It’s found in coffee, but also in oranges, peanuts and apples. According to an animal study done by nutritionists at Chonnam National University in Korea, ferulic acid may be of interest to endurance athletes – especially ones who need to perform well over a period of consecutive days.
It’s found in coffee, but also in oranges, peanuts and apples. According to an animal study done by nutritionists at Chonnam National University in Korea, ferulic acid [structural formula shown here] may be of interest to endurance athletes – especially ones who need to perform well over a period of consecutive days.
Ferulic acid is abundant in our diet. Besides the foods already mentioned it’s also found in the cell walls of grains such as wheat, oats and rice. Because ferulic acid is already used as a performance enhancer in the equestrian sports world, and there are already indications that strength athletes who take ferulic acid perform better [J Appl Sci Res. 1990; 4:104-109.], the Koreans decided to test the stuff on mice.
The researchers first got their lab animals to swim in an aquarium until they couldn’t keep their heads above water any longer. They measured the amount of time the animals managed to keep swimming. Half an hour before the swimming test started the researchers gave the mice either nothing [Control], or 125 or 250 micromoles ferulic acid per kg bodyweight orally. The human equivalent of these doses is roughly 1500 or 3000 mg.
The ferulic acid led to a considerable improvement in endurance capacity.
The Koreans also did another, 3-day, experiment. On day 1 they got the mice to swim, without giving them ferulic acid. On days 2 and 3 they repeated the swimming test. Before the tests, half of the animals were given 250 micromoles ferulic acid and the other half were given nothing [Control].
On day 3 the mice in the control group performed noticeably worse than on day 1. The mice in the ferulic acid group retained their initial endurance capacity.
The Koreans suspect that ferulic acid keeps performance level up by stimulating endogenous antioxidants such as catalase [CAT], superoxide-dismutase [SOD] and glutathione-S-transferase [GST]. The table above shows the concentrations of the protective enzymes that the Koreans found in the liver of their lab animals after they had done the last swimming test.
The research was funded by the Korean government.
Stimulatory effects of ferulic acid on endurance exercise capacity in mice.
You Y, Park J, Yoon HG, Lee YH, Hwang K, Lee J, Kim K, Lee KW, Shim S, Jun W.
Department of Food and Nutrition, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea.
Ferulic acid was orally administered to mice in order to investigate its effects on exercise endurance capacity. When a single administration of ferulic acid was given to the mice in an adjustable-current water pool, the duration of exhaustive swimming was longer than that exhibited by the mice in the control group. Also, when the mice were exhaustively exercised for 3 consecutive days, no change in swimming time was found in the ferulic acid-administered group on the final day, and a large decrease in the untreated mice. Administration of ferulic acid efficiently activated the hepatic antioxidative defense system during exercise. The mice that received ferulic acid showed significant increases in the activity of hepatic antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione-S-transferase. Furthermore, an increased glutathione level was observed, while the malondialdehyde content was reduced. These results suggest that ferulic acid possesses stimulatory effects that can enhance exercise endurance capacity and reduce fatigue by elevating antioxidative potentials.
PMID: 19502723 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]