Grape Seed Extract Boosts Muscle Energy & Calorie Burning
Friday, July 08, 2011
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
Several new studies are demonstrating a potent energetic improvement in muscles following supplementation with grape seed extract. These animal studies are unique as they are able to document which genes are getting activated, helping to prove the molecular function of grape seed extract to enhance energy production and exercise ability.
In the first study rats were fasted for 14 hours and then fed lard, either with or without grape seed extract1. Gene expression was studied in their muscles, liver, and brown adipose tissue. After 5 hours, those fed grape seed extract had lower levels of triglycerides, fatty acids, and glycerol in their blood – so where did the calories go? They went two places. First, grape seed extract activated ATP production in muscle. Secondly, grape seed extract improved activation of BAT, which is a way that your body throws calories away as heat. Both strategies helped the animal cope with an excess surge of calories.
The second study used the Zucker obese rat2, a rat that has no leptin receptors and is therefore very similar to most overweight humans who have leptin resistance. These rats were fed grape seed extract every day for 68 days compared to a control group. Detailed gene analysis showed that grape seed extract improved enzymes within the mitochondria of muscle cells that make energy, while reducing free radical stress. Since being overweight typically involves a reduced ability to burn calories as fuel and make energy, this study shows that grape seed extract can help guide metabolism in a proper direction.
Both studies showed that grape seed extract improved the metabolism of pyruvate, a sugar-breakdown product, thereby improving carbohydrate metabolism. Pyruvate metabolism becomes very important once muscles no longer maintain optimal aerobic energy production and begin switching to anaerobic energy production. If pyruvate cannot be metabolized at that time then muscle fatigue and lactic acid will build up. If you are an athlete that means you just lost optimal performance. If you are a person in poorer health, it just means your fibromyalgia flared up. If you are an average type of fitness, it just means you no longer have the energy to exercise.
Grape seed extract is known as a potent antioxidant that directly helps the structural integrity of collagen anywhere in your body as well as the structure of your brain networks. It has already been demonstrated that grape seed extract also reduces insulin resistance. These new gene studies are showing that it is a potent gene regulator helping to sustain optimal energy production and calorie burning.
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