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Apigenin, a natural anabolic compound in parsley

The flavonoid apigenin is found in parsley, celery, chamomile and citrus fruits. Apigenin has an anabolic effect, discovered researchers at the Korea Food Research Institute. And guess what? The human equivalent of the dose the researchers gave to their lab mice is fairly low.

Apigenin's structural formula is very similar to compounds like quercetin, kaempferol and luteolin, but apparently apigenin has a different effect in the body than those related substances. When the Koreans screened apigenin, hesperetin, kaempferol, luteolin, myricetin and quercetin for possible anabolic qualities using an in vitro assay for possible anabolic properties, only apigenin appeared to be a promising candidate.

Apigenin, a natural anabolic compound in parsley

Apigenin, a natural anabolic compound in parsley

The researchers added apigenin to the feed of two groups of male C57BL/6 mice. One group received a low dose, [Api-L] another group a high dose [Api-H]. A third group of mice received standard feed, with no additions [NOR]. The human equivalent of the doses tested was approximately 20 and 40 milligrams daily.

After 7 weeks, the researchers let the mice run to exhaustion on a treadmill. The animals that had received apigenin performed better than the mice in the control group.

Apigenin, a natural anabolic compound in parsley

Apigenin, a natural anabolic compound in parsley

Muscle mass
The quadriceps of the mice that received apigenin were significantly larger than those of the mice in the control group. The higher the dose, the greater the muscle mass.

The researchers also looked at the muscle mass of the tibialis anterior, the gastrocnemius and the triceps. These muscle groups had not become bigger by apigenin administration.

Apigenin increased the production of contractile muscle proteins [MHC], the anabolic hormones IGF-1 and IGF-2, and PGC-1-alpha, a signal molecule that stimulates cells to manufacture more mitochondria.

Apigenin, a natural anabolic compound in parsley

After some in vitro research with C2C12 muscle cellse, the Koreans were able to draw up the figure below. Apigenin, according to the Koreans, triggered anabolic pathways by activating the enzyme protein arginine methyltransferase-7 [Prmt7].

Apigenin, a natural anabolic compound in parsley

"We found that apigenin increases quadriceps muscle weight in mice and increases their running distance on an accelerating treadmill", the researchers summarized. "These events are attributable to upregulation of the Prmt7-PGC-1-alpha-GPR56 signaling pathway."

"We also found that apigenin induces myogenic differentiation by regulating Prmt7-p38-myoD and the Akt-S6K1 pathway in C2C12 cells."

"These results suggest that apigenin could be used as a functional food to prevent muscle loss and enhance muscle function."

"Further studies on the effect of apigenin in aged mouse muscle are needed to better understand the protective effect of apigenin on sarcopenia."

Oncotarget. 2017 Sep 16;8(45):78300-11.

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