According to a study conducted by a group of international researchers, including experts from Freie Universität Berlin, a chemical extract from spinach plants can be used to boost the performance of competitive athletes. Findings indicate that the substance greatly affects muscle cells.
In the double-blind study, one group of athletes received a controlled amount of spinach, while another received a placebo, without either knowing which they were taking. After the 10-week study period, the athletes who actually ate spinach showed a significantly higher increase in maximum muscle strength.
Ecdysterone is the main component in spinach extracts. The research team was able to show that the substance affects estrogen receptor beta. Many dietary supplements on the market contain the chemical. Maria Parr noted that ecdysterone had already been dubbed “the Russian secret” for enhancing athletic performance several years ago. Earlier in vitro and animal experiments showed that it had a very strong effect on muscle cells, even stronger than anabolic androgenic steroids, such as metandienone, which are prohibited in sports.Medical Press