What is Androsterone?
Androsterone, also known as 1-DHEA, 1-Androsterone or 1-Andro, is a steroid prohormone that is metabolised into a form of testosterone known as 1-testosterone, or dihydroboldenone, in the body.
Androsterone is weakly androgenic, and is estimated to have one-seventh the potency of testosterone. It is actually produced as a metabolite of testosterone within the body, but it is also found naturally in the pollen of certain pine trees (1).
The US FDA looks favourably upon naturally occurring plant ingredients, so in spite of the fact that this ingredient as in the same manner as an anabolic steroid, it is able to be legally sold over the counter in America. A number of supplement manufacturers have taken advantage of this and it has been incorporated into a variety of products, most recently, Gaspari Nutrition's controversial testosterone booster, Nova-X.
Prohormones are identified as anabolic steroids in Australia, so are legally classified as controlled substances. This means that use and possession of Androsterone is illegal in this country.
Why use Androsterone?
Because prohormones used to be legal in this country, and may be legally incorporated into products made by large and reputable manufacturers like Gaspari, in the US and other territories, there is a belief that prohormones like Androsterone are safer to use than anabolic steroids.
Like steroids, prohormones like Androsterone are used to boost strength and muscle mass, lose body fat, and decrease recovery time. Androsterone is known for its anti-oestrogen effects, and is often used alongside prohormones that convert to oestrogen. This property also makes it a popular choice during a cutting cycle.
Androsterone is also unique in that is it known to cross the barrier into the brain, where it acts as a positive modulator of the neurotransmitter GABA (2). Users report that Androsterone use can produce feelings of wellbeing.
Androsterone Side Effects
The most frequent side effect reported by androsterone users is a profound lack of energy. This may be due to its role in the enhancement of GABA, which is associated with relaxation and sleep (2). Because this substance is still legal in the US, It has been relatively well researched, and there is reliable data showing a negative effect on cardiovascular and metabolic health in users (3). Other reported side effects include decrease in libido, increase in anxiety and aggression, and hair loss.
Like other anabolic steroids, users run the risk that the body will reduce the amount of testosterone it produces in response to the presence of exogenous hormone. This means low testosterone levels in the long term are a possible side effect of androsterone use, particularly if it is used for long time periods, at high doses, or not cycled.
There are a large number of safe, non-hormonal testosterone boosters on the market, that are completely legal for sale and use in Australia. These differ from Androsterone because they work to maximise the body's own natural production of testosterone, as opposed to putting hormones into the body from an outside source. These include Tribulus terrestris, a popular and effective plant extract and D-Aspartic Acid, a natural amino acid that has been found to stimulate hormone release.
People looking for a product to lower oestrogen levels also have a number of safe, all natural alternatives to the use of potentially dangerous prohormones.
(1)Simons, R. G., & Grinwich, D. L. (1989). Immunoreactive detection of four mammalian steroids in plants. Canadian Journal of Botany.67, 288-96.
(2) Reddy DS (2010). "Neurosteroids: endogenous role in the human brain and therapeutic potentials". Prog. Brain Res. 186: 113–37
(3) Grandos. J, Gillum. T, Hodges. C, Kuennen. M. 3-hydroxy-5alpha-androst-1-en-17-one Enhances Muscular Gains but Impairs the Cardio-metabolic Health of Resistance Trained Males. International Journal of Exercise Science.