4-Androstene 3, 17-dione, 4-androstene-3,17-dione, Andro, Androstene, Androst-4-ene-3,17-dione, Androstenediona, Androsténédione.
Androstenedione is a steroid hormone. It is used to make medicine.
Androstenedione is used to increase the production of the hormone testosterone to enhance athletic performance, increase energy, keep red blood cells healthy, enhance recovery and growth from exercise, 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 reclassifies 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.
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 to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Increasing energy.
- Red blood cell health.
- Increasing sexual desire and function.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Androstenedione 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, as well as early onset of puberty.
Depression: There is concern that androstenedione supplements might make depression worse in women. This s 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.
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.
EstrogensInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Androstenedione seems to increase estrogen levels in the body. Taking androstenedione along with estrogen pills might cause too much estrogen in the body.
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.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Ayotte, C., Levesque, J. F., Cle, roux M., Lajeunesse, A., Goudreault, D., and Fakirian, A. Sport nutritional supplements: quality and doping controls. Can J Appl Physiol 2001;26 Suppl:S120-S129. View abstract.
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.
Brown, G. A., Vukovich, M., and King, D. S. Testosterone prohormone supplements. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2006;38(8):1451-1461. View abstract.
Catlin, D. H., Leder, B. Z., Ahrens, B. D., Hatton, C. K., and Finkelstein, J. S. Effects of androstenedione administration on epitestosterone metabolism in men. Steroids 2002;67(7):559-564. View abstract.
Cauley, J. A., Lucas, F. L., Kuller, L. H., Stone, K., Browner, W., and Cummings, S. R. Elevated serum estradiol and testosterone concentrations are associated with a high risk for breast cancer. Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group. Ann Intern Med 2-16-1999;130(4 Pt 1):270-277. View abstract.
Creatine and androstenedione--two "dietary supplements". Med Lett Drugs Ther 11-6-1998;40(1039):105-106. View abstract.
Foster, Z. J. and Housner, J. A. Anabolic-androgenic steroids and testosterone precursors: ergogenic aids and sport. Curr.Sports Med Rep 2004;3(4):234-241. View abstract.
Fyssas, I., Syrigos, K. N., Konstandoulakis, M. M., Papadopoulos, S., Milingos, N., Anapliotou, M., Waxman, J., and Golematis, B. C. Sex hormone levels in the serum of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Horm Metab Res 1997;29(3):115-118. View abstract.
Horton, R. and Tait, J. F. Androstenedione production and interconversion rates measured in peripheral blood and studies on the possible site of its conversion to testosterone. J Clin Invest 1966;45(3):301-313. View abstract.
Kohut, M. L., Thompson, J. R., Campbell, J., Brown, G. A., Vukovich, M. D., Jackson, D. A., and King, D. S. Ingestion of a dietary supplement containing dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione has minimal effect on immune function in middle-aged men. J Am Coll Nutr 2003;22(5):363-371. View abstract.
Lardy, H., Marwah, A., and Marwah, P. C(19)-5-ene steroids in nature. Vitam.Horm. 2005;71:263-299. View abstract.
Leder, B. Z., Catlin, D. H., Longcope, C., Ahrens, B., Schoenfeld, D. A., and Finkelstein, J. S. Metabolism of orally administered androstenedione in young men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2001;86(8):3654-3658. View abstract.
Phillips, G. B., Pinkernell, B. H., and Jing, T. Y. The association of hyperestrogenemia with coronary thrombosis in men. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 1996;16(11):1383-1387. View abstract.
Purohit, A., Woo, L. W., Chander, S. K., Newman, S. P., Ireson, C., Ho, Y., Grasso, A., Leese, M. P., Potter, B. V., and Reed, M. J. Steroid sulphatase inhibitors for breast cancer therapy. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 2003;86(3-5):423-432. View abstract.
Reilly, C. A. and Crouch, D. J. Analysis of the nutritional supplement 1AD, its metabolites, and related endogenous hormones in biological matrices using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. J Anal.Toxicol 2004;28(1):1-10. View abstract.
Saudan, C., Baume, N., Robinson, N., Avois, L., Mangin, P., and Saugy, M. Testosterone and doping control. Br J Sports Med 2006;40 Suppl 1:i21-i24. View abstract.
