Androstenedione is a steroid hormone produced naturally in the body by the adrenal glands, ovaries (in women), and testicles (in men), essential in the synthesis of estrogens and androgens.
The body produces DHEA first, then converts it to androstenedione, and finally converts androstenedione to testosterone, the main male sex hormone. Androstenedione is also converted to estrogen.
Some high performance athletes are known to use this substance as a way to stimulate muscle tissue to grow and bulge in response to training by mimicking the effect of natural testosterone in the body. Likewise, their consumption became popular as they can improve endurance, strength and muscle mass.
However, the risks of use can trigger:
Decreased sperm production
Shrinking of the testicles
Changes in voice
Increase in body hair
However, in both cases, androstenedione use can severely damage the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Likewise, it lowers HDL cholesterol, which also increases the risk of a heart or brain stroke.
Some studies have shown that its use is associated with an increase in liver cancer.