- Can Androstenedione Supplements Amp Up Your Testosterone Levels?
- Why Was Androstenedione Banned?
- Androstenedione (Andro): Buyer Beware
- Androstenedione | You and Your Hormones from the Society for Endocrinology
- What is androstenedione?
- How is androstenedione controlled?
- What happens if I have too much androstenedione?
- What happens if I have too little androstenedione?
- Diseases and Conditions
- Medication Interactions
- Supplement and Food Interactions
- FDA begins crackdown on supplement andro
Sources Used in Current Review
(© 1995–2017). Androstenedione, Serum. Mayo Clinic Mayo Medical Laboratories. Available online at http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Overview/9709. Accessed March 2017.
Elhomsy, G. (Updated 2014 December 5). Androstenedione. Medscape Reference. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2088804-overview. Accessed March 2017.
(Reviewed 2015 June). Androstenedione, LC/MS/MS. Quest Diagnostics. Available online at http://www.questdiagnostics.com/testcenter/testguide.action?dc=Androstenedione&tabview=true. Accessed March 2017.
(2015 October 15). Performance-enhancing drugs: Know the risks. Mayo Clinic. Available online at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/performance-enhancing-drugs/art-20046134. Accessed March 2017.
Koch, C. (2015 December 16). Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. Medscape Reference. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/924996-overview. Accessed March 2017.
Meikle, A. (Updated 2016 August). Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia – CAH. ARUP Consult. Available online at http://www.arupconsult.com/Topics/CAH.html?client_ID=LTD. Accessed March 2017.
Straseski, J. A. (2017 February). Polycistic ovary syndrome (PCOS). ARUP Laboratories. Available online at https://arupconsult.com/content/polycystic-ovarian-syndrome. Accessed March 2017.
Wilson, T. (Updated 2017 February 17). Congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Medscape Reference. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/919218-overview. Accessed March 2017.
(© 2017). Androgen. Healthy Women. Available online at http://www.healthywomen.org/condition/androgen. Accessed March 2017.
(© 2017). Hirsutism evaluation panel. ARUP Laboratories. Available online at http://ltd.aruplab.com/Tests/Pub/2001763. Accessed March 2017.
Azziz R, Carmina E, Dewailly D, Diamanti-Kandarakis E, Escobar-Morreale HF, Futterweit W, Janssen OE, Legro RS, Norman RJ, Taylor AE, Witchel SF; Task Force on the Phenotype of the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome of The Androgen Excess and PCOS Society, The Androgen Excess and PCOS Society criteria for the polycystic ovary syndrome: the complete task force report. Fertil Steril. 2009 Feb;91(2):456-88. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.06.035. Epub 2008 Oct 23.
Georgopoulos NA, Papadakis E, Armeni AK, Katsikis I, Roupas ND, Panidis D). Elevated serum androstenedione is associated with a more severe phenotype in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Hormones (Athens). 2014 Apr-Jun;13(2):213-21.
Sources Used in Previous Reviews
Elhomsy, G. (Updated 2012 September 12). Androstenedione. Medscape Reference [On-line information]. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2088804-overview. Accessed May 2013.
(© 1995–2013). Androstenedione, Serum. Mayo Clinic Mayo Medical Laboratories [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Overview/9709. Accessed May 2013.
(2009 August). Androstenedione and Dehydroepiandrosterone in Serum by LC-MS/MS. ARUP Laboratories [On-line information]. Available online through http://www.aruplab.com. Accessed May 2013.
Wilson, T. (Updated 2013 June 13). Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. Medscape Reference [On-line information]. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/919218-overview. Accessed May 2013.
Meikle, A. (Updated 2013 January). Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia – CAH. ARUP Consult [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.arupconsult.com/Topics/CAH.html?client_ID=LTD. Accessed May 2013.
Koch, C. (2012 July 12). Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. Medscape Reference [On-line information]. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/924996-overview. Accessed May 2013.
Higgins, J. et. al. (2012). Androgen Abuse and Increased Cardiac Risk. Medscape Today News from South Med J. v 105 (12):670-674 [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/775869. Accessed May 2013.
Lebbe, M. et. al. (2012). Androgen Replacement Therapy in Women. Medscape Reference from Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab. v7 (5):515-529. [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/773774_3. Accessed May 2013.
(Updated 2011 May 23). Androgen. Healthy Women [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.healthywomen.org/condition/androgen. Accessed May 2013.
