Alpha-cedrene, a completely new kind of anabolic from cedar oil
Human beings can smell alpha-cedrene, a substance present in cedar oil, thanks to the presence of receptors in our noses. Muscle cells have the same receptor - and as strange as it sounds, this receptor, when triggered by alpha-cedrene, can make muscle tissue bigger and stronger.
MOR23, OR10J5 and muscles
Mice have 900 receptors in their noses, with which they can smell specific substances. People only have 400. These same olfactory receptors can also be found in other places in the body, and recent studies have shown that some of these receptors have vital functions. [BMB Rep. 2012 Nov;45(11):612-22.]
The receptor with which mice detect alpha-cedrene, MO23, is also found in the liver, for example. Stimulation of MOR23 by alpha-cedrene possibly protects against fatty liver, South Korean nutritional scientists from Yonsei University reported in 2017. [Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 25;7(1):9471.]
Humans have a receptor that is very simalir to MOR23. Its name is OR10J5. And because it was already known that stimulation of MOR23 also induces muscle recovery and muscle growth, [Dev Cell. 2009 Nov;17(5):649-61.] [Cell Adh Migr. 2010 Oct-Dec;4(4):502-6.] The Koreans wondered whether they could make muscles bigger and stronger with alpha-cedrene.
The Koreans adminstered mice a large dose of alpha-cedrene every day for 10 weeks via the oral route. If the mice had been humans, they would habe been given got 1 to 1.5 grams of alpha-cedrene each day.
The toxicity of alpha-cedrene has not been well researched, but in 2008 EFSA concluded that Europeans are exposed to a maximum of a few milligrams of alpha-cedrene per day. [The EFSA Journal (2008) 918, 1-109.] That intake is apparently safe - and that is all EFSA dares to say about the safety of alpha-cedrene.
Not convinced? Just google toxic + alpha-cedrene.
Supplementation with alpha-cedrene did not make the animals heavier. However, it made them more muscular and stronger. The effect of alpha-cedrene seems to be similar to that of beta-2 agonists.
In tests with muscle cells in test tubes, alpha-cedrene stimulated the formation of muscle fibers. This effect disappeared when the researchers switched off the gene for MOR23 [MOR23 siRNA].
When the researchers studied muscle cells from the mice with which they had experimented, they saw that alpha-cedrene had increased the activity of anabolic signaling molecules such as mTOR and Akt. In addition, alpha-cedrene had increased the concentration of IGF-1, and had decreased the concentration of myostatin.
The figure above summarizes the suspected anabolic mechanism of action of alpha-cedrene.
"Given the current lack of treatments of skeletal muscle atrophy, we speculate that alpha-cedrene might be investigated as a potential therapy for illness-related muscle atrophy and weakness", write the researchers. "Alpha-Cedrene could also comprise or contribute to nutraceuticals designed to maintain muscle mass and strength during aging."
"If an alpha-cedrene-based approach is found to be effective in humans, it could possibly be used alone, together, or in combination with physical therapy and other nutritional and pharmaceutical approaches."
"In summary, the present study elucidated a new promising approach to preventing and treating the loss of muscle strength and mass."
Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 Jun 14:e1800173. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201800173. [Epub ahead of print].
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