Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Green tea inhibits breakdown of fast muscle fibres during long-term inactivity
A supplement containing a couple of hundred milligrams of green tea extract may protect the muscle fibres of strength athletes from breaking down if they don't use their muscles for a lengthy period. Researchers at West Virginia University in the US suggest this in an animal study they published in the Journal of Applied Physiology about experiments they did with old lab rats.
At the end of the two weeks the researchers let the rats use their hind leg for the next two weeks.
During both periods the researchers studied the effect of the supplementation on the muscles in the hind leg.
Green tea supplementation did not speed up the recovery of the muscles during the recovery period.
The figure below shows how the extract reduced muscle breakdown in the plantaris during the period of inactivity. The researchers found less protein carbonyls and less 8-iso-PGF2-alpha in the muscles of the rats that had been given green tea. That is an indication of reduced activity of free radicals.
The supplementation had no effect on muscle mass when the rats started to use the muscles in their hind leg again. Nevertheless, the researchers discovered that the green tea extract stimulated the transformation of stem cells into muscle cells in both the soleus and the plantaris. But the effect was apparently not strong enough to speed up the growth of muscle tissue.
Watch this space.