Turkesterone and ecdysterone are quickly gaining popularity, though they are relatively new dietary supplements, and there is much to learn about their effects.
Both are ecdysteroids – naturally occurring compounds with similar effects to steroids – so what is the difference between turkesterone and ecdysterone?
This article will look at these compounds, which many are touting as safe and legal alternatives to steroids and pit turkesterone vs ecdysterone, to see which is best for your fitness goals.
Although these compounds naturally occur in plants and animals, they have only recently been extracted and used as dietary supplements. One of the first applications of ecdysteroids was in a 1968 study, where Japanese cancer researchers found that it improved protein synthesis in mice.
Since then, scientists have learned that one of the best sources of ecdysteroids was the Ajuga Turkestanica plant which grows in the mountains bordering Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, two former Soviet states. However, there haven’t been many studies on the effects of ecdysteroids in humans, so there are still a lot of questions about their uses, benefits, and side effects.
To answer all your questions about these new and exciting ‘plant-based steroids’, it’s best to start from the beginning and ask what ecdysterone and turkesterone are anyway?
Both ecdysterone and turkesterone belong to a class of hormonal steroids known as ecdysteroids, from “ecdysis” (meaning “shedding, moulting”) and steroid. Ecdysteroids found in plants are known as phytoecdysteroids (“Phyto” meaning “plant”), and A. turkestanica or the Leuzea or Marla Root plants are the most common sources used in supplements.
Ecdysteroids are structurally similar to testosterone and have shown anabolic (or muscle-growing) benefits in limited studies. Some influencers claim that ecdysterone or turkesterone supplements are as powerful as steroids without side effects, but it’s unclear if they are equally effective, as anabolic steroids are heavily controlled.
Similarities Of Turkesterone And Ecdysterone
Turkesterone and ecdysterone belong to the same class of hormonal steroids – ecdysteroids – and share many similarities, including molecular structure and effects. Furthermore, turkesterone is an analog (a compound with a similar molecular structure) of 20-hydroxyecdysone (AKA ecdysterone), so the two are similar at the molecular level.
Both compounds trigger muscle growth in similar ways – they are thought to promote muscle growth by binding to the estrogen receptor-beta (ERβ) – so arguing about turkesterone vs Ecdysterone can feel like splitting hairs. Additionally, turkesterone and ecdysterone are the two major ecdysteroids found in A. Turkestanica, accounting for ~0.2-0.4% of the dry weight of aerial parts each, so many ecdysteroid supplements are derived from the same plant species.
Is Turkesterone The Same As Ecdysterone?
No. While turkesterone is chemically analogous to ecdysterone, has very similar effects and can be found in the same plant species, they are distinct chemical compounds. However, this fact doesn’t help people determine which is better for building muscle, so let’s focus on the available evidence.
As the research on turkesterone is currently limited to studies on cell cultures and lab animals, we must look to human research on ecdysterone supplements for further information. A 10-week study published in 2015 concluded that ecdysterone supplement benefits muscle growth and exercise performance without obvious side effects (such as biomarkers for liver or kidney toxicity), which is very similar to findings from turkesterone studies.
In short, more research needs to be done to understand the difference between turkesterone and ecdysterone.
Side Effects Of Turkesterone And Ecdysterone
As of writing, there are very few known side effects of ecdysteroids, though this could be due to a lack of research, so it’s too early to say if ecdysteroid supplements are completely safe. Early studies have identified several mild side effects of ecdysteroids, and some users of turkesterone supplements report side effects including:
Furthermore, ecdysteroids appear to be MUCH safer than artificial anabolic steroids, as they do not bind to androgen receptors or cause side effects like hormonal imbalances, hair loss and gynecomastia. Even the most opinionated ‘health gurus’ can agree that ecdysterone and turkesterone supplements are both safer than anabolic steroids, based on current research.
Turkesterone And Ecdysterone Supplements
Although ecdysteroids show promising benefits for muscle growth when used in supplements, it’s important to remember that many of their claimed benefits are based on limited research. However, there has been limited research on ecdysterone supplement benefits on humans, so their purported benefits are based in fact, even if there’s not a whole lot of evidence behind them.
However, while scientists have been able to measure and test ecdysteroids, how they benefit muscle growth and exercise is still largely unknown. Some people theorise that turkesterone and ecdysterone supplements increase free testosterone levels by restricting estrogen production, while others theorise that these benefits are caused by greater control over stress hormones and nitrogen levels.
All in all, more research needs to be done on ecdysteroids, but all the available human studies indicate that these supplements are beneficial for muscle growth and largely safe, so they may help you achieve your fitness goals.
Turkesterone Vs Ecdysterone – Which Is Better
Due to the lack of research on turkesterone, and the absence of any comparative studies on ecdysterone and turkesterone muscle growth, it’s almost impossible to prove which is better. Although scientists have been able to identify what is turkesterone and isolate it from plant sources, there haven’t been any studies on its effects in humans, so we can’t make a like for like comparison of turkesterone vs ecdysterone yet.
However, early studies show that ecdysterone supplements are safe and effective when taken orally, providing enhanced performance in resistance training with no obvious side effects. Subsequently, we recommend ecdysterone over turkesterone based on the available evidence, not because turkesterone is ineffective, but because we lack proof of its benefits in humans.
20 years ago, most people in the fitness world probably wouldn’t believe you if you said an obscure plant from the border of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan could contain an effective steroid, but now it’s one of the hottest supplements out there. And who knows, maybe several years from now ecdysterone and turkesterone supplements will be so mainstream that they’re stocked next to the protein powder in your local supermarket.
Although research is limited, ecdysterone and turkesterone are incredibly promising, and their lack of (known) side effects compared to other anabolic steroids could revolutionize the fitness supplement world. However, these supplements may not be right for everyone, so we recommend consulting a medical professional to learn of any potential drug interactions or dangers before trying a new supplement regime.
My name is Isabella Archie, and I'm an experienced health consultant and author. With a Doctor of Medicine degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School and 10 years in the field, I have developed customized health plans for individuals, groups, and organizations. I've written numerous articles and books on various health topics, with a mission to empower people to take control of their health through education, motivation, and support. My ultimate goal is to help people lead healthier and happier lives.
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