Chemical in Apples Promotes Fat Loss

Ursolic acid is a chemical found in apples, basil, cranberries, peppermint, oregano and prunes. It is used in a variety of cosmetic products and can inhibit the growth of some types of cancer cells. A Chinese study on rats found that ursolic acid supplements reduced bodyweight, increased caloric expenditure and decreased fat levels in muscle. Ursolic acid promoted fat loss by increasing the activity of uncoupling proteins in the cells, which causes fat loss by promoting heat formation. Ursolic acid is also anabolic. A University of Iowa study in mice found that ursolic acid found in apple peels prevented muscle deterioration following fasting and spinal cord injury. Ursolic acid supplements also increased muscle mass in normal mice. The anabolic effect of ursolic acid is caused by increased insulin signaling in skeletal muscle and the suppression of gene activity linked to atrophy (decreased muscle size). Ursolic acid might speed fat loss and build muscle. (Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, published online May 5, 2015)

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