Substance Found In Mustard Plant May Increase Muscle Mass

A compound called homobrassinolide, a type of brassinosteroid found in plants, produces an anabolic effect, and could increase the size and number of muscle fibers as well as increase muscle mass.

Researchers have discovered that when homobrassinolide, which is also found in the mustard plant, was fed to rats, a response a lot like anabolic steroids was triggered with a minimum of side effects. The study also revealed that the stimulatory effect of this plant steroid on muscle cell protein synthesis resulted in an increase in muscle mass, lean body mass as well as physical performance.

Brassinosteroids could one day offer a natural, effective, and safe alternative for disease and age-associated loss of muscle, or be made use of for improving endurance, muscle mass, and physical performance. Some plants we consume, like mustards, contain these substances, and it may be possible to breed plants with a higher brassinosteroid content, resulting in functional foods which can prevent or treat diseases and physical performance and increase muscle mass.

The researchers exposed skeletal muscle cells to various quantities of homobrassinolide and protein synthesis was measured in cell culture. The outcome was decreased protein degradation and increased protein synthesis in these cells. Homobrassinolide was then given oraly each day for 24 days to the healthy rats. Changes in body composition, food consumption, and body weight were measured. The rats getting homobrassinolide increased their intake of food slightly and gained more weight.

Dual-emission X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) was used to measure body composition and an increase in lean body mass in animals that were treated was seen in comparison to those that weren’t treated. This research was conducted again in rats that received a high protein diet and much the same results were seen. There was an increase in grip strength as well as an increase in the size and number of muscle fibers essential for an increase in muscle mass and physical performance.

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References: DOI: 10.1096/fj.11-181271