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Original Article

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol 2017; 21(6): 651-656

Published online November 1, 2017

Copyright © Korean J Physiol Pharmacol.

Ursolic acid supplementation decreases markers of skeletal muscle damage during resistance training in resistance-trained men: a pilot study

Hyun Seok Bang1,#, Dae Yun Seo2,#, Young Min Chung3, Do Hyung Kim4, Sam-Jun Lee1, Sung Ryul Lee2, Hyo-Bum Kwak5, Tae Nyun Kim2, Min Kim2, Kyoung-Mo Oh6, Young Jin Son7, Sanghyun Kim8, and Jin Han2,*

1Department of Physical Education, College of Health, Social Welfare and Education, Tong Myong University, Busan 48520, 2National Research Laboratory for Mitochondrial Signaling, Department of Physiology, Department of Health Sciences and Technology, BK 21 Plus Team, College of Medicine, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Center, Inje University, Busan 47392, 3School of Free Major, Tong Myong University, Busan 48520, 4Department of Physical Education, Changwon National University, Changwon 51140, 5Department of Kinesiology, Inha University, Incheon 22212, 6Department of Sports Leisure, College of Kyungsang, Busan 47583, 7Department of Sports Industry, Busan University of Foreign Studies, Busan 46234, 8Department of Sports Science, College of Natural Science, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju 54896, Korea

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ursolic acid (UA) supplementation was previously shown to improve skeletal muscle function in resistance-trained men. This study aimed to determine, using the same experimental paradigm, whether UA also has beneficial effects on exercise-induced skeletal muscle damage markers including the levels of cortisol, B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), myoglobin, creatine kinase (CK), creatine kinase-myocardial band (CK-MB), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in resistance-trained men. Sixteen healthy participants were randomly assigned to resistance training (RT) or RT+UA groups (n=8 per group). Participants were trained according to the RT program (60~80% of 1 repetition, 6 times/week), and the UA group was additionally given UA supplementation (450 mg/day) for 8 weeks. Blood samples were obtained before and after intervention, and cortisol, BNP, myoglobin, CK, CK-MB, and LDH levels were analyzed. Subjects who underwent RT alone showed no significant change in body composition and markers of skeletal muscle damage, whereas RT+UA group showed slightly decreased body weight and body fat percentage and slightly increased lean body mass, but without statistical significance. In addition, UA supplementation significantly decreased the BNP, CK, CK-MB, and LDH levels (p<0.05). In conclusion, UA supplementation alleviates increased skeletal muscle damage markers after RT. This finding provides evidence for a potential new therapy for resistance-trained men.

Keywords: Resistance training, Resistance-trained men, Skeletal muscle damage markers, Ursolic acid