Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Arctigenin, the endurance drug in Arctium lappa
The medicinal plant Arctium lappa contains the lignan arctigenin, a substance that works like an endurance drug. Researchers at the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica in China discovered this when they did an animal study, from which you could deduce that an effective daily human dose of arctigenin would be a couple of dozen milligrams.
AMPK is the enzyme that tells cells that they have to be more careful with the energy they have, and that they need to burn more fatty acids and absorb more glucose. AMPK becomes active as a result of extended periods of physical exercise – and as a result of fasting.
ATG = arctigenin.
Arctigenin also activated PGC-1-alpha. We'll spare you the complicated molecular story, but PGC-1-alpha is a key molecule in the provision of energy in cells. If you activate PGC-1-alpha, cells are able to make more and better mitochondria.
A control group was given no active substances [Veh].
At the end of the six weeks the Chinese researchers got the mice to run on a treadmill until they reached the point of exhaustion. The figure below shows that the mice that had been given arctigenin were capable of running for 40 percent longer than the mice in the control group, and covered a 60 percent longer distance.
The researchers found the above indications of increased mitochondrial biogenesis in the mice that had been given arctigenin.
Click here for a schema that shows how arctigenin probably works.
"Our results have provided additional understanding of pharmacological functions for arctigenin and the traditional Chinese medicine Arctium lappa, and suggested the potential of arctigenin as a lead compound for anti-obesity or anti type 2 diabetes drug discovery."