Marx, T. and Mehta, A. (2003 January). Polycystic ovary syndrome: Pathogenesis and treatment over the short and long term. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine v 70 (1) [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.ccjm.org/content/70/1/31.full.pdf. Accessed May 2013.
Riees, S. (© 2007-2011). Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. Monitoring Treatment of Children. CARES Foundation [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.caresfoundation.org/productcart/pc/children_cah.html. Accessed May 2013.
(Revised 2012). Hirsutism and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), A Guide for Patients. American Society for Reproductive Medicine [On-line information]. Available online through http://www.asrm.org. Accessed May 2013.
Dowshen, S. (Reviewed 2010 October). Steroids. KidsHealth from Nemours [On-line information]. Available online at http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/steroids.html. Accessed May 2013.
Mayo Clinic staff (2010 December 22). Performance-enhancing drugs and teen athletes. Mayo Clinic [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/performance-enhancing-drugs/SM00045/METHOD=print. Accessed May 2013.
Pagana, K. D. & Pagana, T. J. (© 2011). Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference 10th Edition: Mosby, Inc., Saint Louis, MO. Pp 63-64.
Wu, A. (© 2006). Tietz Clinical Guide to Laboratory Tests, 4th Edition: Saunders Elsevier, St. Louis, MO. Pp 112-115.
Can Androstenedione Supplements Amp Up Your Testosterone Levels?
Mel Curtis/DigitalVision/Getty Images
Androstenedione is a steroid hormone produced mainly in the testes in men and in the ovaries in women, as well as in the adrenal glands. It plays a key role in the production of testosterone and estrogen.
Androstenedione is also available as an oral supplement, used specifically to increase testosterone levels.
Referred to by athletes simply as “andro,” the supplement is frequently touted as a natural alternative to anabolic steroids.
By boosting testosterone levels, androstenedione is believed to enhance athletic performance, build muscle mass, increase energy, and improve sexual function and performance.
Androstenedione was the star supplement of the bodybuilding world in the 1990s but is today among the list of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) banned by the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency. It is also banned by both the National Collegiate Athletic Associations (NCAA) and U.S. military and, in 2004, was reclassified as a schedule III controlled substance.
Despite its popularity and health claims, there is little scientific evidence that andro supplements can enhance either athletic performance or muscle mass.
While androstenedione can, in fact, increase testosterone levels in the blood, it only tends to do so at doses greater than 300 milligrams (mg). The problem is that as testosterone levels rise, so, too, does estradiol (a major female hormone).
A 2006 review of studies from the University of Nebraska Human Performance Lab concluded that androstenedione, taken orally in a 50-, 100-, or 300-mg dose, has no effect on muscles size, strength, or body fat.
Even at 300 mg, the short half-life of the drug meant that the testosterone “boost” was only transient, generally eight hours at most. The peak tends to occur two hours after taking a dose before dropping quickly at hour four.
The study supported earlier research from Iowa State University Department of Health and Human Performance.
In this study, 30 men (ages 19 to 29) were assigned to one of three groups. One group was prescribed andro supplements and an eight-week course of resistance training. The second also underwent eight weeks of resistance training but was given a placebo. The third received a single dose of androstenedione and performed no resistance training.
In neither of the andro groups was there an improvement in any of the key performance or body composition measures compared to men who had received a placebo.
The one effect androstenedione did trigger was a decrease in “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, a condition linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
To date, there has been no reliable evidence that andro supplements can boost libido or sexual performance. While increased testosterone levels can help alleviate fatigue and increase energy, androstenedione's short half-life and side effects make it an impractical and potentially hazardous form of therapy.
Androstenedione is not among the therapeutic agents used for testosterone replacement therapy in men or women with hypogonadism (low testosterone).
As a synthetic androgen, androstenedione supplements alter the balance of hormones in the body. It is these changes that trigger common side effects.
In men, androstenedione can cause the organs that normally produce testosterone to shut down. At the same time, as testosterone levels are boosted, the body will try to maintain equilibrium by increasing the output of female hormones. (Strangely, this latter effect increases the more you exercise.)
Common side effects in men include:
- Shrunken testicles
- Mood swings and angry outbursts (a.k.a. '”roid rage”)
- Breast enlargement (gynecomastia)
- Prolonged and painful erections (priapism)
- Reduced sperm count
Women who take andro supplements often experience the opposite effect and develop male sex traits. Common side effects in women include:
- Deepening of the voice
- Abnormal facial or body hair (hirsutism)
- Male-pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia)
- Coarsening of the skin
- Abnormal menstrual periods
There is also concern that andro supplements may increase the risk of heart disease, liver disease, and cancers of the breast, prostate, or pancreas.
