Ipriflavone is a relatively new supplement that has many interesting properties. It is a isoflavone with varying biological activities that make it seem like an attactive supplement for bodybuilders as well as non-bodybuilders. Ipriflavone works by inhibiting a calcium dependent protease throughout the body. It has been shown to be totally safe without any known side effects. It really has three main benefits as I see it. Ipriflavone was originally developed and patented as an anabolic agent in 1976. It later found its use as an anti-osteoporosis drug and for its use in increasing cardiovascular capacity.
Ipriflavone was originally brought to the attention of the bodybuilding world by Brian Batcheldor. Ipriflavone does have a distinct anabolic property. Early research on this was done in Hungary and Russia -- mostly on animals although the Chinoin patent mentions a clinical study on hospital patients. It's anabolic effect stems from its ability to dramatically increase nitrogen retention, independent of calorie intake. In order to get this anabolic effect though, you have to take in between 1 and 3 grams a day. At this dosage cost will become a concern. You are looking at spending about $1 - 3 per day the supplement. This just seems a little high for my tastes though. You would probably get a lot more for your money buying Andro-Shock, or one of the other testosterone precursors.
Secondly, ipriflavone has been shown to increase cardiovascular capacity. Ipriflavone may be useful in situations such as distance racing, bicycling, or even weight training which involves ischemia, due to its oxygen-sparing effect. Ipriflavone treatment of rabbits for 8 days at daily oral doses of 30 mg/kg significantly decreased the oxygen consumption of their isolated hearts. In anoxia this effect is more pronounced. This was also illustrated further during a 10-day oral treatment of rabbits. In this experiment, they were given 10 or 20 mg/kg/day of ipriflavone. This led to a significant decrease of the lactic acid content in the myocardium, especially, in the ischaemic region. A 6-day oral pre-treatment of rats with 30 mg/kg/day of ipriflavone significantly decreased the coronary ligation-induced damage of the mitochondria and myofibrils. Electron microscope autoradiography shows that ipriflavone significantly counteracts the coronary ligation induced calcium accumulation in the mitochondria. Ipriflavone seems to influence the mitochondrial energetics in a positive manner. This all demonstates that ipriflavone has an oxygen sparing effect in the body.
The third benefit of ipriflavone is its ability to inhibit bone-degrading osteoclast activity, a process also called bone resorption. This is especially apparent in women. lpriflavone's ability to reduce bone loss is the estrogen-like effect researchers find most intriguing. Ipriflavone has no binding to estrogen receptors though it somehow seems to potentiate the metabolic effects of estrogen. Like other isoflavones, the chemical structure of ipriflavone resembles that of estrogen, likely explaining why it mimics the hormone in certain ways. Despite its ability to augment the activity of naturally occurring or administered estrogens, ipriflavone does not appear to have any classical "estrogenic' effects such as stimulating breast or uterine tissue growth. Ipriflavone has no estrogenic effects itself but it potentates the bone building effects of estrogen. Ipriflavone requires a certain amount of estrogen in the system for its osteo-protective effects to be realized. This probably explains why Ipriflavone works especially well on females. Several studies suggest that ipriflavone and its metabolites exert their osteoprotective effects in a similar manner--by inhibiting bone resorption. One short-term human study examined the effect of 600 mg/day of ipriflavone on accelerated bone loss caused by Paget's disease, a genetically linked bone disease characterized by skeletal deformity and bone pain. 11 Sixteen patients with active Paget's disease were given either 1,200 mg ipriflavone/day,in four divided doses, for one month and then a month of 600 mg/day of ipriflavone, in three divided doses, or the reverse, with a 15-day 'Washout" period in between. Both doses suppressed bone pain and biochemical markers of bone turnover. The 1,200-mg/600-mg daily dose regimen also more significantly reduced bone pain.
is not without its problems though. It has a relatively poor absorption
rate. One interesting study in the American Journal of Therapeutics
noted that the bio-availability of Ipriflavone was 8 to 20 times greater
when taken on a full stomach than when taken alone on an empty stomach.
It was further noted that the bio-availability was greater still when the
Ipriflavone was taken on an empty stomach and combined with corn oil. Although
any oil will do, bodybuilders would be better served to substitute flax oil for the corn oil instead. Although absorption can be increased
in these ways, what you are getting out of it in comparison to the cost
of the supplement as an aid to bodybuilders is not justified in my opinion.
As a bodybuilding supplement, the general consensus is that ipriflavone
may be marginally effective but it nothing special. As far as dosages
are concerned, ipriflavone is usually taken at 200 mg at 3 times per day
for osteoprotective effects, 400 - 1000 mg at 3 times per day for anabolic
benefits, and 300 - 900 mg at 3 times per day for increasing cardiovascular
capacity. At these dosages, you are looking to spend about $1 -3
per day, which is just too high for me to consciensiously give two thumbs
up. If you have money to burn though, this might be a decent supplement
to try. I just find it hard to justify the $30 - 90 monthly cost
for what you are getting.