5-Alpha-Hydroxy-Laxogenin (Laxogenin) is a natural anabolic supplement derived from plants that’s been sold for years with mixed success by supplement companies, yet only recently by any that we trust with third-party lab tests. Despite the incredible potential, Laxogenin hasn’t gained popularity for reasons we’ll address and try to solve later in this article.
Is it time to re-consider this ingredient given the lab tests and new delivery technology that’s coming out?
In short, Laxogenin is a plant steroid.
It shares some similarities with Anavar (oxandrolone), but is natural and seems to be free of liver-toxic side effects.
The most common reviews are for increased strength, although there’s not much human-based research on it.
This makes it worth considering for aggressive (yet natural) athletes requiring strength or steroid users who don’t want to lose strength between cycles. This article is written for these two kinds of athletes in mind.
Dosage of 100mg per day is the sweet spot, especially when taken transdermally (via the skin) or when encapsulated in a lipid by the formulator.
Higher oral doses (ie 200mg) have been reported to cause headaches. This is not reported by transdermal users.
Laxosterone by Bestcom Biotech is the best raw material ingredient, since it is HPLC tested with a confirmed industry-leading test result (now over 98% purity levels!) and has an actual human study performed on it.
What is Laxogenin?
- 1 What is Laxogenin?
- 2 How does laxogenin work?
- 3 What are the laxogenin benefits? Any research?
- 4 Laxogenin Reviews: What are the reported effects?
- 5 WHO should consider using it? Who shouldn’t use it?
- 6 Why the limited success with laxogenin so far?
- 7 What’s the best laxogenin raw material ingredient?
- 8 What’s the best Laxosterone supplement on PricePlow?
- 9 What are the other best laxogenin supplements?
- 10 Dosage: What’s the recommended dosage / timing / cycling?
- 11 What are the potential side effects?
- 12 Is it legal in the major English-speaking countries?
- 13 Conclusion
- 14 References
In detail, Laxogenin is a sapogenin, a steroidal constituent of the non-sugar portion of a saponin, isolated from the plant Smilax Sieboldii, which is slightly similar to asparagus. The compound is a spirostanic analogue of the brassinosteroid, meaning that it’s in a group of plant-based steroids found in small quantities in plants and foods such as pollen, seeds, and leaves.
Laxogenin was shown to possess an anabolic/androgenic ratio similar to one of the most efficient anabolic substances, Anavar, yet without the side effects of liver toxicity or likelihood of testing positive for steroids.
Interest in the compound garners interest because of it’s growth-promoting activity in plants. However, absorption and bioavailability have held it back from reaching anything near Anavar-like results.
Our goal here is to review what Laxogenin is so you can decide if it’s worth trying. Note that this article is aimed mainly at natural users or for steroid users’ PCT cycle stacks. But let’s be honest: you will not get prohormone-like gains with laxogenin — the most common feedback is for increased strength and recovery (both from hard workouts and injuries).
So the real question is – will this work for those of us that are natty or off-cycle, and if so, will it be worth it?
How does laxogenin work?
Laxogenin is often compared to oxandrolone since it is believed to have a similar anabolic/androgenic ratio. You may know oxandrolone by its trade name, Anavar.
Oxandrolone reduces Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) hormones, which promote higher levels of free testosterone and increases nitrogen retention that will leads to anabolism. Oxandrolone has been shown to directly promote lipolysis by binding to androgen receptor, reducing thyroid-binding globulin and enhanced utilization of triiodothyronine (T3). It also increases red blood cell count resulting in an increase in muscular endurance.
To be clear laxogenin is not the same as oxandrolone: Laxogenin is plant-based steroid while oxandrolone is chemically synthesized. Further study is needed on Laxogenin to validate the full effect in the human body, but the extreme success with Anavar may equate to moderate success with laxogenin.
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What are the laxogenin benefits? Any research?
Research in humans on oxandrolone has shown it increases muscle strength and lean body mass, even without exercise. Other benefits include fat loss, improved insulin sensitivity and improved wound healing.[6,7] One theory is the enhancement in wound healing may translate to improved recovery for those engaged in intense exercise.
