When we think about hormonal supplements, we think about anabolic steroids, SARMs, and prohormones. Basically, supplements that work as agonists of the androgen receptors.
However, there is another alternative that is catching on in popularity. Not as potent, but far safer and still with notable results when compared to natural bodybuilding effort. They are called plant sapogenins.
Yes, that’s right, steroids are derived from plants. I’m going to tell you how they work, how to use them, and also discuss which I find the best ecdysterone supplement to use.
I’ll give you full instructions for using sapogenins, talk about dosing, cycling, stacking them, results in you can achieve, and finish by giving you three great plants steroid products to trial.
Let’s Talk About Plants Steroids (Sapogenins)
Ecdysterone is a plant steroid. There are hundreds of different plants steroids, collectively known as sapogenins. Plant steroids, just like insect steroids, help to build strength in the structure of the plant or the insect. They help with shedding and regeneration, and growth.
But we are specifically talking about plants steroids here, sapogenins, of which ecdysterone is the most well known.
Structurally, sapogenins are quite similar to testosterone. But don’t be fooled into thinking that plant steroids work like testosterone; they aren’t like anabolic SARMs or steroids.
Sapogenins are extracted from various plants. When it comes to ecdysterone, it is mainly extracted from spinach and then dried out and put into capsules in a concentrated format. So this is something completely natural and safe that many people are consuming already. It’s just the dose that is different.
Is Ecdysterone A Proper Steroid?
So ecdysterone is one of many sapogenins, plant steroids, that is structurally similar to testosterone.
But that doesn’t mean it’s a proper anabolic steroid. It’s not testosterone, and it’s not going to fool your body fully into thinking it is.
But it is a natural anabolic agent. And it does seem to trigger some of the positive benefits of elevated testosterone levels, but not all of them. However, it’s uncertain how it works, and what the exact effect triggered are, and I’ll explain more about that in a moment.
When it comes to anabolic side effects, things you get with SARMs and steroids, these don’t occur with sapogenins, because they are not agonists of the androgen receptors.
To be clear, ecdysterone does not bind the androgen receptors. It is not anabolic in its method of action, nor will it produce androgenic side effects.
However, it somehow seems to fool the body into believing it has higher levels of androgens, and then acting accordingly. It does this without affecting the body’s own testosterone production. It just seems to slightly increase its response.
To explain fully, let’s look at the conclusion of a study into sapogenin use in humans:
“An anabolic activity of Ecdysterone was clearly confirmed by our investigation. Anabolic potency was comparable or even higher is found for anabolic androgenic steroids, SARMs, or IGF-1. Moreover, in-silico docking experiment supports the postulated non-androgenic mechanism of Ecdysterone”.
In non-scientific speak: this stuff has some of the effects of testosterone in the body but doesn’t activate mechanisms in the body in the same way that testosterone does.
What’s even more interesting is that the anabolic effects were compared to the human anabolic steroids Dianabol and Trenbolox.
Overall, although it’s not certain how these plant steroids benefit humans, there are two schools of thought on how they work in the body:
- They somehow fool the androgen receptors into responding even though they don’t bind to them.
- Somehow, they promote protein synthesis, an essential part of muscle development.
- My own school of thought, from the studies I have read, is that they could work in both of the above ways.
The History & Benefits Of Ecdysterone Plant Steroids
Having just talked about scientific studies, I think it’s important to say that there’s not a lot of evidence out there that confirms plant steroids work well in humans in the way that anabolic steroids do.
Most have been conducted on lab animals, and the evidence is therefore quite anecdotal.
But overall, especially anecdotally amongst bodybuilders, there is growing evidence that sapogenins like Ecdysterone have the capability to stimulate anabolic effects in the body.
This means that they can produce the following potential benefits:
- Larger muscle growth
- Faster muscle growth
- Better mood and happiness
- Faster recovery times
- Weight loss
There must be benefits to these things because apart from the studies, we can get some more anecdotal evidence from the Soviet Union.
In the Soviet Union, there was a state-developed supplement in the 1980s in use that athletes referred to as “the Russian secret”. It was rumored to be an anabolic supplement that couldn’t be traced by drug testing.
I’m betting you can guess what that supplement was. Yes, it was high potency, concentrated, Ecdysterone. So it’s not new news, and people in the know have been using sapogenins safely for decades to produce androgenic effects in the body without the problems.
Remember Popeye and his spinach?
As ecdysterone is extracted from spinach, then just maybe that’s where the reputation of muscle growth from eating spinach actually originated.
How To Use An Ecdysterone Supplement
Using a plant steroid supplement couldn’t be easier. They come in capsule form, so it’s simply just a case of taking the right number of capsules each day. The best ecdysterone supplements tend to have the highest doses, and the best quality of sapogenins in them.
As an example, let’s talk about the Huge Supplements ecdysterone product. That’s the one I use.
The dose each capsule of 500 mg, with a daily serving of two capsules. 1000 mg of plant steroids is a good dose. All you have to do is take them with water first thing in the morning, preferably on an empty stomach.