Andro supplements should be avoided in anyone with hormone-sensitive conditions, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Androstenedione supplements should not be taken if you are on estrogen pills, including Premarin (conjugated equine estrogens), ethinyl estradiol, and estradiol. Taking them together may result in excessively high estrogen levels (hyperestrogenism).
Androstenedione may also decrease the effects of the anticoagulant drug Coumadin (warfarin).
Androstenedione supplements are available in tablet form. There is not enough scientific evidence to suggest a “safe” or therapeutic dose.
Even though the effects of androstenedione are relatively short-lived, evidence of the drug (called metabolites) can be detected in drug screens for up to 28 days.
You should not confuse androstenedione with other commercially available substances marketed as “andro supplements.” These include 1-andro and 4-andro, both of which are legal DHEA supplements believed to boost testosterone and athletic performance. (As with androstenedione, the benefits of DHEA are largely uncertain and often exaggerated.)
There are other legal supplements commonly marketed to bodybuilders and athletes, including creatine, CoQ10 (ubiquinone), chromium picolinate, and even herbs fenugreek. In most cases, the hype tends to exceed the actual benefits.
As much as we might to think that steroids can make us bigger, stronger, and sharper, the marketing hype rarely lives up to the actual benefits. Rather than trying to “boost” testosterone artificially, consider making lifestyle changes that promote hormone production.
While testosterone levels naturally drop as you age, healthy behaviors such as regular exercise, weight loss, good sleep habits, stress reduction, and limiting your alcohol intake may help protect against the decline.
If you're thinking about using any dietary supplement to boost your testosterone levels, speak with your doctor to fully understand the potential risks and benefits. Blood tests can also be performed to see if you are suffering from hypogonadism. In such case, testosterone injections or patches may be prescribed.
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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Ballerini, M; Gaido, V.; Rodriguez, M. et al. Prospective and Descriptive Study on Serum Androstenedione Concentration in Healthy Children from Birth until 18 Years of Age and Its Associated Factors. Dis Markers. 2017:Article ID 9238304:6 pages. DOI: 10.1155/2017/9238304.
Why Was Androstenedione Banned?
A bodybuilder with a handful of pills.
Androstenedione (Andro) is the muscle-building supplement that baseball home run champion Mark McGwire made famous. But since that episode, it has been classified as an anabolic steroid and as such, it is illegal to use without a legitimate medical reason.
Also Called: 4-androstenedione or 4-androstene-3, 17-dione
Androstenedione is made from a naturally occurring steroid hormone. In your body, androstenedione is a prohormone produced by the adrenal glands, testes, and ovaries.
The body metabolizes androstenedione into testosterone, the chief male hormone, as well as into the estrogens estrone and estradiol. When using andro as a supplement was legal, it was used in hopes of boosting testosterone levels in the body.
In addition to giving both men and women male characteristics, testosterone has an anabolic effect, increasing muscle size and strength.
Therapeutic androstenedione may be used to increase plasma testosterone levels. Studies often didn't find androstenedione supplements to be effective in boosting testosterone levels.
Some studies showed that the net result was to boost the estrogen level instead, and had no anabolic effect on muscles in young men.
Used as a supplement, it as also seen to have bad effects in lowering HDL cholesterol, which would raise coronary heart disease risks in men.
For years Major League Baseball did not ban andro despite evidence that its use could be hazardous to those taking it without a legitimate medical reason. It had been previously been banned by the Anti-Doping Agency, International Olympic Committee, the NCAA, the NFL and the men's and women's tennis tours.
In January of 2005, the Anabolic Steroid Control Act was amended with the Controlled Substance Act that added anabolic steroids and prohormones to the list of controlled substances.
This makes possession of the substances a federal crime.
In 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of Andro, because of evidence to support increased health risk when using this substance.
FDA Import Alert 54-11, dated 9/15/2015, gives guidance to districts is that any dietary supplements listing androstenedione, 4-androstenedione or 4-androstene-3, 17-dione may be detained without physical examination. Simply listing it is cause to prevent its import into the United States.
The research was somewhat mixed as to whether andro supplements worked at all to raise testosterone levels, but it was shown to have negative side effects and increase health risks.
