Steroid from Mustard Can Help Improve Physical Fitness: A North Carolina Study
A recent research conducted by Debora Esposito and colleagues from the Human Health Institute at North Carolina University in Kannapolis, USA, suggested that a compound called homobrassinolide, found in plants like mustard, helps to increase the lean body mass, muscle mass and physical performance in mammals.
28-Homobrassinolide (HB) is a brassinosteroid (steroid found in plants from Brassica family) that has a potent plant growth promoting property but has no known function in mammals. The researchers of this study, however, found that homobrassinolide produces an anabolic effect in mammals as well, that is, it helps increase protein synthesis within cells resulting in the build up of cellular tissue which in turn increases appetite and muscle mass along with the number and size of muscle fibers in animals.
The study involved healthy rats receiving an oral administration of hemobrassinolide daily for 24 days. Changes in their body weight, food consumption, and body composition were measured using dual emission X ray absorptiometry analysis. The analysis showed an increased muscle mass in treated animals over those who were not treated.
An increase in the muscle mass means a higher basal metabolic rate. A high BMR assists in a greater caloric burning even at rest and thus helps one to stay lean and fit.
Homobrassinolide was seen to increase protein synthesis and inhibit protein degradation. The research clearly exhibited an increase in the number and size of muscle fibers which is important for increased physical strength and endurance.
Although the above study and results are cited to be still a little unexplored, the study does bring forth many future interventions and prospects in the medical and nutrition science.
Experts suggest that plants like mustard could be engineered for a higher brassinosteroid content producing functional foods which could help one stay lean, increase muscle mass and prevent disease.
In future supplements or medicines incorporating brassinosteroids could also be developed to provide a safe and effective cure for age and disease associated muscle loss. It could also be used as a safe alternative to synthetic steroids with minimal or no side effects by the general population or athletes to build strength and endurance.
In terms of caloric content also mustard leaves score high as they are extremely low in calories. They are high in antioxidants and have anti inflammatory properties. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and selenium.
Mustard could be an integral part of the diet in the form of the vegetable prepared with the leaves or seeds used in salads, curds and for tempering. Conscious efforts could be made to consume at least 1 teaspoon of mustard with water or as a part of food to enjoy its benefits.
Reference: Esposito D, Komarnytsky S, Shapses S, Raskin I. Anabolic effect of plant brassinosteroid. FASEB J. 2011 Oct;25(10):3708-19. Epub 2011 Jul 11.