4-Androstene 3, 17-dione, 4-androstene-3,17-dione, Andro, Androstene, Androst-4-ene-3,17-dione, Androstenediona, Androsténédione.
Overview InformationAndrostenedione is a steroidhormone. It is used to make medicine.
Androstenedione is used to increase the production of the hormone testosterone to enhance athletic performance, build muscle, reduce body fat, increase energy, keep red blood cells healthy, and increase sexual desire and performance.
Androstenedione gained popularity as the supplement used by the baseball homerun hitter Mark McGwire and other professional sports players. In January 2005 legislation went into effect in the United States called the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004. This reclassified androstenedione from a dietary supplement to an anabolic steroid, which is a schedule III controlled substance.
Androstenedione is considered a banned substance by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
How does it work?Androstenedione is a steroid hormone used by the body to make testosterone and estrogen.
Uses & Effectiveness
Likely InEffective for
- Enhancing athletic performance. Taking androstenedione by mouth in doses of 100-300 mg per day does not significantly increase muscle strength, muscle size, or lean body mass when used for 2-3 months in connection with weight training.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Increasing energy.
- Red blood cell health.
- Increasing sexual desire and function.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyAndrostenedione is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for most people when taken by mouth. Some side effects experienced by men include reduced sperm production, shrunken testicles, painful or prolonged erections, breast development, behavioral changes, heart disease, and others. Women might develop masculine traits including deepening of the voice, facial hair, acne, male-pattern baldness, and coarsening of the skin. Women may also experience abnormal menstrual periods and depression. Androstenedione can increase the chances of getting cancers of the breast, prostate, or pancreas; and it is poisonous to the liver.
There is some concern that the strength and purity of androstenedione products may not match the product labeling.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Androstenedione is LIKELY UNSAFE to use during pregnancy. It might bring on labor and cause a miscarriage.
Not enough is known about the safety of using androstenedione during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Children: In children, androstenedione is LIKELY UNSAFE as it might stop bone growth and lead to shorter adult height. It might also cause early onset of puberty.
Depression: There is concern that androstenedione supplements might make depression worse in women. This is because some women with severe major depression have naturally high levels of androstenedione, so some people think there may be a connection. However, it is not known if taking androstenedione supplements causes depression.
Hormone-sensitive cancers and conditions: Androstenedione is the steroid hormone used by the body to make testosterone and estrogen. Taking androstenedione seems to increase estrogen levels. Men and women with hormone sensitive conditions should avoid androstenedione. Some of these conditions include breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancer; endometriosis; and uterine fibroids.
Liver disease: There is some concern that androstenedione might harm the liver. So far, no such cases have been reported, but steroids similar to androstenedione have been connected to liver problems. Don't take androstenedione if you have any type of liver disease. Even if you don't have liver disease, it's best to get liver function tests if you take androstenedione.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): There is concern that androstenedione supplements might worsen symptoms of PCOS. This is because women with PCOS have naturally high levels of androstenedione. But it is not known if taking androstenedione supplements actually worsens symptoms of PCOS.
Prostate cancer: There is some concern that androstenedione might increase the chances of developing prostate cancer. Developing research suggests that androstenedione can encourage prostate tumor cell growth. Don't use androstenedione if you have prostate cancer.
Be cautious with this combination
Estrogens interacts with ANDROSTENEDIONE
Androstenedione seems to increase estrogen levels in the body. Taking androstenedione along with estrogen pills might cause too much estrogen in the body.
Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.
The appropriate dose of androstenedione depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for androstenedione. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
- Barrett-Connor, E., Garland, C., McPhillips, J. B., Khaw, K. T., and Wingard, D. L. A prospective, population-based study of androstenedione, estrogens, and prostatic cancer. Cancer Res 1-1-1990;50(1):169-173. View abstract.
- Broeder, C. E. Oral andro-related prohormone supplementation: do the potential risks outweigh the benefits? Can J Appl Physiol 2003;28(1):102-116. View abstract.
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- Anabolic Steroid Act, Public Law No. 108-358, 2004.
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- Weber B, Lewicka S, Deuschle M, et al. Testosterone, androstenedione and dihydrotestosterone concentrations are elevated in female patients with major depression. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2000;25:765-71. View abstract.
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