This article deals with the two classes of plant biologically active substances – flavones and flavonoids, quite widely represented in the market of medicines and dietary supplements. These products are often advertised as an “alternative to anabolic steroids.” However, such statements are very far from the truth. Nevertheless, the considered classes of substances have their fields of application in medicine.
What Are Flavonoids and Flavones
They are biologically active compounds from plants. Flavonoids have a wide spectrum of biological activity. They are antioxidants that act as coenzymes. Many of them have P-vitamin activity. Biological activity of flavones is also well studied. They are antioxidants and tested as antiviral agents. The number of dosage forms containing individual substances of this group or their amount from plants is hundreds. However, they acquired the greatest importance as anti-estrogens. To understand why this aspect is important for sports, let us briefly consider the role of estrogens in physiology. Among them there is a flavone called 7,8-DHF also.
Estrogens and anti-estrogenic agents
Estrogens are female sex hormones which are of great importance for the sexual activity of women. In the male body, they are also formed, although in much smaller quantities. Half of the total amount of estrogens is synthesized in testicles, the rest in other parts of the body, especially in muscles and fat cells. The content of estrogen in fatty tissues begins to grow by the second half of life. Practically all these substances are obtained from testosterone under the action of the enzyme 5-alpha-aromatase.
Approximately half of the young women during the period of maturation observed temporary swelling of the breast due to a sharp increase in the level of testosterone (and accordingly, the products of its transformation). Some men in adulthood have a disorder of the hormonal system, and the chest hangs. Excess androgen can cause an increase in the number of appropriate receptors in the prostate, accompanied by swelling and incontinence.
For the Athletes
Athletes using steroids can remind you of the negative consequences of their admission: gynecomastia (swelling of the chest in men), water retention, fat accumulation. Similar “cosmetic” effects arise from the processing of testosterone in estrogens. In addition, estrogens in the male body regulate the production of their own testosterone.
The Axis for You
The axis of the hypothalamus is the pituitary gland – the sex glands. This is where the real control center for testosterone synthesis is located. There are also some hormones that allow the hypothalamus to determine the amount of testosterone in the body.
The effect of estrogens on testosterone levels can have wide practical applications. Although the level of testosterone in the period of maturation is maximal and then decreases, all the same, its transformation into estrogen occurs constantly. The level and activity of various aromatases determine the content of testosterone in the blood. By suppressing their activity, you can increase the level of testosterone in the blood as much as 30%! And since this effect does not suppress circadian rhythms (affecting the release of cortisol), there is no decrease in the activity of androgen receptors. With a flavone called 7,8-DHF the options change. In medical practice, a large number of anti-estrogen preparations are used, but they can have serious side effects. On the other hand, the flavones proved to be quite effective and safe.