It can interact with blood thinners such as Coumadin and salicylates. It can also interact with diabetes drugs such as sulfonylurea and insulin, decrease blood glucose concentration. It may lead to severe acne or edema if taken with corticosteroids.
The US FDA White Paper on the health effects of Androstenedione in 2005 cited the ill effects they feared would happen to children and adolescents who took andro long term. This included feminization of boys and virilization in girls. Premature puberty could lead to shorter stature.
Increased testosterone in older men can cause an increased risk of prostate cancer growth, as well as the growth of liver cancer and breast cancer in both men and women.
Thanks for your feedback!
What are your concerns?
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database; CID=6128, https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/6128
- Thomson.Micromedex. Drug Information for the Health Care Professional. 25th ed. Volume 1. Plus Updates. Content Reviewed by the United States Pharmacopeial Convention, Inc. Greenwood Village, CO. 2005., p. 142.
- US FDA; FDA White Paper Health Effects of Androstenedione. March 11, 2004
Androstenedione (Andro): Buyer Beware
What is “andro”?
Short for androstenedione, andro is a hormone that became a star in the bodybuilding supplement industry in the nineties.
The substance, a natural forerunner of both testosterone and estrogen, made headlines in 1998 when a reporter saw a bottle of the stuff in the locker of baseball star Mark McGwire.
Encouraged by wild claims that andro could boost their testosterone levels by as much as 400 percent, would-be power hitters and athletes of many other stripes started taking the supplements in hopes of matching McGwire's bulk and strength.
In October 2004, President Bush signed into law the Anabolic Steroid Control Act, which added andro to the list of banned, non-prescription steroid-based drugs. Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the Olympics, and the National Collegiate Athletics Association all now prohibit the use of andro.
“Young people, athletes and other consumers should steer clear of andro because there are serious, substantial concerns about its safety,” said Thompson. “Young people should understand that there are no shortcuts to a stronger body, and that the best way to get faster and stronger is through good diet, nutrition and exercise.”
But andro is still popular, partly because of claims that the supplement keeps red blood cells healthy, enhances recovery from exercise, and heightens sexual arousal and performance.
Does andro work?
When the andro craze took off in 1998, nobody really knew how the supplements affected the body. Now, thanks to a landmark study released in 1999, scientists have some answers. And they're not the answers that andro users want to hear.
McGwire may have hit 70 home runs in 1998, but a study from Iowa State University suggests androstenedione was just a bystander. Researchers tested the supplements on 20 healthy men as they undertook eight weeks of weight training.
Ten of them, selected at random, took 300 milligrams of andro (slightly more than manufacturers generally recommend) each day for six weeks, while the other 10 unknowingly took a dummy pill made of rice flour.
Throughout the training period, the two groups enjoyed the same gains in muscle bulk and strength. Either rice flour deserves a craze of its own, or andro is a bust.
Andro failed to live up to its billing in another important way: It didn't budge the subjects' testosterone levels. It did, however, increase their supply of estrogen, hardly the goal most male users have in mind. The supplement may have a different effect on women.
One study of two women found that a single 100-mg dose of andro briefly increased their testosterone levels. The Iowa State researchers speculate that andro may raise testosterone levels only in people whose bodies don't already have plenty, namely women and elderly men.
Does andro interact with other drugs?
Since andro is a direct precursor of testosterone and estrone, it's possible that it could increase the activity and the risk of side effects of estrogen and drugs that deliver male sex hormones. (People suffering any kind of hormone imbalance, or taking medication to treat or prevent the return of breast or prostate cancer, should also avoid andro.)
What are the usual dosages?
The usual dosage of andro is 50 to 100 milligrams in pill form twice daily, but read on before you decide to take any.
What are the dangers of andro?
In some ways, users should be grateful that andro doesn't live up to its ad copy. A sudden 400 percent increase in testosterone could set off extreme aggression and possibly damage the liver, according to a team doctor for the National Baseball Association.
Still, the Iowa State study of 20 men who took andro suggests that the supplement can pose serious risks.
The subjects who took andro had a 12 percent drop in their HDL cholesterol (the good kind), a change that would ly increase the risk of heart disease in longtime users.
Researchers suspect prolonged use could lead to other problems. Elevated levels of andro in the blood may promote cancer of the pancreas and prostate; men concerned about prostate problems, in particular, should avoid it.
Theoretically, andro could also cause bone growth problems in children, premature labor during pregnancy, and masculinization in women, including male-pattern baldness, according to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.
