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Secret Ingredient Roundup

June 24, 2011

A compound found in apple peels could prevent muscle wasting.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Keeping fit with apple peels. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A compound found in apple peels may help build muscle and lower cholesterol, according to a study in the journal Cell Metabolism. The researchers tested the effects of over 1300 different compounds on muscle cells and found that ursolic acid, derived from apple peels, kept the cells from atrophying, or breaking down. Mice fed the compound had more lean muscle mass and lower levels of cholesterol. The team’s goal is to find a way to prevent muscle wasting that can occur after injury or in old age.

In other news, researchers report in the journal Science that they’ve discovered how nicotine suppresses appetite: it binds to receptors in the brain’s hypothalamus that trigger neurons that tell us we’re full. Understanding the pathway could lead to new treatments for obesity and related metabolic conditions. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.