Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Why organically grown spinach contains more anabolic ecdysteroids
Popeye, undoubtedly the strongest sailor in the world, owes his superior muscle strength to spinach. Everyone knows that. According to an in vitro study published in Plants in 2020, the formidable sailor can become even stronger if he'd use spinach grown without insecticides.
Spinach is a good source of ecdysteroids. 100 grams of dried spinach leaves may contain 10 milligrams of ecdysteroids. However, only part of this is ecdysterone - think of amounts of 0.1 - 0.7 milligrams per 100 grams.
When he exposed muscle cells in vitro, together with leucine, to extracts from spinach leaves, the muscle cells absorbed more leucine [DPM] if the spinach plants had been damaged 24 hours earlier. This indicates a greater anabolic effect.
Plants make ecdysteroids to protect themselves against caterpillars and other insects. Insects produce ecdysteroids as a kind of growth hormone. It causes them to molt or pupate. This causes them to stop eating the plant - and increases the chance that they will be eaten by birds or small mammals.
This also means that a spinach plant produces more ecdysterone as more natural damage occurs. Damage will occur more often if spinach grows in a vegetable garden or in a field than in a greenhouse. It will also occur more often if the grower does not use pesticides. The anabolic effect of organically grown spinach is probably greater than that of regularly grown spinach.