Ursolic Acid | A Novel Muscle Building Supplement?

Updated: Sep 7, 2020

Ursolic Acid, a relatively unknown supplement which has proven to be very effective in terms of muscle building and fat loss!

You're probably wondering how it works and where it fits in within your workout and supplement program?

I'll tell you all of this!

Ursolic Acid Supplement:

This supplement is commonly found inside many plants, fruits, herbs and spices such as apples, basil, bilberries, cranberries, elder flower, peppermint, rosemary, lavender, oregano, thyme, hawthorn and prunes and others!

Ursolic acid is a pentacyclic triterpenoid, which was identified as early as 1920.

It is most commonly used in its extracted form, in which it is most biologically active.

How Much Ursolic Acid Should I Use?

Animal studies have found benefits with ursolic acid in the diet at 0.05-0.2% of the diet, which is around 10-40mg/kg (based on their weight and food intake) and the estimated human dose equivalent to this is 1.6-6.4mg/kg bodyweight; for a 150lb adult it would be the range of 110-440mg.

Credit: Examine

The human study with ursolic acid used the higher end of this dosage range, 150mg three times a day, totalling 450mg per day, this dosage did cause some activity within the body.

Therefore, if you did wish to use ursolic acid it is probably best to take up to 450mg per day split between three doses.

Ursolic Acid Benefits:

The benefits of ursolic acid are relatively extensive and potent considering this comes from herbs and plants!

These benefits extend beyond just muscle building too.

They include:

  • Reduction of fat mass & preservation of muscle in a fasted state.

  • An increase of muscle mass and a reduction of fat storage in a non-fasted state.

  • Increase brown fat mass.

  • May be beneficial for people with diabetes.

  • May reduce stress hormones such as cortisol.

  • May reduce prostate hyperplasia.

  • May reduce angiogenesis, inhibiting cancer growth.

Muscle Growth:

Ursolic acid appears to activate certain pathways related to muscle growth, increases levels of hormones responsible for muscle growth and up-regulate certain genes!

This supplement appears to increase downstream activation of Akt, which is an important pathway leading to muscle growth, it seems to accomplish this via enhancing IGF-1/Insulin signalling.

Ursolic acid also increases the level of Growth Hormone, Irisin and IGF-1, which are also important hormones related to muscle growth.

Brown Fat:

Brown fat is also known as "good fat", it is what is responsible for ursolic acid's benefits relating to diabetes and obesity.

It increases energy expenditure and impacts the bodies metabolism and energy system greatly. However, is still uncertain how ursolic acid increases brown fat.

Obesity and Fat Mass:

Ursolic acid is effective in reducing white fat and obesity, it does this via its effects on the bodies energy system and metabolism.

This is accomplished via its effects on skeletal muscle and fat mass (increased IGF-1/Insulin signalling, AMP kinase signalling, JAK/Stat signalling, NFκB signalling, retinoic acid signalling and increased Growth Hormone, Irisin and other hormones).

There are other benefits too, but I won't be going into them in this article.

Overall, ursolic acid is a powerful body recomposition agent and may increase muscle mass.

Due to the nature of ursolic acid's mechanism's of action, it seems likely it is synergistic with other muscle building chemicals, hormones and supplements, such as Testosterone, Creatine etc.

Side Effects & Other Information:

The side effect profile of ursolic acid is generally low and is deemed to be safe for use.

However one must consider that its scientific research is still preliminary and the long-term effects of ursolic acid aren't fully understood.

The information within this article has been collected primarily from this study, among a few other studies and articles.

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