Homobrassinolide….aka Steroids that taste good on hot dogs

It’s probably a false alarm, but researchers from NC State have found that the plant steroid homobrassinolide has “anabolic steroid-like” effects with minimal side effects.

Testing this plant steroid on lab rats, the researchers documented:

  • an increase in appetite
  • an increase in lean muscle mass
  • an increase in the size & number of muscle fibers
  • and an increase in physical performance
  • with minimal or no androgenic side-effects

Woo Hoo!!!!

Mustard flavored steroids with no side effects!!!!

So, what the heck is homobrassinolide?

  • Homobrassinolide is a brassinosteroid found in the mustard plant.
  • Brassinosteroids are plant-derived polyhydroxylated derivatives of 5a-cholestane, structurally similar to cholesterol-derived animal steroid hormones and insect ecdysteroids, with no known function in mammals.
  • 28-Homobrassinolide (HB), the specific HB tested in this experiment, is a steroidal lactone with potent plant growth-promoting properties

The Science

In this particular study, 28-Homobrassinolide (HB) stimulated protein synthesis and inhibited protein degradation in L6 rat skeletal muscle cells (EC50 4 μM) mediated in part by PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.

Oral administration of HB (20 or 60 mg/kg/d for 24 d) to healthy rats fed normal diet (protein content 23.9%) increased food intake, body weight gain, lean body mass, and gastrocnemius muscle mass as compared with vehicle-treated controls.

Note – this dosing protocol equates to a dosage of between 1363 and 4090 mg per day for a 150 lb man.

The effect of HB administration increased slightly in animals fed a high-protein diet (protein content 39.4%).

Both oral (up to 60 mg/kg) and subcutaneous (up to 4 mg/kg) administration of HB showed low androgenic activity when tested in the Hershberger assay.

Moreover, HB showed no direct binding to the androgen receptor in vitro.

HB treatment was also associated with an improved physical fitness of untrained healthy rats, as evident from a 6.7% increase in lower extremity strength, measured by grip test.

In the gastrocnemius muscle of castrated animals, HB treatment significantly increased the number of type IIa and IIb fibers and the cross-sectional area of type I and type IIa fibers.

These findings suggest that oral application of HB triggers selective anabolic response with minimal or no androgenic side-effects and begin to elucidate the putative cellular targets for plant brassinosteroids in mammals.


Don’t get excited when a supplement company comes out with a new homobrassinolide supplement next month.

Even if homobrassinolide pans out as a treatment for muscle wasting and an awesome new supplement for 16 year old boys sick of getting sand kicked in their face….it’s going to be years and years before an effective product comes to market.

Ineffective over-hyped products will be on the market in 2-3 months.