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Research finds an apple a day CAN keep ageing at bay – chemical protein prevents muscle wasting

September 29, 2015

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, a very popular, well-known and common phrase which has been used for decades to describe the health benefits of eating apples. However, a recent study, which was originally published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, has suggested that apple peels could be the key component that makes an apple a genuine superfood.

According to researchers, who took part in the study apple peels (along with green tomatoes) can help to prevent muscle decay and aging in elderly individuals. As people begin to age, they soon begin to lose their muscle mass. This decrease in muscle wasting is often the cause of accidental trips or falls. Even with today’s modern medicines, there is currently no form of medication that is capable of preventing muscle wasting in elderly patients. But now a new study which has been generously funded by the University of Iowa Research Foundation along with the American Diabetes Association suggested that apples are a great way to potentially preventing muscle wasting in elderly individuals, thus making the common apple a real superfood.


Green & red apple fruits

The researchers who reside at the University of Iowa reported that if apple peel was regularly consumed over a period of two months, elderly individuals who were experiencing muscle wasting would significantly benefit and experience the differences produced by the apple peel. The difference and prevention of muscle wasting occurs due to a chemical ingredient which is present within the apple peel and also the likes of green tomatoes. Muscle wasting in elderly individuals is known to be caused by a particular gene alteration which is created by a form of protein referred to as ATF4. According to researchers, tomatidine and ursolic acid that is found inside apple peel and green tomatoes, can help to significantly reduce the activity of the ATF4 protein.

This then begins to reduce the muscle aging, decay and wasting, thus benefitting the elderly population drastically. Scientists and researchers have determined that the form of protein ATF4 is a transcription factor that is capable of altering gene expression and can cause a significant reduction in muscle protein strength and synthesis. The research team from the University of Iowa conducted their overall study on a small group of mice where they closely studied the effect of tomatidine and ursolic acid on muscles. Researchers soon discovered that the two chemicals were able to significantly reduced age-related muscle weakness within the group of mice.

What's more, is at the very end of the two month research period, the muscle mass within the group of mice had reportedly increased by up to 10 percent, while the overall quality of muscles were increased by up to 30 percent. Since the study, researchers have become hopeful that the findings from the study will help to determine the very exact factors that cause aging in human beings. In addition, researchers are also very keen and interested to discover how the two chemicals, both tomatidine and ursolic acid can be utilised in order to reduce the overall effects of aging. Previous studies have discovered that these compounds could help to prevent serious muscle wasting that is often associated with the likes of malnutrition or a very sedentary lifestyle among individuals. The benefit of eating apples doesn’t just stop there. Apples are a known superfood, but not only for the prevention of muscle wasting but also the following health benefits:

• Whiter healthier teeth

• Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

• Protect against Parkinson’s disease

• Curb a variety of cancers

• Decrease the risk of diabetes

Reduce cholesterol levels

Improve heart health

• Prevent gallstones

• Beat constipation and diarrhea

• Avert hemorrhoids

• Boost immune system

• Prevent cataracts

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