Sunday, March 6, 2011

Flavanol-Rich Lychee Fruit Extract Displays Potent Antioxidant Activity in Trained Long-Distance Runners

If I told you about each and every "new" antioxidant that produced some marvelous effects in the petri-dishes of some scientists somewhere on a random university campus, there would hardly be any space left for interesting information on this blog. In the case of the particular lychee fruit extract (FRLFE), Nishizawa et al. (Nishizawa. 2011) selected for their study, we do not only have a human study, but also direct information on how supplementation with 50mg of Oligonol (brand name of the extract) influenced inflammatory markers and performance of 20 university level marathon runners over the course of 2 months:
Some parameters, including the white blood cell count, were significantly modified by FRLFE supplementation [46.3 FRLFE vs. 57.6 control]. Compared with the placebo group, the change in the serum interleukin-6 level between pre- and mid-training were significantly lower in the FRLFE group, while the change in the transforming growth factor-β level between pre- and post-training was significantly greater in the FRLFE group.
This increase in TGF-Beta is significant, because...
...TGF-β controls cell growth and proliferation (Massagué, 1998), and may be secreted in response to strenuous physical training and cell damage during training.
TGF-beta is thus another case, where an "inflammatory marker" indicates repair and (possibly) hypertrophy rather than damage and catabolism. Consequently, it is unlikely that the consumption of a highly anti-oxidant flavanol-rich lychee fruit extract hampers muscle growth. Who knows, maybe we are going to see respective supplements in the near future - meanwhile, I suggest you get yourself some of these Chinese soapberries at your local fruit store ;-)