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Science & Technology

Popeye was right: spinach makes you strong

June 25, 2019 | Comment icon 19 comments



He's strong to the finish, cause he eats his spinach. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Thomas Quine
Scientists have called for a chemical in spinach to be added to the list of banned substances for athletes.
For almost a century, the world-famous sailor has been depicted guzzling cans of the green leafy vegetable to give him super-human strength in his never-ending efforts to save Olive Oyl.

While in reality eating spinach won't give you sudden bulging biceps, it turns out that it is actually far more effective at increasing muscle strength than it had previously been given credit for.

The discovery was made by scientists at the Freie Universitat Berlin's Institute of Pharmacy in Germany who identified a particular hormone in spinach - ecdysterone - that when ingested on a regular basis has the ability to significantly enhance a person's strength.
It is so effective in fact that there are now calls for it to be considered a banned substance.

"Significantly higher increases in muscle mass were observed in those participants that were dosed with ecdysterone," the study authors wrote. "Even more relevant with respect to sports performance, significantly more pronounced increases in one-repetition bench press performance were observed."

"Hypothesis was that we would see an increase in performance, but we didn't expect it to be that big."

Source: Euronews | Comments (19)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by Dark_Grey 3 years ago
Oh I'm sure eating all that spinach is doable, but like you said it's just not likely considering all the other dietary considerations an athlete would have for the day. That's probably what the German Scientists are worried about. Testing seems to play catch up with the cheating, not the other way around. 
Comment icon #11 Posted by ExpandMyMind 3 years ago
There's only something like 120 calories per pound of spinach, so most athletes would be able to fit that into their diet no problem. It'd be more of a health considerations. I just found this: https://www.fix.com/blog/foods-that-can-be-toxic/  I'm pretty sure 8lbs a day would have you in a box. In the ground. Covered in soil.
Comment icon #12 Posted by AllPossible 3 years ago
It should also be noted that eating spinach everyday is good but the problem is the amount of pesticides they put on it. Spinach needs to be organic if your gonna eat it daily. Actually alot of fruits & vegetables are saturated in pesticides. Do your research if you plan on eating alot of 1 thing
Comment icon #13 Posted by spartan max2 3 years ago
  I'll say it. Banning a vegetable is dumb 
Comment icon #14 Posted by Trihalo42 3 years ago
"Some of the participants were given placebos, others were given ecdysterone capsules containing the equivalent of up to 4 kilograms (or 8.8 pounds) of raw spinach a day. " "During the study, which was supported by the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA), those taking the supplement saw their physical strength increase three times as much as their placebo-taking counterparts." https://www.dw.com/en/german-scientists-say-spinach-chemical-should-be-banned-from-sports/a-49342711
Comment icon #15 Posted by Not Your Huckleberry 3 years ago
How about we ban what's REALLY important? Good genetics! Mommybolon and Daddydrol. That's really what matters in the end, anyway. That's what wins competitions. Dope testing is silly. You'd have to be downright stupid to get caught. Competitors know what they're being tested for and when they're testing for it and working around drug tests is an entire industry unto itself.  Truly natural athletes really have it rough, but that's the nature of the beast. Despite what anyone takes, however, the top athlete will always be the top athlete. Take the drugs away and that lineup will remain more or l... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by Ironside 3 years ago
You can legally buy ecdysterone as a supplement so why bother chewing all that greenery anyway? Spinach has always been tastier than that disgusting green demon we call lettuce
Comment icon #17 Posted by Golden Duck 3 years ago
Oh (oh) collard greens
Comment icon #18 Posted by rashore 3 years ago
Organic spinach is sprayed with organic pesticides. And a lot of organic fruits and vegetables are saturated in organic pesticides, and organic herbicides and fungicides too along with other organic chemicals. Organic farming just uses organic chemicals instead of synthetic chemicals.. it does not mean no chemicals are used.
Comment icon #19 Posted by pixiii 3 years ago
I agree. I love baby spinach in particular, especially for summer salads and the big stalked dark green leafy spinach in winter dishes.  Oh and baseless Quiches too!  Wow, I'm feeling quite peckish now.  


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