Shilajit may benefit skeletal muscle in obese adults: Natreon study

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Obesity Muscle

Image © Chirag jindal
Image © Chirag jindal
The traditional Ayurvedic ingredient Shilajit, a tar-like mineral that oozes out of rocks in the Himalayas, may improve bones and muscles in obese individuals when consumed orally.

In a study partially funded by Ayurvedic​ supplements company Natreon​, researchers tested the company’s PrimaVie Shilajit capsules to find out the effect of oral Shilajit​ supplementation and exercise training on human skeletal muscle adaptation in a group of overweight human participants.

Though Shilajit is a common staple in traditional Indian medicine that dates back hundreds of years, the researchers argued that this current study, for the first time, “presents a mechanism of action of Shilajit in improving skeletal muscle adaptation in overweight/obese subjects exercising 30 min a day 3 days a week for 4 weeks,” ​they wrote in their report​, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.

According to the researchers, the Shilajit supplementation “resulted in skeletal muscle adaptation through upregulation of ECM-related genes that control muscle mechanotransduction properties, elasticity, repair, and regeneration.”

Study design

The longitudinal study involved 16 participant aged 21 to 70 years of both genders with a body-mass index of 25-35. Other requirements included being free from several medications (for csardiovascular-related disorders, for example) and other conditions that may skew the results for a general obese population, such as pregnancy.

Overall, the study had two phases: An initial eight week of PrimaVie oral supplementation, and then an additional four weeks where participants took the supplements along with exercise, 30 min a day for three days a week in that period.

They were required to attend four study visits during the 12-week study period—the first visit was to take baseline measurements, the second visit was after the eight weeks of oral supplementation, third visit was the penultimate day of the four-week supplementation plus exercise period, and the final visit was at the very last day after the last bout of exercise.

At each visit, data of the participants were collected, which included 50 ml of blood, 5 mm muscle biopsy, and demographic information (age, gender, weight, BMI, bloog pressure, and pulse). The 250 mg capsules for supplementation were supplied by Natreon.

Results and observations

Compared to the baseline, researchers did not note any significant changes in lipid profile measurements, such as cholesterol, HDL-C, and triglycerides, as well as unchanged levels of serum myoglobin and blood glucose. The researchers said these were indicators that “[Shilajit] was well tolerated and maintained physiological body glucose metabolism, homeostasis, and muscle integrity in the skeletal muscle of overweight/class I obese human subjects.”

When it came to the muscles, analyses of the biopsy revealed that, after eight weeks of oral supplementation, “significant upregulation of collagen and other extracellular matrix-associated genes was noted” ​compared to the baseline.

They argued that Shilajit supplementation on skeletal muscle adaptation was comparable with exercise by mediating specific synthesis and degradation of the extracellular matrix, but added that “further studies are required to determine exact mechanisms of PVS-induced ECM gene expression changes.”

Source: Journal of Medicinal Food

DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2016.0010

The Human Skeletal Muscle Transcriptome in Response to Oral Shilajit Supplementation

Authors: Amitava Das, Soma Datta, Brian Rhea, Mithun Sinha, Muruganandam Veeraragavan, Gayle Gordillo, Sashwati Roy

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