Uralets, V. P. and Gillette, P. A. Over-the-counter anabolic steroids 4-androsten-3,17-dione; 4-androsten-3beta,17beta-diol; and 19-nor-4-androsten-3,17-dione: excretion studies in men. J Anal Toxicol 1999;23(5):357-366. View abstract.
van, Gammeren D., Falk, D., and Antonio, J. Effects of norandrostenedione and norandrostenediol in resistance-trained men. Nutrition 2002;18(9):734-737. View abstract.
van, Gammeren D., Falk, D., and Antonio, J. The effects of supplementation with 19-nor-4-androstene-3,17-dione and 19-nor-4-androstene-3,17-diol on body composition and athletic performance in previously weight-trained male athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol 2001;84(5):426-431. View abstract.
Anabolic Steroid Act, Public Law No. 108-358, 2004.
Anon. Creatine and androstenedione, two dietary supplements. Med Lett Drugs Ther 1998;40:105-6.
Ballantyne CS, Phillips SM, MacDonald JR, et al. The acute effects of androstenedione supplementation in healthy young males. Can J Appl Physiol 2000;25:68-78. View abstract.
Beckham SG, Earnest CP. Four weeks of androstenedione supplementation diminishes the treatment response in middle aged men. Br J Sports Med 2003;37:212-8.. View abstract.
Broeder CE, Quindry J, Brittingham K, et al. The Andro Project: physiological and hormonal influences of androstenedione supplementation in men 35 to 65 years old participating in a high-intensity resistance training program. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:3093-104. View abstract.
Brown GA, Martini ER, Roberts BS, et al. Acute hormonal response to sublingual androstenediol intake in young men. J Appl Physiol 2002;92:142-6. View abstract.
Brown GA, Vukovich MD, Martini ER, et al. Endocrine responses to chronic androstenedione intake in 30- to 56-year-old men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2000;85:4074-80. View abstract.
Brown GA, Vukovich MD, Martini ER, et al. Effects of androstenedione-herbal supplementation on serum sex hormone concentrations in 30- to 59-year-old men. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2001;71:293-301. View abstract.
Brown GA, Vukovich MD, Reifenrath TA, et al. Effects of anabolic precursors on serum testosterone concentrations and adaptations to resistance training in young men. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2000;10:340-59. View abstract.
Catlin DH, Leder BZ, Ahrens B, et al. Trace contamination of over-the-counter androstenedione and positive urine test results for a nandrolone metabolite. JAMA 2000;284:2618-21. View abstract.
Green GA, Catlin DH, Starcevic B. Analysis of over-the-counter dietary supplements. Clin J Sport Med 2001;11:254-9.. View abstract.
Kachhi PN, Henderson SO. Priapism after androstenedione intake for athletic performance enhancement. Ann Emerg Med 2000;35:391-3. View abstract.
Kicman, A. T., Bassindale, T., Cowan, D. A., Dale, S., Hutt, A. J., and Leeds, A. R. Effect of androstenedione ingestion on plasma testosterone in young women; a dietary supplement with potential health risks. Clin Chem 2003;49(1):167-169. View abstract.
King DS, Sharp RL, Vukovich MD, et al. Effect of oral androstenedione on serum testosterone and adaptations to resistance training in young men. A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 1999;281:2020-8. View abstract.
Leder BZ, Longcope C, Catlin DH, et al. Oral androstenedione administration and serum testosterone concentrations in young men. JAMA 2000;283:779-82. View abstract.
Leder, B. Z., Leblanc, K. M., Longcope, C., Lee, H., Catlin, D. H., and Finkelstein, J. S. Effects of oral androstenedione administration on serum testosterone and estradiol levels in postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2002;87(12):5449-5454. View abstract.
Mecenas CA, Giussani DA, Owiny JR, et al. Production of premature delivery in pregnant rhesus monkeys by androstenedione infusion. Nat Med 1996;2:443-8. View abstract.
National Collegiate Athletic Association. NCAA Banned-Drug Classes 2005-2006. Available at: http://www1.ncaa.org/membership/ed_outreach/health-safety/drug_testing/banned_drug_classes.pdf.
Rasmussen BB, Volpi E, Gore DC, Wolfe RR. Androstenedione does not stimulate muscle anabolism in young healthy men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2000;85:55-9. View abstract.
van Weerden WM, van Kreuningen A, Elissen NM, et al. Effects of adrenal androgens on the transplantable human prostate tumor PC-82. Endocrinol 1992;131:2909-13. View abstract.
Vierck JL, Icenoggle DL, Bucci L, Dodson MV. The effects of ergogenic compounds on myogenic satellite cells. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2003;35:769-76. View abstract.
Wallace MB, Lim J, Cutler A, Bucci L. Effects of dehydroepiandrosterone vs androstenedione supplementation in men. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999;31:1788-92. View abstract.
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.