I’ll talk more about dosing in detail in a moment, but that’s basically all there is to it. But that’s not all you need to do to get the most out of using this type of supplement. There’s more to it than that.
You have to work hard in the gym. These aren’t like anabolic steroids, or even potent androgenic SARMs, in terms of the effects they produce in the body.
They only work alongside hard work. Elevating your efforts to make sure you are pushing yourself as hard as possible. That will allow you to get greater returns than you can using just natural bodybuilding.
Overall, this is what you need to do to get the most out of ecdysterone supplements:
- work hard in the gym
- push your personal bests
- workout frequently
- fuel your body pre-and post workout
- look at your overall diet & lifestyle
So you’re only going to get the change that these sapogenin supplements are capable of if you create a situation in your body where they can accentuate natural progress.
This can take time. Don’t expect miracles in the first cycle. It can take two or three cycles to really see how much progress you are making.
Ecdysterone Results: What’s Achievable & Realistic
You’ll see miracle claims online about all types of bodybuilding supplements. I include SARMs in that as well. People say SARMs are as good as anabolic steroids. That’s completely untrue. Even at high doses and stacked, they don’t work nearly as well unless you do lots of hard work.
Because they are targeted to muscle and bone tissue, they won’t work unless that tissue is being worked out hard.
So it’s the same with using sapogenins. But if you work hard the gains can be there. What I mean by that is that the gains will be more than you can achieve naturally. Don’t expect miracles, but you can certainly put on more lean muscle mass than you can naturally.
Overall, my experiences point to around 10% extra gains, plus leaner and harder muscle, and some strength gains when compared to natural bodybuilding.
So realistically, I see plant steroids as a stepping stone between natural bodybuilding and SARMs. Let me explain what I mean by the progression I have used myself over the past five years:
- Completely natural bodybuilding
- Natural bodybuilding supported by supplements (caffeine, protein)
- Bodybuilding supported by more advanced natural supplements
- Bodybuilding accelerated by sapogenins
- Bodybuilding accelerated by sapogenins and advanced natural supplements
- Non-androgenic SARMs
- Mildly androgenic and non-androgenic SARMs
- Strongly androgenic SARMs supported by non-androgenic SARMs
As you can see from that progression, sapogenins fit into the middle of it. So if you have already been naturally bodybuilding and hit a brick wall, and then you’ve started using everyday supplements, and then perhaps used stuff like pre-workout supplements, then it’s time to consider the next step, which is strong sapogenins.
Dosing & Cycling Beta-Ecdysterone
We’ve already briefly covered dosing sapogenin supplements like ecdysterone. To be honest, because there is not much to go on in terms of studies, you have to work out what the dose should be from anecdotal evidence.
I mentioned that the Soviets use it, but we have no idea about what dosage they were using it out. The good quality ecdysterone or similar, 1000 mg per day seems to be the entry-level dose. With few side effects reported beyond nausea, it doesn’t seem to be a problem.
I would personally say start at 1000 mg per day. If your first cycle doesn’t produce any results, double that to 2000 mg per day for the second cycle. At that point, take 1000 mg per day first thing in the morning, and 1000 mg in the evening after you have worked out.
For cycle length, because there are no side effects that seem to be in evidence, you could use it indefinitely. But I always think it’s a good idea to give your body a break.
The Huge Supplements ecdysterone product recommends a cycle length of eight weeks. I actually think that’s a bit short and is more about the number pills they supply in each pill bottle (four weeks supplied).
I personally use a 12 week cycle. That way you get plenty of time for things to develop and to see the results.
For stacking, I see no problem with stacking it with anything to be honest, because it doesn’t cause interaction problems.
But obviously, you want to give yourself a break. That’s why recommended a maximum 12 week cycle.
I wouldn’t really recommend you stack sapogenins with SARMs. There isn’t really any point, and it could make it more difficult to see how the SARMs are working. But you can stack with no problem.
You can also stack ecdysterone with other natural bodybuilding supplements of any type, even those which can boost testosterone levels.
My Top Pick: Huge Supplements Ecdysterone
I hope this brief ecdysterone review has been helpful to you. The results can be pronounced, as long as you follow what I’ve said here. My top pick for the best ecdysterone supplement is the one from Huge Supplements.
You’ll get 60 capsules, each dosing 500 mg, for $69.95. Basically, a full month’s supply.
Second Best: Huge Supplements Sapogenix
My second recommendation is another huge supplements product. It’s called Sapogenix. It contains six different sapogenins (but not huge ecdysterone). You’ll get a total dose per capsule of 250 mg, with the daily dose at 500 mg.
There’s no reason why you can stack this with an ecdysterone supplement to maximize your gains.
Notable Alternative: Science.bio Beta-Ecdysterone
An alternative I also use is the ecdysterone supplement from Science. bio.
This is supplied as a powder. So not so easy in terms of daily dosing, but it does work out cheaper. 10 g @ 95% pure ecdysterone costs $79. So if you don’t mind messing around with powder, you can get double the quantity for the same price as the convenient capsule supplements.