Turkesterone is quickly becoming one of the hottest muscle building supplements that also boasts fat loss benefits.
While it appears to be increasingly hard to come by due to high consumer demand, there’s a lot of hype surrounding this anabolic product.
Many YouTubers and bloggers have spoken about this supplement at length — but is turkesterone worth all the attention it has been given?
Let’s find out.
What is Turkesterone
Turkesterone, an exciting new supplement in the fitness world, is one of the primary bioactive compounds naturally occurring in Marla Root, Leuzea plant or Ajuga turkestanica — a plant with a long history of use in traditional medicine for its anabolic, adaptogenic, hepatoprotective and hypoglycemic activity.
Having a presence in central Asia, particularly Uzbekistan and Tadzhikistan, the Ajuga turkestanica plant has had its beneficial effects on muscle strength and growth as the center of attention in the past few months as various fitness influencers have extensively covered this exciting new anabolic supplement.
Turkesterone is an ecdysteroid — like ecdysterone — which promotes muscle growth but does not bind to the androgen receptor, which anabolic steroids and SARMs do.
“Ecdysteroids are the steroid hormones of arthropods and possibly of other invertebrate phyla too.” [R]
And out of all ecdysteroids, Turkesterone appears to be the most anabolic compound.
How Turkesterone Works
Ecdysterone promotes lean mass gains via estrogen receptor-beta (ERβ) activation, which is notable since ERβ signaling is involved in the regulation of skeletal muscle growth and regeneration by stimulating anabolic pathways, activating satellite cells, and modulating immune function, via pathways other anabolic compounds don’t typically employ.
Other Ecdysteroids such as Ecdysterone also support muscle protein synthesis (MPS) via direct or indirect stimulation of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway, making Ecdysteroids, as a whole, very promising as an exciting anabolic compound as the legality of SARMs becomes increasingly scrutinized.
According to one study, stimulation of the ERβ can promote skeletal muscle growth , this sets the ground work to go onto to suggest that the ERβ could be responsible for the anabolic effect from Ecdysteroids in addition to the the reduction of stress, which can indirectly increase free testosterone levels.
Another study observes skeletal muscle hypertrophy from the ERβ by applying a ANTIBETA compound to myotubes. This offers a potential receptor for Ecdysteroids, including Turkesterone.
Next, the β2 adrenergic receptor has been offered as a potential vector for Ecdysteroids effects, as this receptor when agonised is able to produce anabolic effects, similarly to Clenbuterol which is commonly used to help bodybuilders shed fat.
A study looked into the homology of the structure in relation to the β2 adrenergic receptor indicated a potentially high affinity for the β2 adrenergic receptor. This could theoretically produce anabolic effects through the deployment of Ecdysteroids.
Although no human trials can confirm these particular findings, further research has applied “binding” studies, using 20-hydroxyecdysone on functional activation assays using cAMP. This effectively tested the β2 adrenergic receptor’s binding affinity for Ecdysteroids.
The subsequent results indicated a complete lack of binding to the receptor, ruling out the β2 adrenergic receptor off the list of potential candidates.
Instead, the study suggest that another G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) could be responsible for the anabolic activity that we see through the literature.
The study suggests the AKT pathway may be responsible for the increased muscle protein synthesis during the deployment of Ecdysteroids. When measured, the AKP pathway’s activation is drastically increased when 20-hydroxyecdysone is administered. When this pathway is directly inhibited the protein synthesis is also blocked. But it must be noted that administered doses would be several times higher than current cycle recommendations.
A 2020 study concluded that the ERβ pathways probably isn’t solely responsible for anabolic activity, but when it is run alongside a GPCR.
The proposed culprit was believed to be the MAS receptor — as opposed to the AKT activation that is presented by the previously mentioned study. The AKT pathway can mediate MAS receptor activation.
Researchers identified the downstream effects of AKT pathway activation via the MAS receptors. It should also be noted that the AKT pathway and ERβ pathways are also known to be intertwined — with studies showing their mutual activation affecting one another under certain conditions.
Although this is still only part of the overall story, collaborating this data there is the potential that other unknown GPCR’s may still have a strong role to play in the activation of both the ERβ and PLC-IP3 pathway, leading to calcium flux channels that activate the AKT pathway and the resulting anabolic activity.
Despite Turkesterone and other Ecdysteroids mechanisms, it must be stated that Ecdysteroids show no androgenic effects with no affinity for the Androgen receptor — which is why its side-effect profile is minimal and no PCT is required. But it must be understood that its efficaciousness could be overstated and/or overhyped.
