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Green Tomatoes Might Help Boost Muscles

Update Date: Apr 12, 2014 09:17 AM EDT

Even though the green tomato might not be as popular or as widely known as the red tomato, researchers are reporting that the little green fruit holds the key to a more muscular body. According to scientists from the University of Iowa, green tomatoes have a specific compound known as tomatidine that contributes to muscle growth.

For this study, the researchers examined the green tomato and discovered tomatidine by using the Connectivity Map, also know as CMAP. They found that tomatidine was capable of altering gene expression linked to muscle atrophy. Muscle atrophy is also known as muscle wasting, which can lead to several health complications such as weakness and muscle frailty. The changes that tomatidine triggered in cells essentially protected the body from wasting.

"Muscle atrophy causes many problems for people, their families, and the health care system in general. Exercise certainly helps, but it is not enough and not very possible for many people who are ill or injured," said lead researcher Christopher Adams, an associate professor of internal medicine and molecular physiology and biophysics according to the Times of India.

When the team tested tomatidine in mice models, they found that the compound promoted muscle growth. Mice that had their diets supplemented with tomatidine developed larger muscles in comparison to mice that did consume the compound. These mice were also stronger and exercised for a longer period of time. The compound was capable of protecting the mice from muscle atrophy as well.

The researchers noted that even though the tomatidine group of mice had larger muscles, they did not weigh any more than the control group of mice. This suggests that the green tomato could also be used in diets to combat obesity. However, more research still needs to be conducted to see if supplementing one's diet with green tomatoes would indeed be beneficial.

"We still do not know how many green tomatoes a person would need to eat to get a dose of tomatidine similar to what we gave the mice. We are working hard to answer this," Adam stated.

The findings were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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