Muscle tomatoes

Lots of things change with age. There is for instance a disregard for fashion that emerges which can become distressing to onlookers but eminently pleasing for the person doing the disregarding. At the same time there is a steady battle with gravity that sees body parts that once surged upwards towards the heavens settling back into a descent toward the earth. Along with all of this can go a loss of muscle but like so many aspects of ageing this loss of muscle does not have to be so, at least not to such a degree and it seems that green tomatoes may be part of the answer to keeping your muscles as you age.

Loss of muscle as you age can impair your physical activity and your quality of life so researchers set out to see if they could find compounds that might help protect muscle as you age. By using analytical tools developed at MIT and Harvard University they came across tomatidine from tomatoes, most highly developed from green tomatoes, which causes changes in gene expression that are essentially the opposite of what occurs in muscle wasting. Based on this they then ran a series of experiments.

To begin with they found that stimulates growth of human muscle cells grown in the laboratory. They then added tomatidine to the diet of mice and found that the mice grew bigger muscles, became stronger, and could exercise longer. On top of all that tomatidine both treated and prevented muscle wasting in those mice. Additionally, although the mice increased muscle mass they did not gain weight overall suggesting that tomatidine might help with overweight problems.

Tomatidine is not actually in tomatoes but is made from a compound found in tomatoes and most particularly in green tomatoes. Green tomatoes are hard to digest and you should not go eating tons of them in a quest for a sculpted musculature. Raw green tomatoes can potentially be quite toxic. However, continuing to eat tomatoes in sensible amounts as you age may do something to help prevent muscle loss…and a little exercise along the way won’t hurt.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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