Androstenediol Increases Thymus and Spleen Size by a Factor of 4, and Protects Against Viruses


@Hip has written another fascinating post! Copied here with permission...

In a murine study, the supplement androstenediol (AED) was found to increase the weight of the immune organs the thymus and spleen by over 4 times when given to mice infected with coxsackievirus B4 (a virus commonly associated with ME/CFS).

Although the thymus and spleen of mice not infected with CVB4 did not grow in size when AED was administered — AED only caused an increase in organ weight of infected mice.

Here is an image taken from the study showing the increase in spleen size in CVB4-infected mice given AED:

The Large Increase in Spleen Size in CVB4-Infected Mice Given AED

Gonads also increased in weight by over 4 times under AED treatment, whereas the increase of the lungs and the liver was about 200% and 85% respectively.

AED had a powerfully protective effect against infection: in CVB4-infected mice not treated with AED, necrosis and calcification of the heart is seen within 14 days. But in CVB4-infected mice given AED, it was found that AED completely protects the heart tissue from virus-induced necrosis and calcification.

AED is naturally found in the body: AED is a metabolite of the hormone DHEA. But AED is 100 times more effective than DHEA at helping mice survive otherwise lethal infection with CVB4.

AED also helps protect against Gram positive and Gram negative bacterial infections, parasites, influenza infections, and herpes simplex 1 & 2 infections. What's more, AED can also counter the effects of stress-mediated immune suppression.

More info can be found in this paper: Protective Effects of DHEA and AED against Viral, Bacterial and Parasitic Infections, Loria RM and Ben-Nathan D. 2011.

Dr John Richardson mentioned the potential of AED for ME/CFS in his book on ME/CFS and enteroviruses (on page 225).

This paper by Dr Roger Loria finds that a similar supplement called androstenetriol (AET) is even more potent than androstenediol (AED) in its protective effects against infection.

Both AED and AET are classed as β-androstene steroids. These β-androstene steroids are highly unusual, in that they up-regulate immunity. Normally steroid hormones (like cortisol) down-regulate the immune response. But β-androstenes like AED and AET boost immunity, and also counteract the immunosuppressive effects of cortisol. Ref: 1

β-androstenes increase Th1 cytokines such as IL-2, IL-3, and interferon. Similar to hydrocortisone, β-androstenes suppress inflammation — but without causing immune suppression. Ref: 1

Unfortunately, the FDA banned androstenediones such as androstenediol (AED) in 2004, on the basis that they are converted in the body to testosterone which is an androgenic and anabolic steroid (reference here).

However, AET (which is more powerful than AED) is available as a supplement product called 5-AT from Core Nutritionals.

The oral bioavailability of AET is poor, thus AET is best taken transdermally.

Not dead yet!

Well-Known Member
Sigh that supp is no longer available. Websites seem to offer only DHEA instead, is that an appropriate sub, do you think?


Sigh that supp is no longer available. Websites seem to offer only DHEA instead, is that an appropriate sub, do you think?
I think DHEA is good, since most of us are low, but not sure it is strong enough to do all the same things.

Let me look again, but I found this one.

I’m going to try to find one from a source I am familiar with. Also maybe @Hip can tell us if an analogue would be the same? That is what the OA stands for...


Well-Known Member
Also maybe @Hip can tell us if an analogue would be the same?

I am not too sure; I am guessing the "optimized analogues" at TrueLife Research are chemicals with a very similar structure to the original, and which do the same thing as the original.

Here is the one @Hip noted, from a different source:

Yes that's the one I tried myself; but I never got around to trying it fully, I just tried it briefly. I really need to test on a longer term basis.

Get Our Free ME/CFS and FM Blog!

New Threads

Forum Tips

Support Our Work



Shopping on For HR

Latest Resources