Using a screening method that previously identified a compound in apple peel as a muscle-boosting agent, University of Iowa scientists report that tomatidine—a natural compound in green tomatoes—is even more potent for building muscle and protecting against muscle atrophy.In a study published online April 9 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, UI researchers led by Christopher Adams (’99 MD/PhD), associate professor of internal medicine, discovered that tomatidine stimulated growth of cultured skeletal muscle cells from humans. The research team next added tomatidine to the diet of mice. The result? Bigger, stronger mice that could exercise longer. Moreover, the compound prevented and treated muscle atrophy.
Interestingly, although the test mice had larger muscles, their overall body weight didn’t change due to a corresponding loss of fat—suggesting that tomatidine may have potential for treating obesity.