Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Fitter with Gotu Kola
Three months' supplementation using an extract of the herb Gotu Kola – scientific name Centella asiatica – makes over 65s fitter. After taking the extract for three months, subjects could run faster and had stronger leg muscles. These were the results of an experiment that researchers at Khon Kaen University in Thailand published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Adaptogens are extracts of a natural origin with a broad spectrum of ergogenic enhancing effect. They are said to delay aging processes, enable users to undertake heavy physical exertion and are also believed to enhance sexual performance. Gotu Kola is said to have all these effects and you can buy it in almost every pharmacy or supplements store.
The extracts were water based. Each gram contained 29.9 mg tannic acid, 1.1 mg asiaticoside and 48.9 mg asiatic acid. Ethnopharmacologists believe that asiatic acid and its analogues are the bioactive substances in Gotu Kola. These are shown below.
Click on the table below for a larger version.
The researchers also got the subjects to squeeze a hand gripper, but supplementation had no effect on the strength in the participants' hands.
The figure below summarizes how Gotu Kola may work according to the researchers.
"Centella asiatica might be useful as a natural resource in the development of functional foods improving the daily physical activity in the healthy elderly."