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02.03.2011


Methandienone for potatoes, brassinosteroids for bodybuilders

In the 1970s biochemists at the Central Potato Research Institute in India did some bizarre experiments in which they treated potatoes with anabolic steroids, in the hope that the potatoes would become more nutritious. Patrick Arnold found out about the Indians' research when going through the archives and wrote about it in his blog. [patrickarnoldblog.com Feb 9 2011.]

Methandienone for potatoes, brassinosteroids for bodybuilders


Methandienone for potatoes, brassinosteroids for bodybuilders

Of all plant proteins, potato protein has the highest nutritional value. But even so the amount of this wonderful protein in each potato is dispiritingly low. That's why the researchers wanted to know whether they could boost the protein content by exposing the potatoes to steroids.

The researchers chose methandienone [structural formula shown here] for their experiment. Methandienone also goes by the names of methandrostenolone and Dianabol, it's commercial name. The researchers bought a couple of packs of Anabolex from the Cipla Laboratories in India, and used alcohol to extract the active ingredients.

The researchers mixed the steroids with water and sprayed a field of two-month-old potato plants 4 times, at intervals of 2 weeks. They sprayed another field of potato plants with urea [plants make protein from this], and yet another field with steroids and urea. The latter combination proved to be the most effective when the researchers analysed the potatoes after the last of the 4 sprayings had taken place. The total potato yield increased by a factor 3, and the protein content by factor 2.


Methandienone for potatoes, brassinosteroids for bodybuilders


So the treatment worked. Nevertheless, potatoes don't have an androgen receptor that dianabol can react with. "On the other hand, it is known that many plants have sex steroids such as testosterone and progesterone present in them", writes Arnold. "Could there be some sort of unidentified steroid receptors in plants that bind to these and turn on certain genes? Perhaps."

Methandienone for potatoes, brassinosteroids for bodybuilders
Plants do have receptors for natural steroid compounds with a hormone effect. There are even preparations on the market that contain plant hormones or brassinosteroids as they are called. One is shown here: 24-epibrassinolide, a brassinsteroid that boosts plant protein production in trials. About forty brassinosteroids have now been identified. One of their functions is to boost protein synthesis in plant cells. [Annals of Botany 86: 441-7, 2000.]

But imagine if there is a brassinosteroid receptor that is capable of interacting with methandienone. Would the brassinosteroid that the receptor is actually intended for then also be capable of interacting with our androgen receptor? And if it is: what's to stop us putting that in a supplement?

Plants generally have only a low concentration of brassinosteroids. If there does turn out to be a brassinosteroid in plants that interacts with the androgen receptor, supplements manufacturers will probably have to use synthetic versions of the hormone.

Source:
Current Science (1977) Vol 46 August-5 526-7.