By Damon Armani Labrada Nutrition Research & Development Team
Getting leaner is typically a relatively easy proposition when it comes to jiu jitsu. The first few months alone, you may experience a 10 lb weight loss from all the intense anaerobic training which tests your endurance and causes the body to pull on fat stores for energy. But it’s also not unusual to lose muscle, as the body tends to pull from both muscle and fat stores in response to accelerating the metabolism to properly recuperate and operate at peak efficiency during grueling training sessions.
Fighting Fat While Sparing Precious Muscle
What if there was a new, natural ingredient on the market that could help support additional fat loss while also increasing muscle growth? As it turns out, Labrada Nutrition has just released a product that features an ingredient naturally occurring in apple peels called Ursolic Acid Lean Muscle Optimizer. In studies it has been shown to affect molecular pathways that could help to counteract muscle atrophy (decrease in muscle mass) and promote fat loss. A study performed with mice that were fed ursolic acid and fed a high-fat diet (compared to mice on the same diet but without the Ursolic Acid) significantly decreased body weight, abdominal fat, and showed lowered blood glucose and plasma lipids. The only difference was the Ursolic Acid.
Digging Deeper into the Science
The first study on Ursolic Acid that has garnered a lot of press was published in the prestigious journal of Cellular Metabolism  The study was performed on a group of mice for 5 weeks, which resulted in a 15% increase in muscular growth over a control group of mice during the same period. The muscle fibers themselves appeared markedly bigger under the microscope indicating true hypertrophy. Now here’s where it gets really interesting for the grappler. Grip strength was measured and the Ursolic mice were significantly stronger! On top of all of this, although their muscle mass increased, their weight did not. This was as a result of a proportional decrease in fat mass in respect to the increase in muscle mass. What that translates to is that the fat was fueling the energy needed to build the muscle. In sports nutrition this ingredient would be classified as a “repartioning agent.”
A study performed in 2008 demonstrated that Ursolic Acid possessed aromatase inhibitory activity (helped reduce estrogen production while increasing testosterone) . It has also been shown to be anabolic on bone via stimulation of osteoblast formation, which again, is an exciting benefit for the grappler.
In 2006, a paper from Life Sciences demonstrated that Ursolic showed liver protectant activity from ethanol consumption. So if you like to have a drink or two every now and then you can also benefit from taking this multi-faceted supplement.
Ursolic acid not only counteracts muscle breakdown during catabolic conditions such as fasting/dieting, but also is also able to help reduce body fat and lower sugar and lipid levels. Since ursolic acid is found in apple peels, the old adage, an apple a day helps keep the doctor away” could be more specifically restated as “an apple a day helps keep muscle wasting and body flab away.”
Editors Note: Ursolic Acid Lean Muscle Optimizer can be ordered from Labrada.com by clicking www.labrada.com/ursolicacid
 Damon Armani is a consultant to the sports nutrition industry and is a member of the Labrada Research & Development team. Having been an avid weight trainer for over 30 years, he has competed in power lifting and is a 3 time Collegiate Martial Arts Champion. He continues to research novel compounds and assist in designing cutting edge formulas for his clients.
 Cell Metabolism. Volume 13, Issue 6, 8 June 2011, Pages 627-638
mRNA Expression Signatures of Human Skeletal Muscle Atrophy Identify a Natural Compound that Increases Muscle Mass
 Eur J Med Chem. 2008 Sep;43(9):1865-77.
Evaluation of ursolic acid isolated from Ilex paraguariensis and derivatives on aromatase inhibition.