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29.08.2022


Pinoresinol and vanillic acid | Phytochemicals that mimic the anabolic effect of IGF-1

Supplements containing vanillic acid and pinoresinol, two compounds found in several plants, may help boost muscle growth. According to a fascinating Korean in vitro-study, both compounds promote anabolism by interacting with the receptor for IGF-1.


Pinoresinol and vanillic acid | Phytochemicals that mimic the anabolic effect of IGF-1


Study
Researchers at the Korea Basic Science Institute report in Molecules that they have looked for bioactive compounds in the beans of the Indian Bean Tree or Southern Catalpa - which botanists prefer to call Catalpa bignonioides.

In 2008, American researchers had discovered that catalpic acid, a fatty acid in the Indian Bean Tree bean, improves the body composition of mice, probably by increasing the sensitivity to insulin. [Clin Nutr. 2008 Oct;27(5):764-72.] The Koreans wondered if there were other interesting compounds in Indian Bean Tree beans.

Results
The Koreans found 15 potential bioactive substances in methanol extracts from the beans of the Indian Bean Tree. The researchers tested these separately in vitro on young muscle cells.

First, they found that none of these substances damaged the cells.

Second, they found that 2 of 15 compounds, vanillic acid and pinoresinol, stimulated the growth and development of the young muscle cells.


Pinoresinol and vanillic acid | Phytochemicals that mimic the anabolic effect of IGF-1


Pinoresinol and vanillic acid | Phytochemicals that mimic the anabolic effect of IGF-1


The optimum concentration for stimulating muscle cell proliferation was on the order of a few micrograms. If the bioavailability of vanillic acid and pinoresinol is not too bad, supplementation with these two phytochemicals may be an option.

Mechanism
The Koreans discovered that both vanillic acid and pinoresinol increased the activity of classic anabolic signaling molecules such as pAKT, mTOR, myoD and myogenin.


Pinoresinol and vanillic acid | Phytochemicals that mimic the anabolic effect of IGF-1


You would also expect this activation of anabolic pathways if you exposed muscle cells to an anabolic hormone such as IGF-1. So the Koreans used models to calculate whether vanillic acid and pinoresinol might interact with the IGF-1 receptor.

The figures below show that this was indeed the case. Both compounds, at least in silico, were able to activate the IGF-1 receptor.


Pinoresinol and vanillic acid | Phytochemicals that mimic the anabolic effect of IGF-1


Conclusion
"These findings may provide fundamental data for pinoresinol and vanillic acid as natural muscle building supplements to attenuate muscle loss", write the Koreans.

Source:
Molecules 2022, 27, 5397.

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