News / Health

An Apple a Day Keeps Weak Muscles Away

Chemical in fruit's skin might prevent atrophy

An acid in the skin of an apple has been found to promote muscle growth in mice.
An acid in the skin of an apple has been found to promote muscle growth in mice.
Art Chimes

We have a common expression in America, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." The fruit is certainly a healthy snack. But now there's new evidence that a chemical concentrated in apple skin may prevent muscle weakening.

Researcher Dr. Chris Adams of the University of Iowa and his colleagues added the chemical, called ursolic acid, to food given to laboratory mice. "And what we found was, they got bigger muscles," he says. "They got muscle growth, and they got stronger. But what was even maybe more interesting was that, even though the muscles were getting bigger, the mice weren't gaining weight."

What Adams really wanted to know, though, was what effect ursolic acid would have in cases of muscle wasting.

Muscle atrophy, as it's also known, is a common result of starvation and a number of very serious diseases, including cancer, diabetes and AIDS.

"But even though muscle atrophy is very, very common and very serious, we don't have a medicine for it. And so that was our goal with these studies, was to try and address that problem," Adams says.

So, in another part of the experiment, mice were put on reduced rations, which causes some muscle atrophy. The mice who had ursolic acid added to their diet regained more muscle mass than a control group that didn't get the supplement.

"And it did this by helping two hormones that our bodies use to build muscle. And so by helping those hormones, ursolic acid reduced muscle wasting."

Adams said his team hasn't yet investigated whether ursolic acid would prevent muscle wasting, and he stresses that his research on mice may not apply to humans at all.

But there's reason to believe it might. Ursolic acid - which is found in the skin of pears and some berries, as well as apples - is also found in herbs used by some traditional healers in Asia and South America to treat diabetes. And in their experiments, the researchers injected mice with ursolic acid, which significantly reduced their blood sugar - a basic marker for diabetes.

Chris Adams and his colleagues at the University of Iowa and the veterans hospital in Iowa City publish their findings in the journal Cell Metabolism.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid