Friday, June 10, 2011

An Apple a Day May Keep Your Muscles Strong

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. We've all said it, and can probably think of one or two reasons why this saying rings true, but in truth, the list is rather extensive. Thanks to new research, we keep finding out more and more reasons why apples should be included in everyone's diet, every day. Now, we have yet another reason - they may help prevent age- and illness-related muscle wasting. That is, if you keep the skin on.

Through studies with mice, researchers from the University of Iowa found that a compound in apple skin called ursolic acid was able to help stop muscle wasting in mice who were deprived of food, and helped mice who had food actually build more muscle tissue. This suggests that ursolic acid is able to counteract muscle atrophy (death).

Even more amazing was that the mice who received ursolic acid had lower blood levels of glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides (fats) and they were also leaner over all.

It is not clear yet whether or not these findings will translate to humans, but clinical trials are planned for the future. Also, the ursolic acid that was given to the mice in this study was extracted, meaning they likely got a higher, concentrated dose that is not likely to be found in a single apple. Regardless, since there are so many other reasons to eat an apple a day, it almost doesn't matter and may just be a happy bonus for current daily apple consumers. For those who don't enjoy an apple a day, starting to do so may only bring them the benefits of improved health. So I say, why not give it a try?