make a very good oral product. I have personally tried over 1200mg per day of oral ecdysterone and it had no effect. I believe that the studies were done with injectable ecdysterones, which is why most commercial products don’t work. The positive studies have shown in immature rats to rival Dianabol, but real world results have not proven this to be true as an oral agent. Ecdysterone can be modified to potentially increase the bioavailability by including things like esters and ethers, but up to this point no commercial product includes such modifications. Recent papers in mature mice show that it does increase strength and muscle weight, it must be just about the delivery method.
Diosgenin – This is an extract from Wild Yam that is converted in large fermentation vats to DHEA. Diosgenin has not shown to have any intrinsic anabolic activity nor can it be converted in the body to DHEA. This ingredient is pretty much a bust, as far as anabolic agents go, and would avoid it for the most part. It won’t do any harm, but it won’t do much good either. There is one study showing it to have anabolic effects in female rats, but that is sorta sketchy.
6-Keto-Diosgenin – There is really no evidence on this item either. This is a 6-Keto derivative of diosgenin and it is also reported in the Russian papers that it does have an anabolic effect. I have never used this but the reports do seem to be pretty good that it builds muscle and that it is anabolic.
20-Hydroxy-Ecdysterone – This is just another name for Beta Ecdysterone. There are many variants to the basic ecdysterone molecule that have about the same effect, making them pretty much interchangeable as a supplement.
Ecdysterone Acetate – This is simply an esterfied version of ecdysterone. This actually has some serious potential for prolonging half life by blocking enzyme clearing sites. The ecdysterone poly-acetate is the most likely form that we will see on the market.
Turkesterone – This is another bug steroid that was shown to be even more potent that Beta Ecdysterone at building muscle. Unfortunately, this product probably has the same metabolic clearance issues as Beta Ecdysterone, but if you can find a good dose of full extract, it is worth a try. It is about 20% stronger than regular ecdysterone, but it usually only comes in very low doses because of the cost.
Cissus Quadrangularis – This ingredient was first brought out as a joint repair supplement and it seems to have a very positive effect on joint health. More recently, it was found to be a pretty potent cortisol blocker and insulin modulator. It has been shown to help with a variety of metabolic syndrome effects and anecdotally has some great feedback on its ability to build muscle.
5-Methyl-7-Methoxy-Isoflavone – Better known as methoxy-isoflavone, was the first product purported to be a pSARM since it was reported to be anabolic. Unfortunately, the real world results have not panned out in this case and methoxy isn’t a very good oral ingredient. There is some support for it, topically, in a transdermal but these are hard to find. Every few years some company re-releases methoxy-isoflavone as a “wonder supplement”, but it is certainly not very useful as an oral anabolic agent.
Ipraflavone – Similar to methoxy-isoflavone, this product is almost identical to the above Methoxy-Isoflavone in effect and criticism. Ipraflavone is not proven in real world tests to do anything anabolic in muscle. It is probably estrogenic and is used in many women’s formulas to increase bone density.
Forskolin – This extract of the coleus forskohlii plant is supposed to have benefits that rival the illegal steroid Anavar. Real world examples are quite convincing that Forskolin has some very good benefits. It increases cAMP levels in the body, which can have profound effects on many bodily functions including: inhibition of platelet clumping; inhibition histamine release; increased force of contraction of heart muscles; relaxation of the arteries and other smooth muscles; increased insulin secretion; and increased thyroid function that shows it can readily affect multiple tissues. Additionally, it has been shown to upregulate 3bHSD. So, taken with Androsterones, it has a positive effect on hormonal conversion. It would seem that Forskolin has a very good chance at being a non-hormonal anabolic and is a good addition to a supplement or on its own.