U.S. researchers found that apple peel and green tomatoes may prevent muscles atrophy as we grow older. According to a recent mouse study, muscles of lab animals fed with the two foods became 30 percent stronger and grew 10 percent in mass in just a couple of months.
Researchers noted that many middle-aged people complain about their muscles becoming softer and flabbier as they get older.
“These problems have a major impact on our quality of life and health.”
said Dr. Christopher Adams, lead author of the study and professor at Carver College of Medicine in Iowa.
In a previous research, the team found that two compounds in apple peel and green tomatoes, the ursolic acid respectively tomatidine, improved muscles’ tonicity and prevented them from losing mass when animals were starved or immobilized for long periods of time.
In the recent study, researchers planned to learn whether the two substances had a positive effect on aging muscles. The team learned that both ursolic acid and tomatidine prevented muscle weakness and muscle mass loss in elderly animals, as well.
The diets of old mice with obvious signs of muscle atrophy were enriched with 0.27 percent ursolic acid from apple peel or 0.05 percent tomatidine from green tomatoes for a couple of months.
In both groups, muscles mass was beefed up by 10 percent, while the quality of the tissue and firmness were improved by 30 percent. Scientists said that the improvements reversed muscles’ aging process to the status of young adults.
The study was published this week in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Dr. Adams said that his team has long suspected that the two compounds may help them repair muscle atrophy and weakness in the elderly. But the team also planned to study the compounds in apple peel and green tomatoes to learn more about how muscles degenerate as we grow old.
Their laboratory experiments showed that both compounds interfered with a protein dubbed ATF4 which alters the way some genes work and, therefore, muscles cannot assimilate the proteins they need to remain firm and strong.
As a result, researchers bioengineered some mice that had no such protein in their skeletal muscle. As they grew older, their muscles seemed more resilient to aging processes than the muscles of the mice in control group.
Dr. Adam explained that ursolic acid and tomatidine decrease ATF4 levels and buy the body some time to recover from aging processes.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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