Podcast Episode 68 Transcript – Turkesterone

Leah (00:09):

Hello, and welcome to episode 68 of The Ideal Nutrition Podcast. I’m Leah Higl, and I’m here with my co-host, Aidan Muir, and today we are talking about turkesterone.

Quite an interesting one. Aidan knows about it a lot more than I do, but honestly, looking over the research in the last couple of weeks, it shows me that there’s not a lot to know, so we will go over it in all the detail we can.

Turkesterone is a form of ecdysteroid, which is a plant and insect equivalent of hormones like testosterone. So being that it’s somewhat similar to testosterone, you can see why people have gravitated towards this when thinking about things like muscle building.

Where did its hype actually come from? It was mentioned on the Joe Rogan podcast, and that being such a popular podcast and obviously great source of information for young men. No, I’m not going to riff on it, but that’s where it was mentioned. Obviously, Joe Rogan’s huge and he was on… So it wasn’t his podcast, it was Andrew Huberman’s, but both huge podcasts.

Aidan (01:19):

I think it was on Joe Rogan’s podcast where Andrew Huberman was a guest who was talking about it.

Leah (01:26):

Got you. And Huberman said that it basically acts the same way as Deca or another testosterone derivative. It increases testosterone performance and recovery by an equivalent amount. Big call. And there was also this other guy that Aidan’s talked about to me that has apparently sells turkesterone and also is a really big advocate for it, Derek from More Plates, More Dates and he seems to be one of the biggest promoters of turkesterone at the moment. So quite a few people talking about it, big people with big podcasts. So you can kind of see where it’s got a type from.

Aidan (02:06):

Yeah, for sure. And I guess one of the… Jumping into why does it have this hype? I think people are attracted to the fact that it is not testosterone. It’s like a legal way to potentially build more muscle it’s like, and with steroid like results in quotation marks, because no one can say that on the podcast. That’s theoretically what people want it to do. So going through the Derek More Plates, More Dates kind of thing, he did a video response to the Joe Rogan clip from Andrew Huberman because, as I said, it was getting a lot of hype from that and Derek had already been talking about for at least one or two years letting up. So he was already considered to be an authority on the kind of topic.

So he is making the video in response to that, just like responding to some claims. I’d previously watched that video a year ago or so, because I had a few clients who were looking at turkesterone and other active steroids and I was like, I’m just going to re-watch that in the lead up to this podcast just to get another summary of it again. And firstly, he addresses the claim it’s like taking anabolic steroids that Andrew Huberman made. He talked about it being like Deca and Derek pointed out only one study exists, comparing steroids and it was comparing it to Dianabol, not Deca and it was in a rodent model, both of which were not really talked about by Huberman, which is like the pretty important details. And it actually outperformed Dianabol in that study, which is wild because Dbol is well known to lead to some pretty crazy gains.

And yeah, it’s an interesting thing that obviously adds hype to it. But I went and looked for that study myself and from what I could see, it wasn’t actually turkesterone, it was ecdysteroids, turkesterone is a form Of ecdysteroids. We’re kind of talking about turkesterone because that’s the most popular form of it, but there’s not that much research at all on turkesterone, there’s no human research whatsoever and there’s minimal research just on ecdysteroids in general. But as I said, I tried looking for it, but maybe I just found a different study. I don’t actually know. I can’t confirm it was exactly the same study, but that’s what I found. Other points Derek pointed out, it doesn’t increase testosterone, which once again, that was quite literally a quote from Andrew Huberman, he says it increases testosterone. So it doesn’t increase testosterone, but that’s a positive and a minus like, or not a… It’s interesting because that’s a positive in that, although it doesn’t increase testosterone, people who are taking this also do not want side effects, right?

And anything that artificially or whatever you’d want to say increase their testosterone also means when you stop taking it, our body’s no longer naturally producing at the same level. Derek has had a lot of people do blood work while on it and showed no change in testosterone, which also means it doesn’t suppress production either. But that’s the interesting thing. He’s highlighted all of these things saying it was never compared to Deca, doubling down at being a single road study, all of these kind of things. It makes him seem more trustworthy. And I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but it’s a really interesting tactic. Do you know Gary Vaynerchuk? I’ve probably talked about him a little bit.