There is also a study of the brassinosteroid, 28-Homobrassinolide (HB), in rats which can also be used as a proxy for Laxogenin. The study concluded that HB stimulated protein synthesis and inhibited protein degradation in part by inducing Akt phosphorylation. Akt is a serine/threonine kinase that signals downstream of growth factor receptors and phosphoinositide-3 kinase PI3K. Akt also stimulates glucose uptake, glycogen synthesis via Akt/mTOR and Akt/GSK-3β signaling networks. In addition, HB triggered a selective anabolic response with minimal to no androgenic side-effects.
An interesting patent application provides insight…
In a recent patent application filed September 2014, titled “Phytosterol spirostane and spirostene derivatives having a wide variety of utilities in humans and other animals”,[16,17] we we can learn of a few extra claims made by the patent applicant.
Warning: At time of press, this patent has not been granted, so take these claims with a grain of salt:
The patent applicant claims that laxogenin works in an adaptogenic sense:
“An anabolic, ergogenic, immunoprotective and rejuvenating adaptogenic composition for animals, the composition comprising an effective amount of a spirostane derivative selected from the group consisting of laxogenin derivatives, 5-hydroxy-laxogenin derivatives and combinations thereof”[16,17]
Adaptogens are natural substances that help the body adapt to stress by exerting a “normalizing effect”. This is often useful for bodybuilders and heavy weight trainers.
Synergistic with Anabolic Substances?
“5-hydroxy-laxogenin and laxogenin are all synergistic with anabolic substances, including anabolic steroids”[16,17]
Pain Reduction / Injury Recovery Claims
Most interesting from the patent is the following claimed “case study”:
“The compounds of the present invention also have the ability to mediate and/or reduce pain in humans and other animals.
A man in his 60’s received a double knee replacement due to long time injuries. He began taking 3 doses per day of Laxogenin at 150 mg per dose one week prior to knee surgery. He stated his pain had diminished his third day on Laxogenin – 2 days before his operation.
The day after his operation the patient was able to discontinue his morphine drip altogether. He was able to began light walking 3 days after surgery, by the 7th day he could stand and walk far distances free of pain, stiffness and discomfort. He applied a liquid version of Laxogenin topically and reduced surface inflammation and scarring greatly.[16,17]
We are not sure who or where this gentleman was, and again, the patent isn’t granted, but this could definitely be of interest to our users who are into joint supplements.
LDL Cholesterol Reduction?
The last human claim worth noting:
A 44 year old male with total high cholesterol of 270 (LDL 175) reported a significant reduction in total cholesterol levels after a 3 month period using a combination of 7-keto and Laxogenin (5mg 2x daily). After three months total cholesterol levels were reduced to 230 (LDL 135).[16,17]
What makes this interesting is that these effects are often seen in other anabolic users, including those on testosterone replacement therapy, but again, we’re not sure where this applicant is getting his data and how valid it is.
The patent also has an interesting case study on two Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs who outlived their life expectancy and had a rejuvenating effect, possibly due to Laxogenin, but this is out of the scope of this article.
Laxogenin Reviews: What are the reported effects?
- Strength is reasonably but noticeably increased (ie, you will be able to make 2 reps of your 1RM bench)
- Injury recovery is reportedly quicker – joints feel more “fluid”
- 100mg/day seems to be the sweet spot
- Transdermal products work better than oral, up to this point in time. However, new encapsulation technologies in the oral products may change this.
As you can see, size gains aren’t always the most common review effect. Laxogenin’s strength-boosting qualities could be used to increase volume, caloric intake, and then add some strength, but it’s a bit of a more indirect path.
This leads us to our next section.
WHO should consider using it? Who shouldn’t use it?
Taking it further, and realizing that this is mostly for strength gains, Laxogenin is suited best to three types of individuals:
- Competitive natural athletes (see the drug testing section below)
- Steroid users who are off-cycle (to keep their strength up and not lose gains)
- Injured athletes
However, literally anyone can supplement with Laxogenin.
Evaluating risk – where on the scale is this?
In terms of “aggressiveness”, if you’re a natural athlete, we’d rate this a 6/10 based on the Laxogenin products currently available – it’s getting closer and closer to the more aggressive world out there and isn’t for total rookies.
