|Image 1: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away!" And though the ursolic acid in its peel may be part of the underlying mechanism, this does not make it a "natural anabolic", but rather another item on the list of "healthy stuff from real food"|
More ain't more, but toxic! And even less is probably more than you can get.
Only recently, Vandré Casagrande Figueiredo and Gustavo A. Nader were able to confirm the muscle building effects in an in-vitro study using C2C12 myoblasts which were incubated with different concentrations of ursolic acid for 72h (Figueiredo. 2012).
|Figure 1: Protein content and cell viability after 72h incubation with different concentrations of ursolic acid (in µM); light bars p > 0.05, statistically non-significant (data calculated based on Figueiredo. 2012)|
The profound loss of protein in the higher dose groups and the subsequent decrease in cell viability, on the other hand, are statistically highly significant. Their real world significance does yet appear to be even more questionable, after all, it is rarely possible to double the serum concentration of a given substance by just ingesting twice as much. At the dosages that are present in the currently available supplements myotoxicity, as it was observed in this in-vitro study, is thusly probably not a real concern.
No reason to be afraid, but no reason to expect grandiose results, either
|Image 2: These muscles were not build on ursolic acid - that's for sure.|
In the end, the new data stand in line with the observations of Kunkel et al. who identified an increase in skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity and subsequent upregulation of the IGF-1 induced growth response as the underlying cause of the atrophy-inhibiting effects or ursolic acid. What can be said for sure, however, is that the currently available OTC supplements are in no way "muscle builders". According to the currently available research, they should rather be filed under "health supplements", along with alpha lipoic acid and the like. Now, that does obviously not exclude that the health improvements - above all the improvements in insulin sensitivity could not help you build muscle - the label "natural anabolic" does yet still appear largely misplaced.