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09.10.2020


Dioscorea esculenta increases the concentration of DHT in muscles

Diosgenine, het anabool in yams, is een DHT-booster
Some supplements that are supposed to accelerate muscle growth contain yam extracts. Yams are potato-like tubers from Dioscorea plants, which contain the steroid-like diosgenin. These extracts could protect against type-2 diabetes by increasing the concentration of DHT in muscle cells, suggests a Japanese animal study from 2017. And by increasing the concentration of DHT, muscle cells also get bigger...


Dioscorea esculenta increases the concentration of DHT in muscles


Study
That intensive exercise can help reduce depression was already known in the late nineties. Most of the research was done on people with depression who started running and who showed marked improvement after a few weeks. While the studies did not show that this cured depression, they did show that people whose functioning was impaired by moderate depression could reduce their symptoms and resume work again.

The researchers, who are affiliated with Ritsumeikan University, experimented with OLETF rats. This is a type of lab rat that spontaneously develops type-2 diabetes. [Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 1994 Oct;24 Suppl:S317-20.]

During the 8 weeks that the experiment lasted, the researchers did nothing at all with the first group of rats. This was the control group. [Con]

A second group of rats ran on a treadmill 5 days a week. [Ex]

A third group of rats were given feed in which the researchers had put a concentrated yam powder. If the rats had been adult humans, they would have been fed 40-60 grams of yam powder daily. [Dio]

A fourth group of test animals also received dutasteride in addition to yam powder. Dutasteride is a steroid that blocks the biosynthesis of DHT in the body. [Dio + in] Previous studies had already shown that DHT plays a role in the health effects of yam.

Dioscorea esculenta
The researchers used a yam powder from the Japanese biotech company Takara Healthcare. Takara developed applications for supplements and functional foods based on the diosgenin-rich Dioscorea esculenta in the first decade of this century. [nutraingredients.com 16-May-2006]

Dioscorea esculenta, a variety that also occurs in the wild and is cultivated in countries such as Japan, contains 200 times more diosgenin than other yam varieties.

By the way, Takara did not sponsor the study. The researchers were funded by the Japanese government.

Results
Supplementation with Dioscorea esculenta imitated the effects of the physical training. The rats consuming the yam powder had at least larger gastrocnemius and soleus muscles afterwards, and smaller fat reserves than the rats in the control group. Dutasteride canceled all those effects.


Dioscorea esculenta increases the concentration of DHT in muscles


Dioscorea esculenta increases the concentration of DHT in muscles


Dioscorea esculenta also lowered the glucose level, and this effect was absent in the rats that received dutasteride.

In a way that we cannot properly explain, Dioscorea esculenta increased the concentration of DHT in the blood, as well as in the muscles of the rats. And, as you would expect, dutasteride reversed this effect.


Dioscorea esculenta increases the concentration of DHT in muscles


Dioscorea esculenta increases the concentration of DHT in muscles


Conclusion
"Dioscorea esculenta treatment enhanced steroidogenesis in muscles, and increased DHEA-to-DHT metabolism", the researchers write. "Therefore, this plant and the substances found in it, in particular diosgenin, may be valuable in the development of novel treatments for obesity and type 2 diabetes."

Would Dioscorea esculenta also have such beautiful effects in human studies?

More coming soon.

Source:
FASEB J. 2017 Feb;31(2):793-801.

More:
Diosgenin, the plant steroid in Smilax and Yam 28.06.2014

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