If you’re a non-natty athlete… this is like a 2/10 in terms of risk/aggressiveness. There’s far crazier stuff out there in the world of hormonal anabolics.
The risk numbers are because there is no long-term research on it, nor is there double-blinded, placebo-controlled research on trained athletes using laxogenin either. Yet that’s where many great supplements have to start out.
How old do you have to be?
In terms of age, 18 years is the minimum age recommended by brands. Interestingly, there’s research on Laxogenin’s steroidal counterpart, oxandrolone, in young boys that concluded it is safe as a treatment for delay of growth and puberty.[11,12] Furthermore, there is data on older men that demonstrated benefits for those who exercised and also those who did not.
Anyway, if you’re just a standard “gym bro” who only cares about size and nothing else, your money may be better spent elsewhere. Laxogenin seems best applied to athletes, not just guys who want to get big.
What about women?
Since there are minimal to no androgenic side-effects with Laxogenin it should be perfectly fine for women. Furthermore, many women have anecdotally used oxandrolone without issue, which research has recently confirmed with resistance training in women. However, the effect of brassinosteroids may be decreased in the absence of testosterone so women may not see the same effects as men, considering they produce much lower levels of testosterone.
Is it banned by any organizations? Are there laxogenin drug tests?
Laxogenin is not on the WADA list of prohibited substances, as of 2016’s list. Moreover, Laxogenin does not raise testosterone so it will likely not result in a failed test.
However, Oxandrolone is on the WADA list of prohibited substances.. and as aforementioned, these two compounds are not the same but share similarities.
As always, if you are involved in any activities that require drug testing you should exercise due diligence and consult your coach and/or local drug testing governing body.
Why the limited success with laxogenin so far?
We’ve been alluding to two major issues with laxogenin over the past ten years, both of which have tarnished its reputation.
Historically fraudulent products
The first problem is with adulterated raw material product – back around 2010, there was a surge of laxogenin that…. wasn’t laxogenin.
The solution to that problem is to work with reputable brands who provide third-party test data. You wouldn’t believe the number of supplement manufacturers that do not test their own incoming raw materials (which is technically illegal). Lab tests from raw materials suppliers cannot be trusted.
This has been solved with Laxosterone, who has released several HPLC tests for theirs and some competitors. Long story short: Laxosterone has industry-leading purity levels – we’ve updated these tests over time, and as of late 2016, Bestcom Biotech has gotten them up to 98% purity levels! They’ve clearly spent the time and money to make this happen.
In addition, Olympus Labs, whose products are also discussed here, also conducts third-party high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) testing on all of their compounds. One such test can be found below:Click Here to Download the Olympus Labs Laxogenin HPLC Test
Based off the HPLC testing chart you can ascertain exactly how pure the laxogenin is – Olympus Labs states a minimum 90% purity on the label as a precautionary measure, yet it’s actually more pure according to the HPLC test results.
Although the lab tests for every batch are not available in a public database, Olympus Labs will provide them upon request.
Beyond that, the real issue is absorption.
Unfortunately, laxogenin hasn’t yet come close to the theoretical research because its efficacy has suffered a similar fate as (-)-epicatechin. Both ingredients have impressive benefits based on mice or rat studies, but anecdotal feedback has shown that some users have responded more favorably while others have experienced little to no benefits. What gives?
It’s widely believed that both compounds, on their own, are poorly absorbed in the human body. The ingredient has simply been hit or miss.
There are two different solutions to this problem:
- Deliver it transdermally (ie, rub on to dry skin on the arms, shoulders, or stomach until dry)
- Encapsulate the molecule in a lipid that will prevent degradation as it passes through the digestive tract.
The first solution is currently the most trusted method, but results are just coming in with new encapsulated forms of laxogenin that may make it easier to take.
What’s the best laxogenin raw material ingredient?
Reason being, Bestcom has the best laxogenin extraction method on the market, having now achieved over 98% purity levels, which is orders of magnitude greater than the nearest competitors. They’ve perfected these methods over time, and the charts shown below have been continually updated to prove this.
