Monday, June 12, 2017

Eating apples and green tomatoes could hinder symptoms of aging

Eating apples and green tomatoes could hinder symptoms of aging

As we age, our muscles become weaker and we start to lose muscle mass. This makes it harder to stand on our feet and stand up from a sitting position. Our muscle joints also become painful at times. Although it is well known that we lose muscle due to aging, the exact mechanism behind it is not known.

American researchers have identified a protein that causes age related muscle weakness and muscle loss. They have also identified 2 natural compounds which reduces the activity of this protein.

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University of Iowa researchers said that ursolic acid, a natural compound found in apple peels and tomatidine, found in green tomatoes have shown to prevent muscle loss which is a result of aging, idleness and starvation. They believe that these substances could be used to treat muscle loss and may also lead to development of new types of treatments. 

“Many of us know from our own experiences that muscle weakness and atrophy are big problems as we become older,” said Christopher Adams, M.D., lead researcher and professor of internal medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

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In a previous study, Dr. Adams and his team were able to identify 2 natural compounds - ursolic acid (found in apple peel) and tomatidine (found in green tomatoes) that prevented muscle loss caused by inactivity and starvation. The findings prompted them to use the test on elderly mice with muscle weakness and muscle loss caused by age to see if these compounds also prevented muscle loss due to aging. 

Eating apples and green tomatoes could hinder symptoms of aging

For two months, the researchers gave the mice diets that contained 0.27% ursolic acid or 0.05% tomatidine. They also gave the mice diets that lacked these compounds. Condition of the muscles on the mice was evaluated. 

The result showed that the mice who received diets with either of the 2 compounds, showed a 10% increase in their muscle mass and 30% increase in muscle strength. This increase restored their status to the same level seen in young adult mice.

After a further investigation, they found that both of these compounds deactivated a group of genes that are normally activated by a protein known as ATF-4.

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Researchers then devised mice whose skeletal muscle didn’t contain ATF-4. The test showed that the muscles without ATF-4 resisted age-related muscle loss.
“By reducing ATF4 activity, ursolic acid and tomatidine allow skeletal muscle to recover from effects of aging,” said Dr. Adams.
A collaborator in the study, a biotechnology company named Emmyon Inc. is planning to use ursolic acid and tomatidine in foods, supplements and drugs.


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