Natural Anabolics

Natural anabolic substances are the answer for many bodybuilders, competitive athletes and regular people looking to support strength and muscle gain. But until recently, proven natural anabolics didn't exist. They do now.

Natural anabolic substances are the answer for many bodybuilders, competitive athletes and regular people looking to support strength and muscle gain. But until recently, proven natural anabolics didn't exist. They do now. Three of the most effective of these natural anabolics are discussed below.

Ecdysterone

Recently, ecdysterone was found to occur naturally in plants (e.g., Suma and Rhaponticum). Today, ecdysterone is available to bodybuilders everywhere. Ecdysterone is an exciting discovery because it's thought to be a natural anabolic agent. In fact, biochemists have classified ecdysterone as a biostimulator: a biologically-active substance which can exert anabolic actions in the body.


Just how powerful can ecdysterone be? Most of the ecdysterone studies to date have taken place in Eastern Europe and Russia. Initial reports found that ecdysterone possessed a wide spectrum of anabolic effects on skeletal muscle. Similarly, according to FLEX magazine, Russian studies have found that ecdysterone may support an "anabolic effect in animals".

How do these phytoecdysones work? From anecdotal reports, 100mg of ecdysterone can help increase nitrogen retention. The nitrogen-sparing effects ecdysterone can benefit the bodybuilder by increasing the amount of muscle that can be accumulated. During a state of positive nitrogen balance, protein is used towards building muscle.

Methoxyisoflavone

Whether you know it as methoxy, methoxivone, methoxyisoflavone, or 5-methyl-7-methoxyisoflavone, this anabolic flavone compound is the most widely talked about new bodybuilding supplement in years. According to its U.S. Patent, methoxy claims to be an "anabolically effective compound" that was developed to "produce significant weight gain increase," specifically fat-free lean mass. Furthermore, the patent document indicated that while methoxy was "highly anabolic", it did not exert any "androgenic" effects. This fact alone makes it highly attractive for bodybuilders.

A compelling human study has supported methoxy's ability to significantly increase fat-free mass. Conducted at the University of Delaware, researchers examined fourteen healthy weight-trained men. Half supplemented with methoxy, the other half did not. At the end of eight weeks, the placebo group experienced an increase in body fat by 1.6 lb. In the methoxy group, the athletes on average dropped 2.9 lb of fat while simultaneously increasing lean mass by 2.8 lb.* Interestingly, these results were obtained even though the athletes continued using their other supplements, indicating that methoxy can work alongside other supplements.


Researchers have theorized that methoxy works by boosting the anabolic drive: increasing protein synthesis, enhancing protein utilization, promoting a positive nitrogen balance, and reducing protein catabolism (muscle breakdown) by supporting normal cortisol balance.* There are multiple claims that suggest methoxy functions as a nutrition-partitioning agent. It is thought that methoxy works by shuttling the nutrients you consume (e.g., protein), selectively into muscle mass. In other words, more of the foods you eat goes into muscle-building, not fat storage. And maximizing muscle growth is the goal of every bodybuilder.

As mentioned earlier, methoxy is anabolic but not androgenic. Because it's non-hormonal and non-steroidal, methoxy can ignite anabolism without altering your body's normal endocrine function. Methoxy is truly a groundbreaking new legal supplement that's sure to shake the very foundations of bodybuilding itself.

Ipriflavone

Ipriflavone, or 7-isopropoxyisoflavone, was first synthesized in the late 1960s from naturally occurring isoflavones. Ipriflavone made nutrition headlines in the United States as a bone-building supplement in the late 1990s due in part to its ability to enhance phosphorous and calcium absorption. But what has caught the eye of bodybuilders and researchers is ipriflavone's purported ability to boost anabolism.

Due to its anabolic properties, it's suggested that ipriflavone can selectively increase fat-free mass. Like its cousin methoxyisoflavone, ipriflavone can do so via anabolism: increasing nitrogen retention, sparking protein synthesis, reducing protein breakdown (via cortisol inhibition), and by promoting nutrition-partitioning actions. According to pharmocokinetic studies, oral administration of ipriflavone is quickly absorbed and metabolized in the liver.*



Research has shown that ipriflavone does not exert estrogenic activity in animals or humans. On the contrary, some preliminary research indicates that ipriflavone (and methoxyisoflavone) may actually support a healthy estrogen balance.* For these very reasons, ipriflavone has been used by European athletes for many years. These athletes have traditionally used ipriflavone during their off-cycles (periods of steroid abstinence).*

While useful as a stand-alone supplement, new research is indicating that ipriflavone could have a synergistic effect with other tribulus-based compounds. Sports scientists at the University of Toledo compared athletes taking this combination against those taking a placebo. After 38 days, the supplement group showed greater free testosterone-to-cortisol ratios than the placebo group. This would indicate that the anti-catabolic hormone cortisol was reduced, while free testosterone levels were supported.* Keep in mind that free testosterone is the body's active form of the anabolic hormone. On a related note, this supplement combo was also shown to increase performance thresholds in the athletes.

Summary

These supplements are particularly suitable for bodybuilders, natural bodybuilders, and athletes. Theoretically speaking, ingredients such as methoxy, ecdysterone, and ipriflavone might also be a logical choice for female bodybuilders and powerlifters.

Furthermore, as nutrition-partitioning agents, these substances have tremendous potential for "hardgainers", those bodybuilders who have a difficult time gaining quality weight. With their ability to shuttle nutrients into skeletal muscle formation, athletes can gain lean mass without altering their normal feeding patterns or caloric intakes.

Finally, from a nutritional point of view, the ability of these substances to promote anabolism and nutrition-partitioning can be further enhanced with increased protein intakes. So if you're considering supporting significant lean mass gains, consider adding an extra protein shake or two to your diet for maximum results.

References

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  3. Li XQ, et al. A new phytoecdysone from the roots of Rhaponticum uniflorum. J Asian Nat Prod Res 2000;2(3):225-29.
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  12. Incledon, T., Van Gammeren, D., & Antonio, J. (2001). THE EFFECTS OF 5‐METHYL‐7‐METHOXYISOFLAVONE ON BODY COMPOSITION AND PERFORMANCE IN COLLEGE‐AGED MEN. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 33(5), S338.