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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2014 Mar 1;116(5):560-9. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00616.2013. Epub 2013 Dec 31.

Prohormone supplement 3β-hydroxy-5α-androst-1-en-17-one enhances resistance training gains but impairs user health.

Author information

1
Human Performance Research Laboratories, West Texas A&M University, Canyon, Texas;

Abstract

Prohormone supplements (PS) are recognized not to impart anabolic or ergogenic effects in men, but the research supporting these conclusions is dated. The Anabolic Steroid Control Act was amended in 2004 to classify androstenedione and 17 additional anabolic compounds as controlled substances. The viability of PS that entered the market after that time have not been evaluated. Seventeen resistance-trained men (23 ± 1 yr; 13.1 ± 1.5% body fat) were randomly assigned to receive either 330 mg/day of 3β-hydroxy-5α-androst-1-en-17-one (Prohormone; n = 9) or sugar (Placebo; n = 8) per os and complete a 4-wk (16 session) structured resistance-training program. Body composition, muscular strength, circulating lipids, and markers of liver and kidney dysfunction were assessed at study onset and termination. Prohormone increased lean body mass by 6.3 ± 1.2%, decreased fat body mass by 24.6 ± 7.1%, and increased their back squat one repetition maximum and competition total by 14.3 ± 1.5 and 12.8 ± 1.1%, respectively. These improvements exceeded (P < 0.05) Placebo, which increased lean body mass by 0.5 ± 0.8%, reduced fat body mass by 9.5 ± 3.6%, and increased back squat one repetition maximum and competition total by 5.7 ± 1.7 and 5.9 ± 1.7%, respectively. Prohormone also experienced multiple adverse effects. These included a 38.7 ± 4.0% reduction in HDL (P < 0.01), a 32.8 ± 15.05% elevation in LDL (P < 0.01), and elevations of 120.0 ± 22.6 and 77.4 ± 12.0% in LDL-to-HDL and cholesterol-to-HDL ratios, respectively (both P < 0.01). Prohormone also exhibited elevations in serum creatinine (19.6 ± 4.3%; P < 0.01) and aspartate transaminase (113.8 ± 61.1%; P = 0.05), as well as reductions in serum albumin (5.1 ± 1.9%; P = 0.04), alkaline phosphatase (16.4 ± 4.7%; P = 0.04), and glomerular filtration rate (18.0 ± 3.3%; P = 0.04). None of these values changed (all P > 0.05) in Placebo. The oral PS 3β-hydroxy-5α-androst-1-en-17-one improves body composition and muscular strength. However, these changes come at a significant cost. Cardiovascular health and liver function are particularly compromised. Given these findings, we feel the harm associated with this particular PS outweighs any potential benefit.

KEYWORDS:

3β-hydroxy-5α-androst-1-en-17-one; prohormone; resistance training

PMID:
24381122
DOI:
10.1152/japplphysiol.00616.2013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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