Is Ecdysterone A PED?

September 2, 2022 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “is ecdysterone a PED?”. Ecdysterone comes from a family of compounds known as ecdysteroids. 

Ecdysteroids are commonly found in insects and some plants – they are a type of steroid hormone. Spinach for instance is a good source of ecdysterone.

This article will explore whether ecdysterone can be considered a PED for humans. I will look into the research, real case studies and discuss the term “performance enhancing”.

Is Ecdysterone A PED?

The short answer is no. Ecdysterone is not a PED, it is a natural compound that can be found in insects and some plants.

It can help to improve muscle gains but the research is not fully conclusive. Different people have different results with ecdysterone. Some find that it does help them to increase strength, others find that it has no effect.

Therefore it cannot be said that ecdysterone is a performance enhancing drug per se. It is certainly nowhere near as potent as anabolic steroids like testosterone or prohormones. Even SARMs are a lot more anabolic than ecdysterone.

What Is Considered Performance Enhancing?

It is worth considering what is meant when throwing around the term “performance enhancing”. Some may view anything that can improve performance slightly to be performance enhancing.

Therefore, it could be argued that caffeine, creatine, protein powder, BCAAs and pre workout are all performance enhancing. Ecdysterone as well could raise performance but it is not 100% guaranteed to.

For my purposes I am not viewing the aforementioned substances as performance enhancing. They do not raise performance anywhere close to compounds like steroids, pro hormones and SARMs. 

PEDs also have a host of bad potential side effects. These can include acne, gyno, spike in blood pressure, liver and kidney toxicity, etc. True PEDs suppress your levels of testosterone when you come off them.

The World Anti Doping Agency or WADA as they are referred to, have a whole host of anabolic substances on their banned list. These include testosterone, trenbolone, SARMs and a whole host of other anabolic compounds.

The Research

When analysing ecdysterone it is critical to examine the research. Ecdysterone has proven to be very effective in rats but studies on humans haven’t been very accessible.

However, there was a ten week study of strength training on 46 young men that was carried out. Different doses of ecdysterone were administered throughout the experiment to evaluate the performance enhancing benefits.

Interestingly, the study found that significantly higher increases in muscle mass were observed in the participants that were dosed with ecdysterone. As pertains to sports performance, more pronounced increases were seen in the bench press one rep max.

There were no increases in biomarkers for liver or kidney toxicity. The data from this research shows that ecdysterone can be effective in boosting performance.

Their results suggest that ecdysterone should be placed on the WADA list of prohibited substances in sports in the class of “other anabolic agents”.

It must be noted that the sample size is just 46, there aren’t too many studies to go on and it is difficult to make this suggestion in my view just based on this study. However, one can’t deny that in this study ecdysterone did result in muscle and strength gains.

Real User Case Study

It is good to look at real user case studies as well when delving deep into ecdysterone. For this, I am including a case study of Drew who took two 500mg pills of ecdysterone the first week. 

After the first week he started taking three pills. He noticed improvements in his strength and endurance, he hit a bench press PR of 100kg for 2 reps. He also hit a 105kg one rep max bench PR.

He was surprised as he didn’t believe that it worked. For him he responded well to ecdysterone. However, he acknowledges that some people don’t respond as well. 

Is Ecdysterone Worth Getting?

Ecdysterone is not cheap and there is a lot of controversy surrounding it. Some people don’t believe that it is good value to buy.

There is a good video from Team 3D Alpha on Youtube which was referenced by Derek from More Plates More Dates, that talks about ecdysterone being stronger than testosterone on a mg for mg basis.

He says that ecdysterone is more powerful than testosterone at very low doses. However, high doses of testosterone will be a lot more powerful than high doses of ecdysterone. Ecdysterone works through the estrogen beta receptor. 

Team 3D Alpha is sceptical about many companies that sell ecdysterone though. This is because you can never be sure if their product is bunk or exactly what ingredients go into their formulation.

A lot of companies are jumping on the ecdysterone and turkesterone trend to make lots of money. You have to do lots of research to find reputable companies with proven results.

You can benefit from ecdysterone by eating foods like spinach and quinoa regularly. Mega dosing on these foods can be a good way to reap the rewards of ecdysterone without wasting too much money buying ecdysterone from supplement companies. 

Final Thoughts

Is ecdysterone a PED? Having examined this compound thoroughly I would say no. It doesn’t compete with testosterone, prohormones or SARMs.

There is some evidence that ecdysterone can add muscle size and strength and add lbs to your bench press one rep max. However, the sample size used in the research was not statistically significant enough.

Anecdotally, everyone who takes ecdysterone responds differently. There are some hyper responders who experience better than average benefits from taking this compound. There are many people who experience no notable benefits. 

One of the good things about ecdysterone is it doesn’t have any real side effects of note. Whereas actual anabolics can come with a whole host of potential side effects and drawbacks.

If you have any questions about ecdysterone please leave them in the comments. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

>> RELATED: Should Bodybuilders Take SARMs?


Isenmann, E., Ambrosio, G., Joseph, J.F. et al. Ecdysteroids as non-conventional anabolic agent: performance enhancement by ecdysterone supplementation in humans. Arch Toxicol 93, 1807–1816 (2019).

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