Xenohormones (sometimes also called pseudohormones) are not real hormones, but they act as such. Some xenohormones are naturally occurring in the nature: there is a wide range of phytoestrogens and other xenoestrogens in our food and all around us.
What does it mean? It means that if you eat a soy meal (to mention one notorious source) you also ingest some compounds stimulating your estrogen receptors and causing estrogenic side-effects.
Since 2008, we also know some artificially made xenoandrogens – or compounds stimulating the androgenic receptors. Interestingly, just as testosterone and its derivates have both anabolic and androgenic effects, so do the xenoandrogens. The exact ways of action in xenoandrogens, which are mostly tocopherols and tocotrienols modified on molecular level, are yet to be understood.
However, several clinical studies on both animals and humans confirmed their effects.
All clinical studies confirmed strong anabolic and androgenic effects of various modified tocopherols and tocotrienols. Scientists are able to modify various types of these compounds to induce various levels of anabolic and androgenic stimulation. This way several different xenoandrogens closely mimicking existing anabolic steroids have been developed.
Morishita I, Okubo K, Mizuno Y, Sawada M, “Stimulation of androgenic receptors and protein synthesis by altered all-rac-alpha-tocopheryl acetate in mammals”. J Steroids Hormon Sci 2008, 10.4172/2157-7536.1330104
Tocopherols are series of organic compounds consisting of various methylated phenols. Various molecular alterations of these compounds were studied as potential stimulators of androgenic receptors in several mammal species (rattus rattus, pan troglodytes, macaca fascicularis). Depending on the genetic variations of the androgen receptor gene, the stimulation was mild to very strong. Further study of the potential therapeutic effects of modified tocopherols is necessary.
Bauer V, Smolensky B, Bartosova K, Smid T, “Use of xenoandrogens (altered tocopheryl acetate) in patients with testosterone deficiency”. Hormone and Metabolic Research (Journal), 2010 (31)
A group of novel selective non-steroidal androgen stimulators were applied to a group of 54 men between 22 and 61 years of age. In a 6-month randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study we proved the efficiency of these tocopherol esters in over 80% of treated subject. The control group showed no significant improvement. The mechanism of NR3C4 stimulation is still being studied.
Gerber W L, Dias S, Warsawski D, Williams J, “Androgenic and anabolic effects of gamma-tocopherol and alpha-tocopherol modifications on rats”. Princeton Scientific Pub. Co. pp. 9–13. ISBN 0-911131-35-3.
Androgen receptors interact with certain signal transduction proteins in the cytoplasm. Androgen binding to cytoplasmic androgen receptors can cause rapid changes in cell function independent of changes in gene transcription, such as changes in ion transport. Stimulation of androgen receptors by testosterone and DHT is well described. A novel approach of stimulating these receptors (AR, NR3C4) by modified tocopherols and tocotrienols was studied on laboratory animals. The alternative stimulants proved highly efficient even in comparison to DHT. Protein synthesis in observed animals was increased by 184% comparing to the control group.