Turkesterone also functions by ‘hacking’ the stress response in the body. It does this by regulating a stable balance in the adrenal, pituitary, and hypothalamic glands. These three glands separately produce hormones that help regulate our blood pressure, immune system, mood, vision, growth, and more, which all help create conditions to promote muscle growth in addition to other promising results.
Benefits of Turkesterone
One of the most attractive upsides of Turkesterone is the lack of side effects or need for a post-cycle therapy (PCT).
Turkesterone can assist the user to build muscle and strength while losing body fat.
Some reviewers speak highly of turkesterone, but, a placebo effect must be considered.
We will also list the other purported health benefits of Turkesterone in our chapter on additional benefits.
What do the Turkesterone Studies Say?
Many of the promoted studies online should be interpreted with caution. Some studies have erroneously claimed Turkesterone to be stronger than Dianabol — which it isn’t.
3.a The anabolic effect of Turkesterone and Ecdysteroids
The anabolic effect of Ecdysteroids and Turkesterone in animal studies consistently show significant anabolic effect, increasing lean muscle mass and strength [10,14,15,16,17]. However a key take away from those studies is that non are done on humans. one study conducted on strength trained individuals with ecdysterone from spinach extract at 200mg and another group at 800mg p/day dosage over 10 weeks showed significant muscle hypertrophy and strength gains against control, with the group supplementing with 800mg coming ahead in all metrics.
“The 800mg group gained an average of 3.2kg (7lb) of muscle mass against the control which had a range of a slight decrease or increase in muscle mass over the 10 weeks.  However, another study which ran 20-hydroxyecdysone at 200mg for 8 weeks showed no difference in any strength parameter against control.  Why these studies showed such drastic differences in results I’m not sure, the quality of the product may be a factor or perhaps the 20-hydroxyecdysone does not work as well in humans as it does in rodent and other animal models.“
Strength and endurance
Some studies measured the strength metrics of their athletes, with 20-hydroxyecdysone showing no discernable effects according to any given strength metric.
But another study indicates very positive effects as “over the ten weeks the 800mg group increased their Squat by almost 20% and their bench press by 10%.”
As both studies present such contradictory results, it’s difficult to ascertain whether a noticeable anabolic effect is to be enjoyed from the consumption of Ecdysteroids.
Some influencers have opted to promote Ecdysterone over Turkesterone and vice versa.
Rodent based models test both swimming time and grip strength that positively indicate a dose dependant increase in strength and endurance through supplementation with Ecdysteroids at relative doses far higher than any current recommendations for humans.
However, given the conflicting results involving human test subjects, more clinical trials would need to be carried out to gauge a proper answer, despite positive results in rodent based models.
It should also be considered that rest, nutrition, and style of training could greatly affect the results in both studies.
Although sourcing this supplement appears to be difficult at present, we will present a few reviews from both Gorilla Mind and Reddit that detail customer experiences.
One consumer wrote:
“I’m almost finished with my first bottle. At first I wasn’t sure it was doing anything and was a bit worried I spent too much on a placebo type product.
Then, by accident, I noticed that if I take it with my pre-workout I can push past failure on every single set. I’m breaking plateaus on every lift which, being 51 is pretty impressive, at least to me.
Oh and it may just be a coincidence but for the first time in my life I can see my shoulder muscles…“
“6+ years lifting, 83kg (500 squat, 355 bench, 625 deadlift), and after 3 weeks of 2000mg a day, I am getting stronger but it is hard to tell if this progress would have come naturally. I do feel slightly stronger / fuller than in the past, more so than I would expect based on work stressors, etc., but still very hard to tell.
“Time will tell, I have many more weeks to come and will update the review after a couple months of using the turk.
“Unless you’re at your absolute natty limit with strength and close to the limit with musculature, and have been lifting the same magnitude weights for 2+ years, definitely save your money.“
A third remarked:
“Started 2000mg on a cut and have gained insane muscle, lost tons of fat, and the pump is awesome. Then after the first bottle I bumped up to 3000mg a day and increased calories. Huge gains. Strength increase is really pleasing. Definitely feel like my money was well spent here. The cyclodextrin complex is cool to give you a little boost of energy if you take the turk pre-workout.”
Additional Benefits of Turkesterone
There appear to be a few health benefits of this up-and-coming fitness supplement, with a minimal side effect profile.
But aside from Turkesterone’s muscle-building properties, there are some other positive effects unrelated to bodybuilding:
- stress reduction
- improve gut health
- improved endurance
- lowers cholesterol
- controls blood pressure
- improves insulin sensitivity
- enhance neurotransmitter activity
- improve liver health
- antioxidant effects
- antiproliferant, antimicrobial effective
- promotes healing
- can reduce hyperglycemia
It must be noted that human studies on turkesterone are very limited at present.