In addition, Bestcom is the one company that’s provided an actual double-blinded human based research study on the ingredient (see the charts above in our research area), and they also thoroughly HPLC test their supplements, as shown below.
This study was performed on trained humans — you can read about it on our main Laxosterone page.
You can read more about Laxosterone at www.Laxosterone.com.
Avoid Knock-Off / Low-Quality Laxogenin: HPLC Test Results:
Bestcom Biotech was gracious enough to provide these charts. First, see the Laxosterone chart:
But the competition falls way short:
Unfortunately, the other brands tested don’t fare so well:
As you can see from the charts on www.Laxogenin.com, 22%-55% purity is simply not good enough. Nobody wants to double (or even quadruple!) their doses to get gains — that could lead to horrible side effects.
Point being? We’ll stick to the good stuff: Laxosterone. Bestcom has clearly put a lot of time, money, and effort into this ingredient, and it’s paying off, given that the supplements using them are selling best and getting the best results.
What’s the best Laxosterone supplement on PricePlow?
Thankfully, the team making Laxosterone has been busy, and there are several quality supplements using it:
- Divided Labs Diverge: 50mg of straight Laxosterone per serving makes this the best way to test Laxosterone on its own.
- Nubreed Hysteria: A natural testosterone booster with 50mg Laxogenin and a whopping 1.2g nettle root in two capsules.
- LMNITRIX SPRTN: Another well-rounded natural testosterone booster / libido enhancer, but has a proprietary amount of laxogenin inside.
- Bonus: Experienced users looking for a more hardcore option can try Lecheek Nutrition Andro-5a, but note that it contains the prohormone 1-Andro and requires PCT after using it, as explained in our 1-Andro article.
The above supplements use the high-grade Laxosterone whose lab tests are proven earlier in the article.
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What are the other best laxogenin supplements?
Based on the fact that Laxogenin is hindered by a lack of bioavailability, selecting an effective product has been difficult until recently. Even responders to Laxogenin have not seen results close to what was expected from the research.
Because of this, the transdermal method is currently the way to go – the only company providing such a product and have released third-party HPLC testing is Olympus Labs, with their DermaSTRENGTH Unleashed laxogenin bottle (with pump).
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With DermaStrength Unleashed, the entire bottle contains 3000mg worth of microencapsulated 5a-Hydroxy Laxogenin, and each half-pump represents one serving. Typically, it’s used 1⁄2 a pump after showering (on dry skin!) and 1⁄2 a pump pre-workout, yielding 30 days worth. Again, it should get pumped onto the arms, shoulders, or stomach.
One deviation from this plan is for injured athletes, who could consider rubbing the transdermal gel directly onto their injured areas (so long as there are no open cuts).
That’s not the end of story though. What about those of us who don’t want to deal with all that, and just want capsules?
Microencapsulation: Improved absorption
In the same way supplement companies found a way to improve the bioavailability of (-)-epicatechin, evidenced by EP1C UNLEASHED from Olympus Labs, laxogenin is now benefitting from the same technology.
The trick to improving bioavailability of these compounds is to encapsulate the molecules in a lipid that take far longer to digest and breakdown, ultimately getting more into the bloodstream. This lipid encapsulation system is called PhytoFUSE™, a proprietary method from Olympus Labs.
This enhanced delivery system allows for greater solubility and enhanced bioavailability, helping to effectively shuttle the active ingredient to the intestines where it can be taken up while preventing degradation throughout the process.
Introducing STR3NGTH Unleashed
On January 5, 2016, Olympus Labs released the microencapsulated laxogenin: Str3ngth Unleashed, which now uses this new PhytoFuse microencapsulation technology for better absorption!
If you don’t want to mess with transdermal products, this is now the preferred way to get it:
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We all love to stack bodybuilding supplements, so let’s discuss some options, as Laxogenin is best used as part of a greater whole.
But first, realize that these are advanced natural stacks – we’re going to already assume that you are taking your staples:
- 3-5g creatine per day,
- Plenty of protein (mostly from food but some from protein powder) – 1g or more per pound of goal bodyweight
- 2.5g betaine
- 3.2g beta alanine
…plus healthy fats, multivitamin, and whatever extra amino acids you like to get the job done.