And although none of the subjects showed side effects from their revved-up estrogen levels, it's conceivable that any man who took the supplement long enough would risk growing breasts. Good luck finding that on a warning label.
King DS, et al. Effect of oral androstenedione on serum testosterone and adaptations to resistance training in young men. JAMA 1999;281(21):2020-28.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services press release, “HHS Launches Crackdown on Products Containing Andro; FDA Warns Manufacturers To Stop Distributing Such Products,” March 11, 2004.
Varro E. Tyler, PhD. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1994.
Andrew Weil, M.D. Natural Health, Natural Medicine. Houghton Mifflin, 1995, 1998.
U. S. Food and Drug Administration. Androstenedione. March 2004.
U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Statement of Joseph T. Rannazzisi Before the House Committee on the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004.March 2004.
Major League Baseball. Drug Policy in Baseball: Event Timeline. December 2005.
Last Updated: Jan 1, 2020
Androstenedione | You and Your Hormones from the Society for Endocrinology
Andro; andros; 4-Androstenedione. 17 ketotestosterone; 4-androsten-3,17-dione
What is androstenedione?
Androstenedione is described as a ‘pro-hormone’ because it has few effects itself. Instead, it is important because of the ability of different parts of the body to convert it into the hormones, testosterone and oestrogen, which exert many effects on the body.
In females, the outer part of the adrenal glands (known as the cortex) and the ovaries release androstenedione into the bloodstream where it is converted to provide around half of all testosterone and almost all of the body's oestrone, a form of oestrogen.
Although the testes produce large amounts of androstenedione in males, they secrete little of this into the blood and, instead, rapidly convert it into testosterone within the testes.
The adrenal glands also produce androstenedione in men, but this contribution is swamped by the testes' overwhelming production of the other androgenic hormone, testosterone.
How is androstenedione controlled?
Due to its secretion from a number of different glands and its often rapid conversion to other hormones, the control of androstenedione within the body is very complex.
However, two key parts of the brain (the hypothalamus and pituitary gland) are known to be important in the control of androstenedione secretion from the testes, ovaries and adrenal cortex.
The release of androstenedione by the adrenal cortex is thought to be related to the pituitary gland’s secretion of a specialised hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone.
Precisely how adrenocorticotropic hormone and other hormones control the adrenal gland’s production of androstenedione is, however, unclear. The testes and ovaries are stimulated to release androstenedione by luteinising hormone and follicle stimulating hormone. These are released from the anterior pituitary gland in response to a hormone signal from the hypothalamus.
What happens if I have too much androstenedione?
The effects of too much androstenedione are ly to result from its conversion in the body to oestrogen or testosterone.
In men, too much androstenedione may lead to an imbalance in oestrogen and testosterone production, leading to changes such as breast development. Depending on the cause of the excess androstenedione, other changes, such as the testes becoming smaller, might also occur.
In women, excess body and facial hair growth (called hirsutism), stopping of periods (amenorrhoea), worsening acne and changes to the genitalia may result from too much androstenedione.
Although androstenedione is often abused by bodybuilders in an effort to build muscle bulk, a small number of studies have suggested that its long-term use may actually decrease muscle strength. The precise consequences of having too much androstenendione are, therefore, still unclear.
What happens if I have too little androstenedione?
Boys with too little androstenedione may fail to develop the sexual characteristics associated with puberty, including pubic and body hair, growth of the sexual organs and deepening of the voice.
Similarly, girls may fail to start their periods and may not undergo many of the changes usually seen in puberty. In addition, if a male foetus has too little androstenedione, he may be born with abnormal genitalia.
Too little androstenedione in later life would cause the same changes for both men and women as too little testosterone and oestrogen.
Last reviewed: Jan 2017
Diseases and Conditions
It is used as an alternative to anabolic steroids to:
- Increase testosterone levels
- Improve athletic performance
- Build muscle
- Increase energy
- Enhance recovery and growth from exercise
- Heighten sexual arousal and function
There is not enough scientific research to assign an effectiveness rating to this supplement.
Androstenedione is not safe for use. Children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women should not use androstenedione. Children, in particular, are more vulnerable to the side effects of Androstenedione.
It has been linked to several adverse side effects, including increased risk of several cancers such as prostate, uterine, breast, and pancreatic cancer.
There are also safety concerns on the purity and potency of Androstenedione products.
