Many supplements on the market today are marketed as ergogenic aids to bodybuilders in an attempt to increase strength and muscle mass during training. Over the last few years, methoxyisoflavone (M), ecdysterones (E), and Sulfated polysaccharides (sulfo-polysaccharide, CSP3) have been marketed as anabolic promoting nutritional supplements for bodybuilders. However, little well-controlled research has been conducted to examine the potential ergogenic properties of these nutrients.
Ecdysterone (20-Beta-Hydroxyecdysterone) is a plant sterol that has been linked to some bold claims such as promotion of protein synthesis, maintenance of anabolic state, and enhancement of lean muscle mass.
Methoxyisoflavone (5-Methyl-7-methoxyisoflavone) is a member of the flavonoids (isoflavones) family that are primarily found in soybeans and soy foods . Animal based research suggests that methoxyisoflavone supplementation promotes muscle and bone building without the side effects of hormone replacement therapy that would give similar results .
Sulfo-polysaccharide is a nutrient that is advertised to bind to myostatin and inhibit its activity in muscle. Sulfo-polysaccharide’s active ingredient is a brown sea algae known as cystoseira canariensis.
In a study executed at the University of West Florida forty-five resistance-trained males were assigned to ingest supplements containing either a placebo (P); 800 mg/day of M; 200 mg of E; or, 1,000 mg/day of CSP3 for 8-weeks during training. A comprehensive muscular strength, muscular endurance, anaerobic capacity, and body composition analysis was conducted.
No significant differences (p>0.05) were observed in training adaptations among groups in percent body fat, bench press 1RM, leg press 1RM or sprint peak power. There were also no significant differences among groups in active testosterone, free testosterone and cortisol levels.
Most of the previous studies reporting positive effects of ecdysterones have been reported in obscure journals with limited details available to evaluate the experimental design and quality of the research.
Lafont, R., and L. Dinan. “Practical uses for ecdysteroids in mammals including humans: an update.” Journal of Insect Science 3 (2003).
Messina, Mark, and Virginia Messina. “Soyfoods, soybean isoflavones, and bone health: a brief overview.” Journal of Renal Nutrition 10.2 (2000): 63-68.
Ramazanov, Zakir, del Rio M. Jimenez, and Tim Ziegenfuss. “Sulfated polysaccharides of brown seaweed Cystoseira canariensis bind to serum myostatin protein.” Acta physiologica et pharmacologica Bulgarica 27.2-3 (2003): 101.
- Wilborn, Colin D., et al. “Effects of methoxyisoflavone, ecdysterone, and sulfo-polysaccharide supplementation on training adaptations in resistance-trained males.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 3.2 (2006): 19-27.