Yeah. So Gary Vaynerchuk is a business guy, I used to be a little fanboy of him, but I haven’t seen much of his content recently, but he tells a story about when he started Wine Library TV, he had a wine business that he was taking over from his father and he was one of the first YouTubers ever talking about wine.

And he said he got on there, he’s basically just going to advertise for his company, right? And the plan was to review wines, but make them all seem really good so people would buy from him. But then he is like, I turn on the mics and I was like, or the cameras and he is like, it just clicked for me, being authentic is going to work-

Leah (05:42):

Makes you trustworthy.

Aidan (05:43):

It makes you trustworthy. If I have a bad wine that is something that we sell and I say that it’s bad, people are going to listen to me when I say something good about another wine and they’re more likely to buy. And I think that’s really interesting. I’ve heard Amazon, that was one of their thought processes with reviews. They let people leave bad reviews on products that they sell so that you trust the good reviews more. Interesting idea.

Leah (06:03):

Yeah. It’s a good tactic.

Aidan (06:05):

Yeah. And as we mentioned, Derek sells turkesterone and so he can say all of these things, but then he shows anecdotal results and he’s like, this person took turkesterone for six weeks and they got really good results. And suddenly it’s like, oh, well he is quite trustworthy because of him saying that. He also says with these anecdotal results, that there are non-responders as well, which is a red flag obviously, because there’s not many non-responders to Dbol.

Leah (06:29):

You just don’t, not respond to it.

Aidan (06:34):

But it’s an interesting thing. So going through all of those things, that’s really how it’s gained hype because it’s legal, doesn’t have any side effects that people are aware of and there seems to be that kind of potential that people are talking about.

Leah (06:47):

Yeah. I think one of the biggest red flags would be that there’s just no human research on it. So prior to 2006, there wasn’t even any human research on ecdysteroids in general. It was all rodent animal models prior to then. So in 2006 though, a guy named Bill Campbell put a team together and it was a study of 45 lifters. And one group took a form of ecdysteroids, again not turkesterone, but a form of ecdysteroids and after eight weeks of supplementation, there was just no improvement in muscle or strength versus the placebo and no change in testosterone either.

So we do have this one study showing nothing in regards to ecdysteroids. And again, not turkesterone specifically. And in 2018, the ISSN released a position statement on supplements where they concluded that ecdysteroids don’t really do anything for muscle strength or performance. So that’s the overall position at the moment. Where, I guess, evidence based people stand on things like turkesterone and ecdysteroids, but there was one big outlier study and I am going to let Aidan go over this because he knows it a lot more than I do, but it showed some pretty crazy results for ecdysteroids.

Aidan (08:08):

Yeah. So before that Bill Campbell study from 2006, obviously no major results or anything like that. I found it really interesting when I first saw that one because it’s like Bill Campbell’s got a great reputation for doing legitimate research and everything like that. So I was like, oh, it’s cool to see somebody like literally just asked the question, does this work? Let’s put it together a study, let’s see what happens. And then there was no real studies like that until 2019, which is this outlier study. It’s the most recent study, to the best of my knowledge as well, and they got insanely good results, which is part of why it seems to have really gained hype since 2019. This study had 46 men with around one year’s experience in the gym. And they took a supplement that was labeled to contain a hundred milligrams of ecdysteroid once again, not turkesterone and they took it for 10 weeks and they made way better muscle gains than placebo, fun fact, the placebo group lost muscle during that time, which is always a red flag.

Because it’s like, what were they doing with this training [inaudible 00:09:09] for 10 weeks? It’s kind of weird, but the most weird aspect of this study, well, firstly, was that the gains they made were people have done comparisons have been like, this is better than certain studies where people have taken steroids for 10 weeks. They made really good gains. And the most weird thing was that when the supplement was measured later and they included this in the study, they mentioned this, it only contained six milligrams of ecdysteroid, which is 6% of what is labeled. So it’s like, they thought they were having a hundred milli… Or they thought they were providing a hundred milligrams because they assumed that was the perfect dosage or whatever, which is another thing we’ll talk about in a second, what should be the perfect dosage? But they only took 6% of what they actually meant to have and they made incredible gains. What does that mean?

Leah (09:58):

Yeah. It’s a weird one.