Other side effects of androstenedione include:
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Coarsening of the skin
- Increased risk of estrogenic effects in both males and females
- Blood clots
- Platelet aggregation
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Stunted growth in children
- Difficulty concentrating
- Eye twitching
- Blurred vision
- Mood swings
- Increased aggression
- Facial hair growth
- Hair loss
Androstenedione has significant adverse effects particularly affecting the genitourinary system including :
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
- Increased libido in females
- Decreased libido in males
- Decreased spermatogenesis
- Breast enlargement and testicular atrophy in males
- Early onset of puberty and disruption of normal sexual development for females
Androstenedione increases estrogen levels, so side effects can elevate.
Supplement and Food Interactions
There are no reported supplement or food interactions associated with Androstenedione.
For general use, androstenedione is usually administered sublingually or in the form of a nasal spray or capsules. Androstenedione may also be given intramuscularly.
The recommended dosage of androstenedione is 100-200 milligrams daily.
For body building, the recommended dosage is 50-150 milligrams twice daily for twelve weeks. Some athletes have taken 50-100 milligrams in the morning or sixty minutes before working out to coincide with peak testosterone levels; others cycle dosage such that the product is not taken for a couple of days a week or one week per month.
As a nasal spray, the recommended dosage is 3.5 to 15 milligrams of Androstenedione used fifteen minutes before an event to enhance athletic performance.
It is also recommended to apply transdermal androstenedione once daily, approximately fifteen minutes before exercise for up to fourteen days.
Androstenedione is naturally produced by the ovaries and testes in humans, and it is sometimes taken orally to boost physical performance. However, its illicit use by athletes has caused a great deal of controversy.
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FDA begins crackdown on supplement andro
(CNN) — Federal officials announced Thursday a crackdown on the supplement andro, which gained fame after baseball player Mark McGwire used the product in his record-setting 1998 season.
The Food and Drug Administration said that manufacturers of andro products will have to cease production unless the makers can prove it is safe. Although andro is not a steroid and is marketed as a dietary supplement, the FDA said the health risks are the same.
The agency sent letters Thursday to 23 companies that distribute andro products, warning they could face government action if they didn't follow the recommendations.
“While andro products may seem to have short-term benefits, the science shows that these same properties create real and significant health risks,” said FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan.
“Anyone who takes these products in sufficient quantities to build muscle or improve performance is putting himself or herself at risk for serious long-term and potentially irreversible health consequences.”
Andro, or androstenedione, is a hormone that is made naturally in the human body during the production of testosterone and estrogen. Some advocates say higher levels of testosterone will enable athletes to train harder, build bigger muscles and get results faster. Concentrated levels of andro are in the pills and supplements on the market.
But medical studies have shown it can have serious side effects. According to the Mayo Clinic, andro supplement use by males has been responsible for diminished sperm production, shrunken testicles, enlarged breasts, acne and decreased levels of the heart-friendly kind of cholesterol.
Officials said the move against andro also was prompted by concerns that children have been influenced by professional athletes' use of performance-enhancing supplements and the ease with which young people can buy them. Studies have shown such supplements can stunt children's physical and sexual growth.
About one 40 high school seniors reported that they had used andro in the past year, according to a 2002 Department of Health and Human Services survey.
“Young people, athletes and other consumers should steer clear of andro because there are serious, substantial concerns about its safety,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said in a statement Thursday.
“Young people should understand that there are no short cuts to a stronger body and that the best way to get faster and stronger is through good diet, nutrition and exercise.”
Un drugs, supplements do not have to be proven safe before going on the market, but federal authorities can act to take them off the shelves if the product's safety is called into question. The FDA blocked the sale of ephedra last year, the first time U.S. officials had taken such action against a nutritional supplement.
The FDA's McClellan has said that his agency is stepping up its scrutiny of the health effects of supplements and that new manufacturing and labeling regulations are in the works.
Meanwhile, Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Delaware, has sponsored legislation that would ban the newly discovered steroid THG and andro, which baseball's McGwire admits he used the season he broke the long-standing single season home run record.
“[Drug companies] have these precursors to steroids that have the same properties and also diminish health,” Biden said Thursday on CNN's “American Morning.” “I have had a bill for the past two years with Sen. [Orrin] Hatch that says human hormone supplements, andro and all these things should be treated steroids.”
The FDA's action comes a day after a congressional hearing in which Republicans and Democrats a sharply criticized Major League Baseball's lax steroid testing of athletes.
At the hearing, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig conceded that his sport has not done enough to curb use of steroids and other enhancement drugs. Selig told lawmakers he would be willing to reconsider current policy.
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