Moving beyond those staples, let’s get more advanced and isolate the selections by goal:
“Insane Gains” Bulking Stack:
“Too Easy” Cutting Stack
If you’re interested in such stacks, you should also read the research on our Muscle Building Supplements guide, where we talk about these next-generation natural supps – especially effective for those who are staying away from the overly hormonal stuff.
Combined with creatine, betaine, and a ton of quality food, this is about as aggressive as things are going to get naturally here in 2016. Possibly consider the addition of Peak ATP. All of this isn’t cheap, but that’s life when fighting for every natty pound you can.
If you’re a steroid / prohormone user, you could definitely experience some results from these, but the budget will be even more out of control considering your anabolic and PCT costs (let alone the food!), so keep those costs in mind and pick what you think will suit you best.
Dosage: What’s the recommended dosage / timing / cycling?
Several Laxogenin supplements list a cycle time of 6-8 weeks. It should be perfectly safe to continue supplementation for longer periods of time. You may want to monitor progress on longer cycles in case your body begins to build up a tolerance to the ingredient, however is not clear whether that is likely.
We suggest running this for two months on, since the build-up takes time.
What are the potential side effects?
The worst thing reported are increased headaches when taking high doses (ie 200mg) orally. This has not been reported with transdermally applied laxo.
Even the steroidal counterpart, oxandrolone, has minimal side effects. Oxandrolone is known as the milder steroids and causes minimal suppression of natural testosterone and growth hormone production.
Therefore, Laxogenin seems to be a safe (albeit weaker) alternative to harsh pro-hormones if the bioavailability conundrum can be solved.
Is PCT (Post Cycle Therapy) Required?
Since the study of 28-Homobrassinolide (HB) in rats suggested there is minimal to no androgenic side-effects, post cycle therapy (PCT) would not be a requirement.
Even a study in young males supplementing with oxandrolone showed that serum concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-1/somatomedin-C (IGF-1) increased after treatment had ceased, indicating that natural GH production was not suppressed post-supplementation like you would expect from harsh pro-hormones.
On the flipside, note that many prohormone and steroid users will use laxo during PCT to keep strength up. It should not conflict with prescription-strength PCT dosing.
But if you’re uncertain, conservative users could always consider something such as NAC and/or Milk Thistle while taking Laxogenin. This doesn’t seem to be completely necessary at this time, yet supplements like NAC are rarely a bad idea.
Be sure to read our guide on post cycle therapy if you’re looking to make this part of a serious PCT stack.
Is it legal in the major English-speaking countries?
What about FDA / DSHEA compliance?
With that being said there is absolutely no reason to believe that Laxogenin would face any legality issues: as a plant based ingredient, Laxogenin fits the definition of a dietary supplement by the FDA, and comes from plants already in the food supply.
Note that oxandrolone is on the the FDA list of approved drugs, so that should alleviate any concerns regarding the legality of Laxogenin.
Let’s revisit the question that was posed at the beginning of this article: is it worth taking?
On paper, Laxogenin seems too good to be true; a plant based steroid that will noticeably increase strength and lean body mass with no androgenic side effects, making it safe for both men and women.
Unfortunately, over time we’ve come to learn that the full benefits from Laxogenin have not been realized due to a lack of bioavailability, yet there is hope — supplement companies have a knack for eventually resolving such predicaments.
For now, transdermal Laxogenin (from Dermastrength) seems to be the way to go, but looking forward, STR3NGTH Unleashed and DERMASTR3NGTH Unleashed from Olympus Labs may hold the most promise as a next-generation option to realize more benefits.
There’s definitely an audience and demographic for this product – natural athletes who need strength, PCT users, and injured athletes. If you fit that mold, it could be worth a shot. But if you just wanna get big to impress the creeper bro’s on Instagram, your money might be better spent elsewhere.
So if you decide to invest in a Laxogenin supplement, get the right one, and get after some lifting PRs!
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Note: Laxogenin is also sometimes sold under the name Laxosterone, a brand registered by Bestcom Biotech.