Don't Be an Andro Guinea Pig
Androstenedione (andro) - an intermediate in the steroid pathway from DHEA to testosterone - is currently being hyped as a quick fix for muscular and sexual enhancement. For many people it may induce these results, but the question is, "At what price?" Mark McGwire, one of the leading home run sluggers, is a proclaimed user - although some experts say he uses too little to be of value - but other baseball andro users have failed to come forward and many have denied using it. McGwire's principal rival, Sammy Sosa, does not use andro, and at 200 lbs vs McGwire's 250, you would not think his power could be as great, yet as the season drew to a close the two were tied. Over the final weekend of this year's season McGwire, in a fabulous windup, hit 5 homers and finished the year with 70 total home runs compared to Sosa's 66. According to one report, McGwire has used creatine for four years and Sosa for two, as have many of the other hitters with respectable numbers of home runs this year. Except for McGwire, andro has no other users among the top power players.
Creatine has been subject to an increasing number of studies over the last decade. Reseach actually goes back to the 1940s. The same cannot be said of andro. The research has been inadequate. In fact, there are NO published double-blind placebo-controlled studies on its use to date. Nevertheless, the lure of lucre has not prevented some supplement companies from jumping in for the profits, even companies reputed to be research-oriented. We hope this is a short-lived fad. Beware! By taking andro, you may be (unknowingly) an experimental subject.
THE DANGERS OF ANDRO
Andro is quickly metabolized into estrogens, directly into estrone and indirectly, via testosterone, into estradiol. What impact this has on a particular person depends on his (or her) personal response to andro, and that depends on how much testosterone is present to start with. If you already have a lot of testosterone you may end up converting extra andro to estrogen, the female hormone.1 Beware! The estrogens estrone and estradiol strongly suppress the anabolic, metabolism-enhancing, tissue-healing and fat-loss properties of testosterone. Estrogens are hormones not to be trifled with.
Steve Fowkes, co-author of Smart Drugs II and editor of Smart Life News, states that "many people will suffer estrogen-related side effects from andro that will have a far more negative impact on their health than the positive effects."2 According to Steve, andro-increased estrogen production is associated with:
WARNING: There is NO double-blind placebo-controlled published research on androstenedione. Therefore, any use of this substance is experimental.
- Accelerated aging
- Prostate enlargement
- Prostate and testicular cancers, and others
- Potential estrogen-related risks, such an proliferative changes of the endometrium.3
- Balthazart J.; Ball G.F. New insights into the regulation and function of brain estrogen synthase (aromatase). Trends in Neurosciences. 1998;21:243-249.
- Fowkes S. Questions and Answers. Smart Life News. 1998;6(8):4-5.
- Schindler AE. Estrogens and endometrial cancer: aspects of etiology and survival rate. Arch Geschwulstforsch. 1976;46:345-349.