Discovered in 1931, Androsterone, an androgenic steroid derived from the 5AR enzyme that closely resembles DHT yet has similar has similar properties of progesterone without the anti-androgenic effects. It has been in the spotlight recently from all different kinds of forums, whether it be from its cognitive, anti anxiety type effects through the GABA-A receptor modulation or significantly strong estrogen reducing capabilities. It’s one of those steroids that gets severely overlooked due to it’s description about being “weak” in an androgenic nature (about 1/7th of testosterone) and considered an “inactive” metabolite.
The interesting thing is that androsterone was actually considered a cholesterol lowering drug back in the 1960’s. However, it works in a different and healthier mechanism compared to the disgusting liver destroying statins today. Androsterone actually lowers cholesterol the proper way through its pro-metabolic influence. It acts as a thyroid mimetic or surrogate that can increase oxygen consumption similar to the active thyroid hormone (T3). By increasing metabolic rate this will help utilize cholesterol for further hormone and bile salt production. This also demonstrates that a slow metabolism (hypothyroidism) is the real issue behind so called “too high” cholesterol.
If you added in thyroid/T3 to your daily diet it would lower cholesterol in the same way via the increase in metabolic rate.
Out of all the steroids in a male, androsterone was claimed to be the most GABAergic, which is what makes this steroid so useful regardless of your goal.
Let’s get in to more of the specific features of the cool ass steroid and you can see from the chart below it’s unique “backdoor” pathway.
In general, it is well known in the bodybuilding circle and the mainstream medical field that certain androgens like DHT have strong estrogen antagonism. That is actually one of the main reasons why certain prescription hormones like Andractim, which is basically topical DHT gel, can treat conditions like gynecomastia by antagonizing estrogen at the receptor level.
Androsterone is derived from the 5-AR enzyme and like many of the other androgenic hormones derived from that enzyme it can lower estrogen significantly. Androsterone, DHT, and 5-alpha androstanedione are the three main potent aromatase inhibitors, but androsterone is shown to be the most potent (even more than DHT) when administered in single digit milligrams (2-3mg) [here].
Signs of estrogen reduction, would be more defined muscle, less water retention, increase vascularity, tighter skin and waist. Estrogen is highly concentrated in the midsection (love handles/beer belly) so if you are looking to drop fat optimizing hormones and getting down estrogen should be one of the main aspects you should look at (along with thyroid being #1). Androsterone addresses both of those areas which is what makes it a dope endogenous steroid that can be one of the most highly efficient. I actually don’t know any another androgen right now that has stronger pro-metabolic properties than androsterone.
Strong Antidepressant and Neurosteroid
There are a few different avenues how androsterone acts as an antidepressant. Just like allopregnanolone (allopreg write-up here), androsterone is also a potent GABA agonist [here], even more than progesterone (which is very surprising). GABA is well known by the medical field for its involvement in regards to reducing anxiety and depression [here] [here].
The GABA agonism isn’t the only area it works through though. Androsterone was shown to significantly up regulate brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the brain while cortisol and estrogen decrease it [here] [here]. Also, androsterone was shown to acts as an androgen receptor agonist in the brain as well, which is always a good thing. From the strong estrogen reducing capabilities of androsterone, its mental benefits could be from actually reducing the estrogen/cortisol (stress) load in the brain allowing it work more efficiently. Anything that reduces “stress” to an organism will allow it operate more effectively by allowing an increase in oxygen consumption to the cell.
When I experimented with Lion’s Mane mushroom extract a while back, which is also shown to significantly increase BDNF, I did notice an antidepressant type feeling, but it was nothing close to androsterone though.
As I mentioned in the introduction, androsterone can significantly lower both cholesterol and triglyceride. In the 1960’s, it was under than name “Atromid” but after many issues with big pharma, it lost its fame and got taken over by the shitty statins [here]. Statins actual inhibit the enzyme in the liver from producing cholesterol in the first place, but androsterone does not work in that way [here] [here]. Cholesterol is protective and to try and completely shut it down should definitely not an option as cholesterol is the main precursors to ALL hormones and bile salts hence all of the horrible side effects from statins [here].
Check out the image below.
Androsterone actually works just like thyroid does (thyroid mimetic) by increasing oxygen consumption and basal temperatures. This was demonstrated when patients were administered T4 (thyroid) that there cholesterol values dropped while downstream steroids and hormones increased [here] [here].
Other bio identical androgens in the body can actually work the same way as androsterone does in terms of lowering cholesterol and acting as a thyroid mimetic while estrogen can raise cholesterol due to the aromatization and metabolism inhibiting properties. To put this in perspective, one of the most well known side effects of AAS use is the increase in cholesterol. The reason why cholesterol goes up on a “steroid” cycle is that the HPTA senses a large amount of exogenous synthetic hormones being introduced to the body. The body will then slow down or shut down the natural production of utilizing cholesterol for hormones and bile salts causing total cholesterol to rise since it’s not being used up.
This is also another reason why AAS that can convert to estrogen (i.e. dianabol) as well are much more detrimental to the body since you get the negative estrogen effects too, which will also put more pressure on the cardiovascular system.
You are probably also aware that TRT or testosterone replacement therapy can potentially cause a rise in cholesterol too. Well, that is also probably from the aromatization to estrogen,which is hard to dial in right and takes time fully balance out.
Pregnenolone and coconut oil can also bring down cholesterol as well through the stimulation of metabolism. Consuming vegetables oil high in polyunsaturated fats can bring cholesterol down as well (as HIGHLY advertised by mainstream news), but they are actually detrimental to an organism’s metabolism and do it in a very toxic way similar to how statins act in the body, which you don’t want.
Androsterone and Pine Pollen
Before I even found out about the benefits of androsterone, a friend (CD} suggested taking some pine pollen for it’s androgenic effects, which he noticed as well. Pine pollen is loaded with a bunch of vitamins and minerals so I had no idea what some of the androgenic effects could be coming from. The androgenic properties were dose dependent for me, I was taking close to 10 grams a day (about 9 tablespoons split into 3). I noticed an increase and libido and overall just a sign of increased DHT and lower estrogen, which I thought was interesting.
After looking into it more, it wasn’t until many months later until I discovered the metabolite androsterone is in pine pollen. Pine pollen also contains DHEA, testosterone, and androstenedione.
I tried looking around at different sources to see exactly how much androsterone was in pine pollen but couldn’t find any reliable info. The study above which I mentioned under the estrogen section shows that only a few milligrams of androsterone is capable of strongly inhibiting estrogen and demonstrating androgenic effects. You really don’t need much for it to “work”. So in my opinion, the androgenic benefits from pine pollen are coming from the androsterone.
However, at lower doses, the effect wasn’t as great- that is why if you decide to try it, use higher doses (10 grams or more).
To wrap up, here are some vendors to take a look at:
- Highly concentrated liquid androsterone: here
- Whole foods androsterone/androgens (pure pine pollen): here
I have no affiliation with either of the vendors listed so any feedback from your lab rat, please share.