Aidan (10:02):

Yeah. And the findings just don’t add up and, I don’t know, Like speculating on what it could mean. I’m going to jump to the obvious, was there steroids in that supplement? If only 6% of this was ecdysteroid or 6% of what was labeled, what if a large chunk was Anabar, [inaudible 00:10:21] or another actual steroid?

Leah (10:23):

Yeah. If you go that wrong, that’s not just a mild difference between what they thought they were giving and what they were giving, it’s quite big. So what else? It’s obviously wasn’t a regulated substance.

Aidan (10:34):

Yeah. So I’m not chucking accusations out there of course, but I’m like, no, that’s a possibility. And then beyond that though, they had quite small sample sizes. So even though it was 46 men, it was split up into four groups and there was only about 10 people in each group. And when you look at it from that perspective, genetics play a massive role in this. I think about this a lot with a lot of the studies that we make strong conclusions from, what if some people just gained muscle more easily than others? Like if you chucked me in a study with a genetic freak and we did the same training protocol, but a slightly different nutritional protocol, the genetic freak would make way better muscle gains than me and people could read that and be like, oh, that was the nutrition protocol that caused that. And there is also a possibility that in this study there was a bunch of genetic freaks in one and then a bunch of people who just are prone to losing muscle in the study.

Leah (11:21):

Yeah. It was such a small study. It’s definitely something that could happen just by accident.

Aidan (11:25):

Yeah. So many things. So what are our thoughts on turkesterone?

Leah (11:31):

I think my thoughts were a little clear throughout the podcast.

Aidan (11:36):

Yeah. So I think you’ve given a nice summary. I’ll give some of my thoughts.

Firstly, it is expensive. I’m not going to name the supplement store, but there is a supplement store in Australia that… This was just a quick Google, I’m like where’s the quickest place I can find turkesterone and see the price, 60 tablets were sold for $89 so that’s more than a dollar per tablet or more than a dollar per serve. There’s a lot of cheaper supplements than that. Particularly when factoring in whether something is working or not. I am of the opinion, it likely does nothing, but we are both, I hope, of the opinion that if research comes out in large scale showing that it works- will change our minds.

Leah (12:10):

Yeah, yeah. Always open to hearing new research and look, if it turns out that, that study wasn’t an outlier, I’d be on this tomorrow.

Aidan (12:20):

And the other question that, I asked this of a lot of things as well, it was even something I consider with Ashwagandha, which we talked about in a previous podcast, but it’s like, how do we know what the right dosage is?

The way to figure out the right dosage of something beyond obviously mechanisms and everything like that is to do a lot of large scale research and see what dosage works best. And when I talk about Ashwagandha one, there’s a lot of things with Ashwagandha that we’re kind of questioning, being like, does it help with this? We’re not even sure it helps. If we’re not even sure that it helps then how do we know what dosage is the optimal dosage? That question is much larger for ecdysteroids and turkesterone because well, firstly turkesterone, there’s been nothing done.

How do we know what the correct or the best dosage is beyond anecdotal, what people say works for them? And there’s always reason to be skeptical of that. And then the ecdysteroids one where it’s like, well, if 6% of what is labeled, if that happened to be a repeatable thing and that worked really, really well, why did they choose a hundred in the first place? Why did they… How do we know why they chose people… Certain dosages to start off with? We’ve kind of got to find stuff that’s working first and then make a lot of studies to find out the right dosage.

Leah (13:26):

Yeah. And on top of that, in terms of cons would be, if you do compete in a tested sport, it is something I’d probably just stay away from because it’s obviously not regulated particularly at this point. So yeah. As a con you know, even if you’re considering it, if you’re in a tested sport, maybe don’t go down that route.

Aidan (13:43):

Yeah. I don’t really have an opinion on that. I’m sure water’s got it. I don’t know if it’s on the watch. I haven’t looked at that. So, but if it was on-

Leah (13:52):

I think it’s just so new and unregulated that I’d be mindful.

Aidan (13:55):

Yeah. Makes sense. Yeah.

Leah (13:57):

Okay. This has been episode 68 of the Ideal Nutrition Podcast. If you haven’t left a rating and review, that would be super greatly appreciated if you could. But otherwise thanks for tuning in.