Anabolic Steriods & Supplements

Reprinted from BodyMuscle Magazine.

By Anthony Acciani Ph. D. & Sarah York Ph. D.
Forward By Jeff Everson 

What follows is a very interesting attempt by two researchers to try to create a nitrogen retaining, anabolic and anti-catabolic formula using natural supplements that might mimic or equate the effects of synthetic (pharmacological) anabolic-androgenic steroids, like winstrol and nandrolone.

Anabolic steroids elicit receptor technology, to facilitate entrance to the inside of the muscle cell to order the DNA/RNA to synthesize more protein on the ribosome site. Typically, normal foodstuffs can not affect certain receptors on the surfaces of various cells and this is the way pharmacological drugs exert their effects over and above that of foodstuffs.

Nonetheless, the effort to make combinations of various parts of foodstuffs to upgrade the muscle-protein synthesis response has been ongoing. It is dubious if the process can be accomplished completely, but if I had to select a group of supplements that might approach the power of low-dose steroids it would be rather similar, as proposed in this article, but the mathematical expressions presented here are interesting and unique. 

Indeed, I have stated it many times, my choices for top anabolism action are: mixed blend proteins with milk isolates, casein, whey, egg. Examples include Yates-Approved, VPX Micellean, Prolab Matrix, Priced Right Proteus 8, MET-Rx, Beverly, EAS Myoplex Deluxe, Optimum APS Blend, CA Labs Pure Gro, and HDT Pro-Blend 55. Also, L-Glutamine, Cratine, BCAA, L-Arginine, L-Taurine and L-Leucine.

Specific product attempts to equal the unique effects of steroids include: Beverly Synergy, Yates Pro-GF Anabolic Stimulant and The Australian Viraloid

British Bodybuilding considers this one of the most interesting articles ever written in the area of theoretical nutrition and we reprint it in length.

Relative to activity of bodybuilding, the actions of anabolic/androgenic steroids include:

1: Factoring the level of male hormone in blood, especially testosterone.

2: Increasing nitrogen balance via increasing the action of RNA to synthesize protein at the ribosomal level.

3: Mitigating cortisol-like activity and, as a consequence, factoring the rate and amount of muscle catabolism relative to proportionate exercise.

In the search for a relationship of a set of supplements to equate somewhat to the medicinal effects of a pharmacological agent, we have not included androstenedione and its many derivatives. Many scientific studies suggest that a high dosage (relative) of androstenedione does act as a testosterone booster momentarily but there is no data on subsequent increases in expressions of muscle force and measures of hypertrophy. Androstenedione tends to reversibly convert to estrodial in healthy males. 

Preliminary data suggest that a patented, uniquely bonded form of zinc and magnesium aspartate (ZMA) may reliably boost testosterone and IGF-1 (Insulin like related Growth Factor-1) in male athletes under heavy training stress. An 8-week study by Brilla on heavily stressed football players, suggested that ZMA boosted free testosterone levels by an average of 43.7% and IGF-1 levels by 25% (both above a placebo group of football players). The effects on these parameters over a chronic basis, have not been assayed, but ongoing use of ZMA does not suppress endogenous production of testosterone and has therefore become a key ingredient in Test-FX testosterone booster.

Can we continue to accelerate protein synthesis with an effective array of supplements as steroids do? 

Let us look at BCAA and Arginine. 

We are recommending a dose of three times the standard of BCAA (branched chain amino acid) due to some very unique characteristics of Leucine cycling. And, two times the standard dose of Arginine, an amino that ostensibly triggers the body's muscle-building receptor sites via tissue nitric oxide release (in some minor sense, much like anabolic steroids do to activate new muscle growth). Several double blind studies demonstrate that both BCAAs and Arginine positively influence protein synthesis and have a positive anabolic effect on target type-2 muscle tissue. There is some reasonable inference that ingesting BCAA before and immediately after training (20-40-minute workout) can augment energy and muscle repair-substrate restoration. BCAA, in general, precipitates positive nitrogen indices. Anabolic steroids have efficacy in advanced athletes because they also suppress catabolic processes, shifting nitrogen balance.

Clinical studies also revealed that the branched chain amino acid group (BCAA) can have a marked anticatabolic effect, especially when energy balance is skewed from decreased calories and exercise. With intense anaerobic training, Leucine is rapidly oxidized to energy. Theoretically, should Leucine be absent or diminished, there is less protein accretion and a loss of muscle tissue will occur. The Leucine metabolic analogs, HMB and KIC, may be effective in inhibiting catabolism in the model of reduced caloric energy (and specifically when carbohydrates are reduced).

Conflicting studies on both HMB and KIC suggest they are not directly anabolic, as protein is. Medical research on HIV populations clearly shows that HMB when fused with combinations of Glutamine, creatine monohydrate and/or Arginine, radically increases all strata of tissue nitrogen retention.

We think the data would be even stronger with the addition of titrated amino acid in the form of casein and whey hydrolysates. This may increase nitrogen retention and augment the immune system further (assuming renal function is adequate).

If we were to profess a theoretical muscle formula with supplements it would be in this ratio and multiple:

A: 3-5 times the RDA of protein (grams per kg. bodyweight) in the form of hydrolysates (caseinates and whey).

B: 3 times the dosage of BCAA (as recommended by the manu-facturers).

C: 2 times the level of Creatine, Arginine and HMB. 

D: 3 times the level of Glutamine.

E: Addition of ZMA.