20-Hydroxyecdysone health benefit and side effects. Does 20-Hydroxyecdysone improve athletic performance? Are there human studies?
Feb 28 2016

20-Hydroxyecdysone (ecdysterone or 20E) is a naturally occurring hormone which controls the moulting and metamorphosis of arthropods.

Physiol Behav. 2014 Feb 15. Quinoa extract enriched in 20-hydroxyecdysone affects energy homeostasis and intestinal fat absorption in mice fed a high-fat diet. In a previous study, we have demonstrated that a supplementation of a high-fat diet with a quinoa extract enriched in 20-hydroxyecdysone (QE) or pure 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) could prevent the development of obesity. In line with the anti-obesity effect of QE, we used indirect calorimetry to examine the effect of dietary QE and 20E in high-fat fed mice on different components of energy metabolism. Mice were fed a high-fat (HF) diet with or without supplementation by QE or pure 20E-for 3weeks. As compared to mice maintained on a low-fat diet, HF feeding resulted in a marked physiological shift in energy homeostasis, associating a decrease in global energy expenditure (EE) and an increase in lipid utilization as assessed by the lower respiratory quotient (RQ). Supplementation with 20E increased energy expenditure while food intake and activity were not affected. Furthermore QE and 20E promoted a higher rate of glucose oxidation leading to an increased RQ value. In QE and 20E-treated HFD fed mice, there was an increase in fecal lipid excretion without any change in stool amount. Our study indicates that anti-obesity effect of QE can be explained by a global increase in energy expenditure, a shift in glucose metabolism towards oxidation to the detriment of lipogenesis and a decrease in dietary lipid absorption leading to reduced dietary lipid storage in adipose tissue.

Plants make it
20-Hydroxyecdysone is made by various plants where its purpose is presumably to disrupt the development and reproduction of insect pests.

Does it build muscle?
20-Hydroxyecdysone is an ingredient in some nutritional supplements that claim to enhance physical performance. We have not seen any human studies, as of 2014, regarding the use of this hormone supplement for bodybuilding or athletic enhancement or as an ED herb.

Rodent study with 20-hydroxyecdysone shows anti obesity effect
20-Hydroxyecdysone decreases weight and hyperglycemia in a diet-induced obesity mice model.
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2009. Kizelsztein P, Govorko D, Komarnytsky S, Cefalu WT, Raskin I. Kizelsztein P, Govorko D, Komarnytsky S, Evans A, Wang Z, Cefalu WT, Raskin I. Biotech Center, Rutgers University, 59 Dudley Rd., New Brunswick, NJ.
The steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone is an essential signaling molecule that modulates molting response in insects and may function as a putative anabolic factor in vertebrate animals, although no mammalian 20-hydroxyecdysone receptor has been identified. Here we show that in H4IIE cell culture, 20-hydroxyecdysone treatment decreased expression of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) and glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase), reduced glucose production. Daily oral administration of 20-hydroxyecdysone (10 mg/kg for 13 wk) ameliorated obesity and insulin resistance in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat diet and produced a significant decrease of body weight gain and body fat mass compared with nontreated animals. In addition, plasma insulin levels and glucose tolerance were significantly lowered by 20-hydroxyecdysone treatment.  These studies demonstrate the anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects of 20-hydroxyecdysone and begin to elucidate its putative cellular targets both in vitro and in vivo.

20-Hydroxyecdysone is found in many plants including:
Achyranthes bidentata root
Cyanotis vaga
Sida rhombifolia
Silene viridiflora herb

Additional ectysteroids include:
Integristerone A, 26-hydroxypolypodine B, 2-deoxy-20,26-dihydroxyecdysone, and polypodine B. 2-Deoxy-20,26-dihydroxyecdysone. Ecdysterone has been found in a great many plants and animals and has some valuable pharmaceutical properties.

20-Hydroxyecdysone in insects
Programmed cell death of larval-specific tissues in insects is under the control of 20-hydroxyecdysone.

Synergistic Effects of the Combination of 20-Hydroxyecdysone with Ampicillin and Gentamicin against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus with Enterotoxin gene.
J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2009; Vestibulocochlear Research Center & Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, Wonkwang University School of Medicine, Iksan, South Korea.
The emergence of methicillin-resistant of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has led to an urgent need for the discovery and development of new antibacterial agents. As part of an ongoing investigation into the antibacterial properties of the natural products, 20-Hydroxyecdysone (20E), isolated from the roots of Achyranthes japonica Nakai, was found to be active methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, either alone or in combination with ampicillin (AM) or gentamicin (GM), vis checkerboard assay. This study investigated the antibacterial activity of 20E, which exhibited poor antibacterial activity against all the bacterial strains tested. The combined activity of ampicillin (AM), gentamicin (GE) plus 20E against MRSA resulted in fractional inhibitory concentractions (FICs) ranging from 4.00 to 0.031 microng/mL, respectively. Meanwhile, the FIC index ranged from 0.16-4.50, indicating a marked synergistic relationship between AM, GE and 20E against MRSA with enterotoxin gene. This study demonstrated that AM, GE and 20E can act synergistically in inhibiting MRSA in vitro.