Ecdysterone: A Plant Steroid

rhaponticum carthamoides

When it comes to building muscle and gaining strength, there are NO magic exercises, shortcuts or hacks.


It requires years of dedication in your training, nutrition, and recovery.


Supplements can certainly help you in your journey, but without those three pillars in place, you simply won’t get the results you seek.


So, what if you are already doing everything right when it comes to eating, lifting, and sleeping and looking to further support your muscle building efforts?


We’d say creatine, but chances are high that you’re already using it.


So, then what else?



What is Ecdysterone?

Ecdysterone (20-hydroxyecdysone) is a naturally occurring steroid found in insects and plants that belongs to a family of compounds called ecdysteroids.


Ecdysteroids play a key role in both growth and reproduction and possess structural similarities to testosterone.


The meathead inside of you shouts “awesome”, but the skeptic in you says, “how’s an insect steroid going to help a human build muscle?”

How Ecdysterone Supports Muscle Growth

For starters, ecdysterone, unlike anabolic steroids, does not increase blood pressure, and it doesn’t possess androgenic, estrogenic, or anti-estrogenic effects. In spite of this, in vivo and in vitro research has found that ecdysterone and ecdysteroid supplementation can significantly increase muscle hypertrophy.[1,2,3]


Moreover, animal studies suggest that ecdysterone may be superior to certain anabolic androgenic steroids (such as metandienone or estradienedione) as well as the selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) S-1 for enhancing anabolism when comparably dosed.[2]


So, how does ecdysterone work exactly, if it’s not having direct effects on testosterone levels?


Well, as it turns out, ecdysterone promotes hypertrophy via activation of estrogen receptor-beta (ERβ).[4] Additionally, ERβ signaling is involved in the regulation of skeletal muscle growth and regeneration by activating anabolic pathways and satellite cells as well as modulating immune function.[5]


Research involving resistance-trained men who were given either 12mg or 48mg of ecdysterone per day has significantly higher increases in muscle mass and performance compared to the placebo group.[6]


To top it off, ecdysterone may also possess other beneficial properties as other research suggests the compound may:

  • Aid kidney function
  • Support heart and lung function
  • Support immune function
  • Enhance CNS function
  • Aid antioxidant systems

Where Can I Find Ecdysterone?

Performax Labs MassMax contains 350mg of rhaponticum carthamoides extract which contains ecdysterone as well as several other powerful bioactives, including Makisterone C and 24-dehydromakisterone A.



Use Code Mass20 And Save 20%


  1. Lafont R, Dinan L. Practical uses for ecdysteroids in mammals including humans: an update. J Insect Sci. 2003;3:7. doi:10.1093/jis/3.1.7
  2. Parr MK, Botrè F, Naß A, Hengevoss J, Diel P, Wolber G. Ecdysteroids: A novel class of anabolic agents?. Biol Sport. 2015;32(2):169–173. doi:10.5604/20831862.1144420
  3. Csábi, J., Rafai, T., Hunyadi, A., & Zádor, E. (2019). Poststerone increases muscle fibre size partly similar to its metabolically parent compound, 20-hydroxyecdysone. Fitoterapia, 134, 459-464.
  4. Parr MK, Zhao P, Haupt O, Ngueu ST, Hengevoss J, Fritzemeier KH, Piechotta M, Schlörer N, Muhn P, Zheng WY, Xie MY, Diel P. Estrogen receptor beta is involved in skeletal muscle hypertrophy induced by the phytoecdysteroid ecdysterone. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2014;58:1861–1872
  5. Velders, M., Schleipen, B., Fritzemeier, K. H., Zierau, O., & Diel, P. (2012). Selective estrogen receptor-beta activation stimulates skeletal muscle growth and regeneration. FASEB Journal : Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for  Experimental Biology, 26(5), 1909–1920.
  6. Isenmann, E., Ambrosio, G., Joseph, J. F., Mazzarino, M., de la Torre, X., Zimmer, P., Parr, M. K. (2019). Ecdysteroids as non-conventional anabolic agent: performance enhancement by ecdysterone supplementation in humans. Archives of Toxicology, 93(7), 1807–1816.doi:10.1007/s00204-019-02490-x

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