very specific lock and key fit to its receptor and just because something looks like the same key does not mean it will fit the lock.

As a rule, western scientists have generally dismissed plant sterols as having any anabolic (muscle building) effects in the human body and consider the sale of such products as a scam and snake oil.

However, researchers in places like Japan, Russia and various eastern block countries have had a much more positive view of Ecdysterone and have come to the conclusion that they do have biological effect in humans and might be useful to athletes. Several Russian scientists I know, and various athletes, swear by certain products whose main ingredient are plant sterols, in particular, Ecdysterone.

Though there is little doubt that most plant sterols have no anabolic effects in humans, does that mean all plant sterols have no effects in humans? Did we throw out the baby with the bath water by deciding all plant sterols had no effects in people? It's possible.

There is some research on Ecdysterone (beta-ecdysterone) that suggests it may increase protein synthesis in people and has been shown to improve performance in athletes.

It has also been shown to increase protein synthesis in some animal's models. However, it should be clearly noted that this research is from the aforementioned countries and has never been confirmed by western research, which is considered far more stringent. Not to mention the fact that animals are not people.

So what's the bottom line? At this time I see no reason to start running to the store to buy Ecdysterone or any other product containing plant sterols for anabolic purposes.

However, it might also be wise to not close the door on this topic and be prepared to keep an open mind to the possibilities that some plant sterols could, in particular Ecdysterone, be found to have some beneficial effects in humans. Much more research is needed however.

Truth be told regarding this writers feelings on the matter, I would not be holding my breath... For building muscle, ecdysterone gets a thumb's down at this time.

Slama, K. and K. Koudela, et al. "Insect hormones in vertebrates: anabolic effects of 20-hydroxyecdysone in Japanese quail," Experientia 52 (1996), p. 702-706. Syrov, V. N. "Phytoecdysteroids: their biological effects in the body of higher animals and the outlook for their use in medicine," Exp. Clin. Pharm. 57/6 (1994), p. 57-60., Dinan, L. "Phytoecdysteroids: biological aspects," Phytochemistry 57/3 (2001), p. 325-3

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