|Green tea as a magical muscle preservative for injured athletes?|
Sounds contradictory, right? Well, before we get deeper into the discussion of the results, let's briefly recap how Alway et al. arrived at these insights, i.e. how exactly the experiment looked like and which experimental evidence it generated.
The scientists from the West Virginia University School of Medicine tested the hypothesis that green tea extract (GTE) would improve muscle recovery after reloading following disuse. In men and women "muscle disuse" would equal lying around in bed or on the sofa all day. In rodents it was simulated by an initial 14-day period of hindlimb suspension (HLS) and a subsequent period of reloading (recovery).
The subjects the researchers use were Fischer 344 Brown Norway rats who were randomly assigned to receive either 14 days of hindlimb suspension (HLS) or 14 days of HLS, followed by normal ambulatory function for 14 days (recovery). Additional animals served as cage controls.
As you can see in Figure 1, the animals that received the green tea supplement exhibited a significantly attenuated loss of hindlimb plantaris muscle mass and tetanic force during.
Increased muscle retention = increased fat loss!?
That's particularly interesting in view of the fact that the changes in body weight did not differ between the green tea and water group (see Figure 2).
|Figure 3: Relative reductions in total body body weight in the two groups (Alway. 2014)|
- Alway et al. "Green tea extract attenuates muscle loss and improves muscle function during disuse, but fails to improve muscle recovery following unloading in aged rats." Journal of Applied Physiology (2014). Ahead of print.
- Cardoso, Gabrielle Aparecida, et al. "The effects of green tea consumption and resistance training on body composition and resting metabolic rate in overweight or obese women." Journal of medicinal food 16.2 (2013): 120-127.