Turkesterone Effect on Testosterone
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.
Turkesterone has quickly gained popularity among bodybuilders and strength athletes for its supposed ability to increase testosterone levels, boost protein synthesis, and suppress hormones that prevent muscle growth.
However, is it just another fad? Is it just another wonder supplement that comes and goes in and out of fashion every few years that is boosted by social media influencers?
Read on to find out whether turkesterone is worth the hype.
Understanding testosterone and its importance
Testosterone is a hormone, or chemical messenger, that travels throughout the body and influences numerous important bodily functions, including protein synthesis, cell growth, bone strength, metabolism, libido, and more.
Although testosterone has often been associated with aggressive, masculine behaviour in both men and women assigned male at birth, its importance extends much further and plays numerous essential roles within human bodies.
Testosterone can be found naturally within the human body, produced by both testicles and adrenal glands.
Supplements that stimulate natural testosterone secretion have also become popular, helping increase muscle mass, strength, and fat loss while at the same time supporting healthy male sexuality.
One of the most popular methods of increasing testosterone is turkesterone, often combined with plant extracts to form a natural muscle-building supplement.
An ecdysteroid like testosterone, it increases protein synthesis and muscle growth - potentially safer than anabolic steroids which may lead to adverse side effects like acne, gynecomastia or high blood pressure.
The benefits of natural testosterone boosters
With age comes diminished testosterone production in your body and symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness and mood fluctuations that disrupt daily life. Natural testosterone boosters aim to address this decline by increasing its production - and many supplements also offer extra perks like muscle building or weight management as secondary benefits.
Supplements come in both natural and synthetic varieties. Natural boosters typically include herbs and vitamins, while synthetic formulations contain hormone analogs or prohormones. The best testosterone supplements contain ingredients proven to support balanced hormone levels while avoiding compounds which bind with or convert testosterone to estrogen.
Fenugreek extract, magnesium, vitamin D and zinc are among the most widely-recognized and effective ingredients used in testosterone-boosting supplements. Fenugreek is known to increase testosterone levels by stimulating LH production within the body while at the same time inhibiting aromatase, an enzyme which binds with testosterone levels in bloodstream to decrease them.
Magnesium and vitamin D play a pivotal role in maintaining regular levels of testosterone within the body, which in turn boosts protein synthesis, builds muscles, strengthen bones, decrease fat accumulation in the bloodstream and enhance lipid profile.
Zinc is another essential nutrient for increasing testosterone, as it increases production and encourages lean muscle mass growth. Zinc also prevents erectile dysfunction while improving mood; additionally, it regulates blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity within the body.
What is Turkesterone?
Turkesterone is a plant-based supplement that is claimed to increase testosterone levels and muscle growth, as well as promote healthy metabolism and protein synthesis in the body.
Athletes and bodybuilders are said to use it in the hope that it will have steroid type effects.
However, more research must be completed before being considered as a replacement for anabolic steroids.
Though named "steroid hormone," turkesterone does not fall under this category of anabolic steroids.
Rather it falls within the phytoecdysteroids group which have similar structures as testosterone but do not produce similar side effects or require cycling like steroids do.
Turkesterone, produced from Ajuga turkestanica plant extract, is a phytoecdysteroid with similar chemical structure to testosterone that may account for some of its muscle-building effects in animal studies.
According to (animal model) research findings, turkesterone increases protein synthesis while simultaneously encouraging leucine uptake into muscles which assists with muscle growth.
Furthermore, turkesterone may help with both lipid and carb metabolism processes but the results of such effects remain undetermined.
Turkesterone differs from synthetic anabolic steroids by not binding to androgen receptors and increasing muscle mass through animal studies; its results were found to be similar, though not as potency, than what can be achieved with synthetic steroids.
It has a short half life which means very large amounts are required to have any hyperthetical effect. Be aware that much of the 'evidence' that exists is merely anecdotal, and not the result of gold-standard human trials.
While no scientific proof exists to support claims that Turkesterone will burn fat, and claims otherwise are likely marketing tactics. A proper diet and training are the keys to building muscle while decreasing body fat.
Does turkesterone increase testosterone in humans?
