About 1-Androstenediol

Synonyms: 5alpha-androst-1-en-3,17-diol, 1-AD

1-Androstenediol (1-AD) is an anabolic pro-steroid structurally related (but not identical) to 5-androstenediol. It is one of the many byproducts of the body’s normal processing of steroid hormones. In the body 1-AD is converted into 1-Testosterone.

1-AD was discovered in the 1940s and a metabolic study was published in 1972; aside from these studies, 1-AD received little attention until recently. In the 1990s governments worldwide tried to eliminate people’s access to anabolic steroids by instituting totalitarian-style laws, thereby creating not only a thriving black market, but a strong incentive to find alternative muscle-building enhancers. This led to the rediscovery of 1-AD and 1-Testosterone by chemist Patrick Arnold – compounds that (in some countries, at least) were not covered by existing anti-steroid laws.

Typical claims made for 1-Androstenediol

  1. Orally active, naturally occurring prohormone
  2. Oral bioavailability about 30%
  3. No conversion to estrogens in the body
  4. Won’t cause breast enlargement
  5. Minimal water retention side effects
  6. Low conversion to DHT
  7. Won’t cause scalp hair loss
  8. Extremely potent anabolic (154% as potent as testosterone)
  9. Liver activates it, rather than inactivating it
  10. Non-toxic
  11. Hardens muscles, increases muscle strength

Typical claims made against 1-Androstenediol

  1. Low anabolic potency (40% the potency of testosterone)
  2. No intrinsic anabolic activity on its own
  3. Extremely androgenic
  4. Causes loss of libido
  5. Makes urethra sting when you urinate
  6. Is dangerous
  7. Causes acne, body/facial hair growth, scalp hair loss
  8. Causes breast enlargement
  9. Causes heart problems
  10. Causes mood changes
  11. Causes testicle shrinkage and male infertility

The known facts about 1-Androstenediol

  • It is an orally active, naturally occurring prohormone.
  • Oral bioavailability appears to be higher than most anabolic prohormones, but has not yet been measured quantitatively.
  • Does not convert to estrogens in the body – hence, won’t cause breast enlargement or estrogen-related water retention.
  • Conversion to DHT is low or zero. Therefore, 1-AD is not likely to cause acne, scalp hair loss, or body/facial hair growth.
  • The liver converts 1-AD to 1-Testosterone, which is a very potent anabolic steroid. This conversion could be called “activation” (see claim 9 above), but 1-AD also has anabolic action of its own. The figure of 154% (claim 8) refers to this action. The inactivation of both 1-AD and 1-Testosterone, prior to their elimination from the body, also takes place in the liver, so claim 9 is not entirely accurate.
  • 1-AD is non-toxic with short-term use – long-term studies have not been done.
  • 1-AD, both on its own and through its metabolite 1-Testosterone, increases muscle mass and strength without causing significant water retention in the muscles. In this sense it “hardens muscles”.
  • There is no evidence to support any of the claims 12-22 against 1-AD. The source of claims 12-16 are companies with products competing with 1-AD. Claims 17-22 come from government and sports officials eager to ban athletic performance enhancers and willing to say anything to further this aim. In the absence of long-term studies, we have only short-term studies and anecdotal reports to go on, and these support none of the negative claims.


The dosage regimen usually recommended for 1-AD is 600 mg/day, divided into several spaced doses. The effective dosage may, however, depend upon bodyweight. Increases in muscle size and strength should start being noticed after about a week of usage.

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