Beta ecdysterone, also called ecdysterone or 20-hydroxyecdysone, is a naturally occurring steroid found in plants and insects. In insects, beta ecdysterone controls various biological processe, including the progression between larval stages. In plants, a group of phytoedcysterone are closely related to 20-hydroxyedcysone. For humans, beta ecdysterone is marketed as a natural anabolic steroid, however lack of research poses questions to its effectiveness and the possible side effects.
Beta ecdysterone is marketed as a nutritional supplement to be taken by body builders to aid in building muscles. The theory is that it enhances protein synthesis, which in turn increases lean muscle mass. However, there are very few research studies to back up these claims.
Although sites selling beta ecdysterone as a supplement make claims, there is really little research to back them up. There are not even reports from body builders taking the supplement on whether they believe it has helped them to build muscle. The advantage of taking beta ecdysterone, if evidence can find it is effective, is that it promotes protein synthesis, thereby building muscle, but without interfering with testosterone levels.
Again, without significant research studies involving humans, there is little evidence to base any claims on. Sites selling the product claim there are no side effects, which in reality is not a lie, since without research, side effects cannot be determined.
The manufacturer’s suggested dose for most products containing beta ecdysterone is between 60 to 120 mg per day. However, the studies that have been conducted in animals suggest that it would take quite a lot more than that to produce any noticeable results. Studies suggest that a dose of 5 mg per kg of body weight would be the dose needed to produce results. Side effects at this level are not known, but with the high cost of the supplement doses like this may be financially limiting.
A Chinese study performed on mice suggests that beta ecdysterone alleviated osteoporosis symptoms in mice, which makes it a promising candidate as an osteoporosis treatment option. A small study did document the effects of beta ecdysterone in 45 resistance-training males along with two other supplements and found that these supplements did not have any effect on body composition or training adaptations. Several small studies were conducted in Russia. One found that ecdysterone effected an anabolic action on the contractile proteins in muscle. Another found that ecdysterone in combination with a high protein diet increased lean muscle mass by 6 to 7 percent. Another study conducted in cells found that beta ecdysterone may have glucose-lowering effects in hepatocytes (cells of the liver).