Ecdysterones (also known as ectysterone, 20 b-Hydroxyecdysterone, turkesterone, ponasterone, ecdysone, or ecdystene) are naturally derived phytoecdysteroids (i.e., insect hormones).
These are usually extracted from Leuzarhaptonticumsp., Rhaponticum Carthamoides or Cyanotis Vaga. Suma, also known as Brazilian Ginseng and Pfaffia, contains high levels of ecdysterones.
Ecdysterones were first discovered by Russian and Czechoslovak researchers who reported that they could have a physiological effect on insects and animals.
Turkesterone is classified as a phytosteroid, which refers to natural compounds with similar chemical structures to androgens (including testosterone).
Although similar, turkesterone does not bind with androgen receptors like synthetic steroids do and does not raise hormone levels beyond what would normally occur.
Therefore, avoiding side effects associated with anabolic steroids such as an increase in body hair growth and acne breakouts.
In a study that tested the effect of Ecdysteroids in preventing sarcopenia (or loss of muscle mass due to aging) on rats, it was found that Ecdysteroids were administered for 28 days and did not affect the organ, body or muscle mass.
The protein synthesis markers were also unchanged, indicating that Ecdysteroids did not alter muscle protein synthesis.
Initial research into these phytosteroids, were published in obscure journals that had substandard designs for studies and results.
Wilborn, along with coworkers in 2006, completed the first human study to look at the effects of resistance training and ecdysterone.
In this study, 200 mg of 20-hydroxyecdysone per day for 8 weeks had no effect on the changes in adipose tissue or hormone levels.
The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition state in their guidelines that the results of most ecdysterone studies are hard to interpret because they have been published by obscure journals.
Most studies that showed promising results to date were conducted in vitro, which means an isolated system like a culture dish or test tube.
In vivo, meaning the entire organism, there are very few data. Turkesterone is not an alternative anabolic steroid to the traditional ones.
1. Ecdysteroids have a short half-life and are quickly eliminated. It would take a very high dose to produce an effect.
2. A standard "dose" is not available yet due to the reasons mentioned above. It is important for all supplements to know the upper limit to prevent toxicity and adverse effects.
3. The metabolic conversions of peripheral tissues is poorly understood. Turkesterone's mechanism for breakdown and utilization, as well as its influence on genes are not completely understood.
4. Testing is too complex genetically. It is not well understood how cells are manipulated and how they interact with each other.
5. Human models are virtually devoid of data. The majority of studies have been done on animals, in vitro or in vivo. This gives an insight into possible mechanisms but cannot be used to conclude effectiveness in human models.
Future studies could find that ecdysterones may have some ergogenic benefits, but it's too soon to say whether or not phytoecdysteroids are a good nutritional supplement.
It has been concluded that ecdysterones should not be used to enhance training or performance.
Potential side effects of Turkesterone
When taken orally in pill form it's considered safe, although prior consultation with your healthcare provider should always be sought prior to consumption.
While turkesterone has many potential advantages for humans, it does not produce any significant side effects due to not interacting with androgen receptors as synthetic steroids or testosterone do.
Furthermore, when a number of products that contained turkesterone amongst other ingredients were investigated and tested it was found that eighty-nine per cent of the labels on dietary supplements did not correctly declare the contents of the product, while 12% contained ingredients that were prohibited by the FDA.
Is there an alternative?
For men looking to increase their testosterone naturally, there are various products on the market designed to do just that.
Military Muscle is one such supplement designed to address this need; specifically designed for fitness challenges like obstacle course races and military boot camps.
According to its manufacturers, its formula will reverse any decline in hormone production associated with age while helping you build lean and muscular physique.
This formula features 11 science-backed ingredients, such as DAA, velvet bean extract, boron, vitamin K2 and zinc. Vitamin D may help increase testosterone levels.
Furthermore, there are no fillers or binders present and manufacturers claim it does not contain any banned substances; additionally they have cross-referenced their ingredient list against WADA prohibited substances list to guarantee you won't fail a drug test while taking this supplement.
Users have reported positive experiences when taking this product, including increased muscle mass and strength, energy increases and an increase in libido. According to its makers, the formula can be combined with other supplements for best results, and offers a 90 day money-back guarantee if results don't meet expectations.
Turkesterone is a supplement that sounds good in theory, and has shown some promising results on various animal models.