Naturally occurring compounds could block protein involved in age-related muscle loss


The next time your hand reaches out for some processed food, stop yourself and eat something natural. It is official! Naturally occurring compounds can limit the ageing process, according to a new study.

It is known that as a person ages, the muscles begin to weaken and waste away. The mechanism behind this was however unknown until recently. Dr.Christopher Adams and his team have conducted several experiments and have determined that a protein named ATF4 is responsible for muscle atrophy. The protein by itself is incapable of causing any change, however it influences the expression of certain genes that bring about the loss of strength and deterioration of muscles.

The team created genetically engineered mice that did no exhibit the protein ATF4 and observed that muscles that lacked this protein were resistant to ageing.

Prior to this discovery, the team also determined that two naturally occurring compounds, namely ursolic acid and tomatidine were influential in maintaining the muscle strength. While the former is found in Apple peel, the latter is found in green tomatoes.

The team tested their hypothesis on mice by giving them diets that either had sufficient amounts of these compounds or lacked the aforementioned compounds. The mice were treated to their specialized diets for 2 months.

At the end of the study, it was observed that the mice that were treated to the compounds, exhibited an increase in muscle mass. It was also observed that the muscle strength increased by 30%. The mice that received the compounds exhibited muscle strength compared to their younger counterparts.

It was inferred that Ursolic acid and Tomatidine brought about the deactivation of genes that are activated by ATF4.

Hence it can be concluded that Ursolic acid and Tomatidine if found to be effective for humans, could be used in combination with physical therapy and other drugs in order to alleviate muscle atrophy.