We say mustard, you think hot dog. It’s OK—that kind of thinking is hard-coded into Americans at birth, but just try to focus, because everyone’s second-favorite condiment is about to get some cred of its own. According to research, consuming homobrassinolide, a class of plant steroids found in the mustard plant, produces a stimulatory effect on protein synthesis in muscle cells, triggering a response similar to anabolic steroids. The study, which was published in The FASEB Journal, revealed that, when administered to rats, homobrassinolide produced a profound anabolic effect by amplifying protein synthesis and curbing muscle protein degradation, resulting in significant increases in lean muscle mass as well as the size and number of muscle fibers. Furthermore, a grip strength test revealed additional performance-enhancing effects.
By the end of the 24-day study, the rats had significantly increased both their lean body mass and muscle strength. Homobrassinolide comes from the mustard plant, so it’s important to consider the amount of processing that goes into the mustard that you choose. Pass up the bright yellow stuff for something a little more wholesome and natural with as little processing—at least as far as you can tell from the label—as possible, and use it to spice up your post-workout meals.
Reference: D. Esposito et al., The FASEB Journal, 25(10):3708, 2011.