A study conducted by a team of US researchers at the University of Iowa is suggesting that natural compounds present in green tomatoes and apple peel might possess the ability to resist weakness and muscle loss in aging people.

According to scientists conducting the said study, compounds like tomatidine and ursolic acid, present respectively in green tomatoes and apple peel, are known for decreasing activities of a protein called ATF4. The protein ATF4 is associated with a reduction in muscle mass and strength and protein synthesis in muscles during old age.

Professor Christopher Adams, a senior author of the study, said that by reducing the activities of ATF4, tomatidine, and ursolic acid allow the skeletal muscles to get rid of different effects of aging. Prof. Adams teaches internal medicine at the University.

Experiments conducted on older mice showed that the two compounds can reduce age-induced muscle weakness and atrophy significantly. According to the report published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, after consuming either of the two compounds for two months, the mice experienced 10% increase in their muscle mass and 30% increase in their muscle quality. Researchers put the rodents on a diet that either contained 0.05% tomatidine or had 0.2% ursolic acid.

Adams stated that these results reveal that tomatidine and ursolic acid have significant potential to act as useful tools for managing muscle atrophy and muscle weakness in aging bodies.

He added that as far as humans are concerned issues related to muscle strength can affect the quality of life significantly. According to him, a large share of people undergoing the aging process experience muscle atrophy and muscle weakness and face a lot of problems due to these changes.

Studies conducted earlier have shown that tomatidine and ursolic acid possess the ability to prevent severe muscle wastage associated with an excessively sedentary lifestyle or malnutrition. However, this is the first study to show that the two compounds can also reduce age-related muscle atrophy and weakness effectively.

Scientists believe that these findings by the research team at the University of Iowa have the potential of giving birth to improved therapies for keeping elderly people physically fit and active for a much longer period of time.