The Myostatin Inhibiting & Myogenic Effects of Epicatechin: Cacao & Tea Contain Well-Known But Overlooked Anabolic
|Does a flavanol in "real chocolate" help you shed the fat and build the muscle?|
"Epi" as in "Epistane" (*) was yesterday...
... "epi" as in chocolate epicatechin is the future (*Epistane was the brand name of a "pro-steroid"). This could be the take home message of future follow up studies in human beings, if the results Gutierrez-Salmean et al. observed in isolated rodent and human muscle cells translate to the real world.
- produce a +50% increase in exercise capacity in mice (Nogueira. 2011), and
- improve skeletal muscle structure / mitochondrial capacity in older patients with heart failure and type 2 diabetes (Taub. 2012)
|Figure 1: Relative change in myostatin, Myf5, MyoD and Myogenin levels after incubation of cells from skeletal muscle of young vs. old rodents with (-)-epicatechin (Gutierrez-Salmean)|
|Additional Read: "The Myostatin <> Clenbuterol Connetion" | read more|
Ok, so it could in fact be a good thing that the "next anabolic revolution", let's call it Chocobolic™ won't make you look like the Belgian Blue bull in the image on the right...
Rigth, that's really a good thing. What's not so good, though is that it would also lack the exciting effects on MyoD, Myogenin (sorry for the typo in Figure 1) and Myf5 and with them the ability for the recruitement of satellite cells and the genesis of new myonuclei (learn more) - exactly those processes that will avoid the loss of skeletal muscle function.
Contrary to the futile "baloon"-like gains in response to an increase in protein synthesis, these "gains" are meant to stay. In fact, the presence of additionally myonuclei could be the explanation about the miraculous rapid muscle (re-)gain in "roid using mice" you've read about just yesterday in the SuppVersity Facebook News... but I am getting off topic, here - if you want to learn more about the said study and never miss news like this again go to and like the SuppVersity Facebook page.
|Remember the anti-androgenic effects of green tea catechins I wrote about in September 2011? Well guess what EPI, or here EC, is one of the exceptions to the rule that has been shown to increase testeosterone by up to +24% (EC) | learn more|
There is still a long way to go from rodent and human myocytes in the petri dish to the average supplement costumer and I am not sure whether or not epicatechin will ever make it across the finish line - irrespective of the promising results Noguiera et al. and Taub et al. already observed in rodent skeletal and human heart muscle in response to the provision of 2x 1.0 mg/kg of pure (-)-epicatechin (2x HED 6.5mg; Nogueira. 2011) or dark chocolate and a beverage containing 100 mg of Epi per day for 3 months (Taub. 2012).
- Gutierrez-Salmean G, Ciaraldi TP, Nogueira L, Barboza J, Taub PR, Hogan M, Henry RR, Meaney E, Villarreal F, Ceballos G, Ramirez-Sanchez I. Effects of (-)-epicatechin on molecular modulators of skeletal muscle growth and differentiation. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. Oct. 2013 [accepted manuscript].
- Lunn WR, Pasiakos SM, Colletto MR, Karfonta KE, Carbone JW, Anderson JM, Rodriguez NR. Chocolate milk and endurance exercise recovery: protein balance, glycogen, and performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Apr;44(4):682-91.
- Nogueira L, Ramirez-Sanchez I, Perkins GA, Murphy A, Taub PR, Ceballos G, Villarreal FJ, Hogan MC, Malek MH. (-)-Epicatechin enhances fatigue resistance and oxidative capacity in mouse muscle. J Physiol. 2011 Sep 15;589(Pt 18):4615-31.
- Pritchett K, Pritchett R. Chocolate milk: a post-exercise recovery beverage for endurance sports. Med Sport Sci. 2012;59:127-34.
- Saunders MJ. Glycogen replenishment with chocolate milk consumption. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2011 Nov-Dec;10(6):390.
- Spaccarotella KJ, Andzel WD. The effects of low fat chocolate milk on postexercise recovery in collegiate athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Dec;25(12):3456-60.
- Taub PR, Ramirez-Sanchez I, Ciaraldi TP, Perkins G, Murphy AN, Naviaux R, Hogan M, Maisel AS, Henry RR, Ceballos G, Villarreal F. Alterations in skeletal muscle indicators of mitochondrial structure and biogenesis in patients with type 2 diabetes and heart failure: effects of epicatechin rich cocoa. Clin Transl Sci. 2012 Feb;5(1):43-7.