Turkesterone vs SARMs
Turkesterone appears to be a safer option for lifters wanting to take their training to the next level over SARMs.
SARMs can suppress testosterone levels and be responsible for a host of side-effects such as:
- Elevated liver enzymes
- Poor lipid profiles
- High blood pressure
- Hair loss (tanked FSH and LH)
Conversely, Turkesterone — as well as other ecdysteroids — don’t suppress natural testosterone production, don’t require a PCT, can stabilize blood pressure, improve lipid profiles, and improve liver health.
Turkesterone vs Steroids
Some people have drawn comparisons between Turkesterone — more specifically, ecdysterone — and Dianabol.
Of course, Turkesterone, overall, is not as powerful as Dianabol, but it appears to have more of an effect on myostatin inhibitors than Dianabol.
Turkesterone’s pathway is different to anabolic steroids which, like SARMs, bind to the androgen receptors.
Turkesterone & Ecdysterone
We have covered Ecdysterone, an ecdysteroid, in the past.
Ecdysterone exhibited a strong hypertrophic effect on the fiber size of rat soleus muscle that was found even stronger compared to the test compounds metandienone (dianabol), estradienedione (trenbolox), and SARM S 1, all administered in the same dose (5 mg/kg body weight, for 21 days). In C2C12 myotubes ecdysterone (1 µM) induced a significant increase of the diameter comparable to dihydrotestosterone (1 µM) and IGF 1 (1.3 nM).’ [R]
That’s right: a stronger effect than dianabol, trenbolox, the SARM S1 and IGF 1 (insulin-like growth factor 1).
After this first study, Parr cautioned that ‘ecdysterone should be considered to be included in the class “S1.2 Other Anabolic Agents” of the list of prohibited substances of the World Anti-Doping Agency.’
More recently, a double-blind study, again involving Professor Parr, investigated the effects of ecdysterone on humans. [R] Athletes were divided into two groups, with one group getting a daily dose of ecdysterone and the other receiving a placebo. After ten weeks, the results were unmistakeable: the group that had received the ecdysterone had experienced significantly greater increases in muscle mass and strength than the placebo group.
The study notes that:
‘Significantly higher increases in muscle mass were observed in those participants that were dosed with ecdysterone. The same hypertrophic effects were also detected in vitro in C2C12 myotubes. Even more relevant with respect to sports performance, significantly more pronounced increases in one-repetition bench press performance were observed.’
Although ecdysterone still remains legal, Professor Parr again cautioned that it should be added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances.
The participants in the study took a dosage equivalent to the amount of ecdysterone in between 250g and 4kg of spinach a day for the low dose and between 1kg and 16kg of spinach for the high dose, underlining the need to take ecdysterone as a supplement rather than in food form. In pill form, this amounted to between two and eight pills a day, at 100mg of ecdysterone each.
These are striking results, and in combination with the anecdotal evidence of Soviet and Russian usage, suggest that ecdysterone could have a powerful role to play in reclaiming your masculinity. Ecdysterone supplements are commonly available and are not expensive.
What’s more, it looks like ecdysterone is more or less perfectly safe to take. Unlike with other anabolic agents, no side effects have been noted, such as liver or kidney toxicity, either in Parr’s studies or in an earlier study. [R]
In spite of all this, Turkesterone is the most powerful ecdysteroid on the market.
Turkesterone Dosages, How long should I run Turkesterone?
Generally speaking, as studies on Turkesterone are limited, the most commonly accepted cycle appears to be 500mg per day for 8-12 week cycles, although some users have been known to run cycles with doses as high as 2000mg per day.
As it is not suppressive, there is no need to run a PCT.
Legality of Turkesterone – Will I still be “natural”?
You will still be “natural” if you were to begin running this supplement. WADA has added Turkesterone onto a PED watchlist — which could mean that its legality could change on a dime.
One study said: “These findings [on ecdysteroids} provide new therapeutic perspectives for the treatment of muscle injuries, sarcopenia, and cachectic disease, but also imply that such a substance could be abused for doping purposes.”
Earlier this year, we covered how the FDA took aim at NAC, as a supplement, resulting in Amazon pulling the item from their online stores.
As this product doesn’t bind to the androgen receptor, mimicking the effects of endogenous natural testosterone production, there is no risk of shut down.
Yes, technically a supplement that boasts supraphysiological results might cause some concern for die-hard natural lifters, but Creatine — one of the most widely-used and safest supplements on the market — can also allow you to build supraphysiological strength and size.
Where to Buy Turkesterone
At the moment, as Turkesterone is a relatively new supplement that has drawn ample attention, it is almost constantly out of stock.