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More tomato juice, stronger muscles

More tomato juice, stronger muscles
During the aging process, the retention of muscle strength, and perhaps also the building of muscle strength, becomes easier as you consume more tomatoes and more tomato products such as tomato juice and paste. A remarkable study, that Japanese researchers published in the Journal of Epidemiology, suggests this.

Tomatoes & muscles
Producers of anti-aging supplements and sports nutrition follow the science news with interest about the interaction between tomatoes, exercise and muscles. Studies show that tomato juice slows down the production of free radicals during exercise, as does the production of inflammatory proteins such as CRP. [Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Nov;61:9-13.]

If you also know that there are anabolic substances in tomatoes according to in vitro and animal studies, then you understand why sports scientists like David Nieman experiment with tomato extracts on athletes. In the spring of 2018 Nieman published a study in which supplementation with the tomato extract Lycored seemed to reduce muscle breakdown in endurance athletes. [Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2018 May 1;28(3):266-73.]

If people do not do physical work and do not exercise, they lose a little muscle and muscle strength every year after their thirtieth year. Could the consumption of tomatoes, tomato juice and other tomato products slow down this loss of muscle strength? Japanese epidemiologists, associated with Tohoku University, tried to answer that question.

The researchers determined with how much force 259 Japanese adults aged 22-68 could pinch a gripper with their hands. In addition, they determined the dietary pattern of the study participants. Three years later, the researchers measured the muscle strength of the study participants again.

More tomato juice, stronger muscles

When the researchers brush away the effects of as many other factors as possible with statistical tricks, tomatoes and tomato products still protected against the decline of in muscle strength.

The effect does not seem big, but the researchers followed the study participants for only 3 years. How big would the effect be if the researchers followed their participants for 20 years?

More tomato juice, stronger muscles

More tomato juice, stronger muscles

The Japanese also looked to see if other food groups, such as citrus fruits, carrots, onions and cabbage vegetables, protected muscle strength as the years went by. They found no significant effects. The intake of fruit and vegetables in general didn't protect against the decrease of muscle strength either.

"This study found that increased frequency of consumption of tomato and tomato product was associated with reduced decline in handgrip strength among Japanese adults, even after consideration of potential confounders", the researchers summarize. "Therefore, this study suggests that consumption of tomato and tomato product may be protective against the decline in skeletal muscle strength associated with aging."

J Epidemiol 2018;28(9):397-403.

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