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The secret of the Soviet athletes success was Maral Root powder - Truth or Myth?

The history of sports of the 20th century tells us that the active use of dietary supplements from natural herbs by athletes began in the 1970s in the Soviet Union.

In the list of pharmacological remedies popular at that time among professional athletes, there was also an extract from the Maral root in the form of its ecdysteroids, nicknamed the "Russian Secret" in the Western countries. It was used by them in preparation for the Olympics in 1980, at which Soviet athletes achieved resounding success.

A few years later, the United States created its own analog - the mesobolin, which was distributed mostly thru not “approved” channels. Separate laboratory studies suggest that the effectiveness of Maral root extract in sports and bodybuilding for gaining muscle mass may exceed the effect of taking anabolic steroids.

The mechanism of action of Maralia root, explaining its useful properties.

Soviet scientists in the mid-70s of the last century found out that the extract of Maral roots stimulates the growth of muscle mass, increasing the activity of the elements of the cells of the human body, in which protein synthesis directly occurs.

At the same time, the concentration of protein reserves in the muscles, liver, heart, and kidneys increases. The mechanism of action of Maral root is not the same as that of anabolic steroids: the ecdysteroids in their composition act directly on the structural elements of cells responsible for protein synthesis. In other words, ecdysteroids act directly on the mechanism of protein synthesis, and anabolic steroids activate it indirectly.

With high physical activity, athletes change the functional characteristics of blood (increases clotting and its viscosity, decreases the concentration of antibodies) affects the deterioration of productivity and sports performance.

Studies by Soviet scientists have shown an improvement in the functional characteristics of blood in professional athletes when taking tinctures of Maral root ('Leveton' and 'Elton') for 20 days.

Also, observations of professional sport runners at a distance of 3 and 6 miles show a decrease in the concentration of antibodies in their blood, providing immune function, as a result of intense physical activity. It has been shown that taking a tincture of Maral root (in the form of Leveton and Elton) restores the concentration of antibodies, increasing the performance of athletes by 10-15%.

What do scientists from the USA say?

Colin D. Wilborn and colleagues decided to test the effectiveness of several popular bodybuilding remedies designed to increase muscle strength and build muscle mass. Among them is ecdysterone 20-hydroxyecdysone, which is the main active component of the Maral root.

The experiment involved 45 young athletes-bodybuilders of average age 20 years, weighing 150- 220 lb. They were evenly divided into four groups, one of which took a placebo ("dummy"), the other 200 mg of Maral root extract in the form of ecdysteroids, the other two - two other drugs.

Is the body's response to training improving, are more favorable conditions for muscle mass growth being created? Colin D. Wilborn's answer: no significant changes were observed either in improving the body's adaptation to training, or in the percentage of body fat, or strength indicators during bench presses or squats, or in the level of testosterone in the blood, or in the amount of nitrogen in the urine (nitrogen balance is an indicator reflecting whether favorable conditions for muscle growth are created in the body), or in the level of creatinine in the urine (the product of creatine breakdown).

However, there are also other laboratory results. A team of scientists investigated the effectiveness of the Maral root in tablets in sports. In addition to Maral root extract in the form of phytosteroids, it contains vitamin C, sugar, glucose, magnesium carbonate, and calcium stearic acid.

In the experiment, female athletes engaged in fitness took a Maral root powder 2 times a day for 1 pc. during meals for ~45 days. Result: it was found that taking Maral root causes a significant improvement in physical performance and muscle strength (by 15%); in the muscle strength test, in which the deadlift was performed, a significant increase in lifting weights was noted from 205 lb. to 304 lb. on the 14th day. When measuring the strength of the brush, there are no differences.

As you can see, the results of scientific research are ambiguous. Part of the study confirms the ability of the Maral root to build muscle mass, tone the body and, accordingly, have a positive effect on athletic performance.

In any case, we know for a fact that Maral root powder was used in preparation of Soviet-era athletes. A well-thought-out system of physical exercises combined with a special diet that included use of Maral root powder/ tincture most likely contributed to their top performance as some of the later research has concluded.

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