Episode 68 – Turkesterone

Key Topics Covered

What is Turkesterone? 

  • It is a form of ecdysteroid – which is a plant and insect equivalent of hormones like testosterone. 

Why does it have any hype? 

  • It has been mentioned in a variety of sources – probably the most popular is Joe Rogan’s podcast with Andrew Huberman:  
  • Huberman said “it acts the same way as Deca or another testosterone derivative. It increases testosterone, performance and recovery by an equivalent amount.” 
  • More Plates More Dates (Derek). – Has gone deep on this. From what I’ve seen he is the biggest promoter. 

In a video response to the Joe Rogan clip there was the following: 

  • Firstly, he addressed the claim that it is like taking anabolic steroids. Only one study exists comparing it to steroids, Dianabol in this case (not Deca). In a rodent model. And it outperformed dianabol – which is wild. This adds hype to it. From what I could find – it was actually ecdysteroids in this study too, not turkesterone specifically, but obviously, I can’t confirm I found the same study he talked about. 
  • Derek also highlighted that it doesn’t increase testosterone, which goes against Hubermans claim. It doesn’t work through that mechanism + the anecdotal bloodwork showed no change in test. It also did not suppress natural production either. 
  • Him highlighting that it was never compared to Deca AND doubling down on it being based on a single rodent study makes him seem more trustworthy. Him acknowledging the flaws makes him seem more likely to be right.  
  • He talks about a lot of anecdotal case studies who got good results. But then also said there were “non-responders.” 
  • He also owns a supplement company which sells Turkesterone and he mentions that every time he makes a video about it, he sells out. 
  • The real reason it has gained any hype is because it is legal + doesn’t have any of the side effects of actually using steroids. 

What does the research show? 

  • No human research on turkesterone.  
  • Prior to 2006, there wasn’t even human research on any form of ecdysteroids, even though animal studies started in 1978 (with nothing overly interesting) 
  • In 2006, Bill Campbell and his team put together a study with 45 lifters and one group took the form of ecdysteroids (NOT turkesterone specifically). After 8 weeks of supplementation, there was no improvement in muscle or strength vs placebo. No change in testosterone either. 
  • In 2018 ISSN released a position stand on supplements where they concluded that ecdysteroids don’t really do anything for muscle, strength, or performance. 
  • Then in 2019 – the most recent study to the best of my knowledge, there was an insanely good result. It was on 46 men with ~1 year of experience and they took a supp that was labelled to contain 100mg of ecdysterone (NOT Turkesterone) for 10 weeks. They made way better muscle gains than placebo. The placebo group lost muscle during this time, which is kind of weird. But the most weird aspect of this study was that the supplement actually only contained 6mg of ecdysterone (6% of what was labelled). 

There are a lot of theories as to why the 2019 study somehow had this wild result, even though the supplements barely had the dosage. When you factor in a small sample size e.g. there were only ~10 people in each group – since there were actually 4 groups – it could even be as simple as genetics playing a huge role. Either way, the findings just don’t add up. 

What are our thoughts?  

  • Expensive – $89 for 60 tablets through Elite Supps 
  • Likely does nothing 
  • Another thing to consider – how do we know what the “right” dosage is to supplement with is without large-scale research? 
  • If research comes out showing it does something, we will change our minds 

Links/Resources Mentioned

Studies Mentioned

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