A recent study fed rats homobrassinolide, found in the mustard plant, which produced an anabolic effect, and increased appetite and muscle mass, as well as the number and size of muscle fibers.
So maybe you can get ripped by gardening a little more. Homobrassinolide, a type of brassinosteroid found in plants, given orally to rats triggered a response similar to anabolic steroids, with minimal side effects. In addition, the research found that the stimulatory effect of homobrassinolide on protein synthesis in muscle cells led to increases in lean body mass, muscle mass and physical performance.
The researchers exposed rat skeletal muscle cells to different amounts of homobrassinolide and measured protein synthesis in cell culture. The result was increased protein synthesis and decreased protein degradation in these cells. Healthy rats then received oral administration of homobrassinolide daily for 24 days. Changes in body weight, food consumption, and body composition were measured. Rats receiving homobrassinolide gained more weight and slightly increased their food intake. Body composition was measured using dual-emission X-ray absorptiometry analysis and showed increased lean body mass in treated animals over those who were not treated.
The study was repeated in rats fed high protein diet and similar results were observed. Additionally, researchers used surgically castrated peri-pubertal rat models to examine the ability of homobrassinolide to restore androgen-dependent tissues after androgen deprivation following castration. Results showed increased grip strength and an increase in the number and size of muscle fibers crucial for increased physical performance.
"We hope that one day brassinosteroids may provide an effective, natural, and safe alternative for age- and disease-associated muscle loss, or be used to improve endurance and physical performance," said Slavko Komarnytsky, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Plants for Human Health Institute, FBNS at North Carolina State University in Kannapolis, N.C. "Because some plants we eat contain these compounds, like mustards, in the future we may be able to breed or engineer these plants for higher brassinosteroid content, thus producing functional foods that can treat or prevent diseases and increase physical performance."
Published in The FASEB Journal.