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Androstenedione can raise testosterone levels

A study led by researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has found that 300 milligram (mg) doses of androstenedione - a dietary supplement used by some athletes - can raise blood testosterone levels in healthy young men.

This is the first study to show that sufficient doses do raise serum testosterone. The report, in the Feb. 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association also showed an increase in estrogen levels with both 100 and 300 mg doses. It did not examine whether taking androstenedione increases strength or muscle mass or whether androstenedione has long-term side effects.

Androstenedione is a steroid hormone naturally produced in both men and women. Androstenedione produced in the body is converted to either testosterone or to an estrogen. It is widely available as a dietary supplement and primarily marketed to athletes and bodybuilders in the belief that taking it will increase strength and muscle mass.

The seven-day study was designed only to test the claim that taking oral androstenedione supplements would raise testosterone levels. The research team enrolled 42 healthy men aged 20 to 40 with no previous history of taking androstenedione, steroids or any medication known to affect steroid levels. Participants were divided randomly into three groups:

* 15 received 100 mg daily doses of androstenedione,

* 14 received 300 mg doses of androstenedione, and

* 13 received no androstenedione.




100 mg/dag

No significant effect

Estrone + 74 percent; estradiol + 42 percent

300 mg/dag

+ 34 percent

Estrone + 196 percent; estradiol + 128 percent

Testosterone levels returned to normal within a day.

While this study examined only the direct effect of androstenedione on hormone levels, the authors noted that long-term increases in testosterone or estrogen can have serious side effects. Elevated testosterone levels can lower levels of HDL (or "good") cholesterol and can have masculinizing effects on women. Men with increased estrogen levels can experience feminizing effects such as the growth of breasts. Young people who have elevated levels of either hormones could develop early puberty and a premature cessation of bone growth, leading to shorter-than-normal adult height.

The authors also noted that some participants developed higher or lower hormone levels, suggesting that certain people may be more or less sensitive to the hormonal effects of androstenedione., Feb. 10, 2000.




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