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Ursolic Acid

Touted by some as one of the most exciting natural compounds to be released into the dietary supplement industry in years. Ursolic acid is definitely an interesting compound that has the potential to offer users numerous benefits.

While research is still in its early stages in regards to its impact on things such as muscle growth and the ability to increase weight loss. It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on this ingredient in the near future to see what it’s truly capable of once more studies are conducted.

What it does

Ursolic acid has been studied in humans and shown to be effective at increasing strength and power[1]. With increased strength, one could assume that muscle mass would be increased during hypertrophic training, however, in the cited study it appears participants did not gain any lean body mass over the 8-week time frame. This could be a result of less than stellar training techniques as the study utilized 10-15 repetitions per set, instead of the traditional 8-12 usually associated with muscle growth.

In mouse-model studies, researchers have found this compound capable of increasing lean muscle mass, fast and slow twitch muscle fiber size, grip strength, exercise capacity, and brown fat levels[2]. Although it may sound like a negative, increasing brown fat helps the body burn additional calories via enhanced rates of thermogenesis which provides further credence to the idea that it can help promote fat loss as well[3].

How it works

Ursolic acid is capable of increasing strength and power due to the increases in IGF-1 (+22.8% in humans) and skeletal muscle Akt activity. IGF-1 has been shown to play a vital role in both muscle growth and strength[4], as well as capable of increasing new muscle cell growth[5].

It’s fat burning capabilities are attributed mainly to irisin, a hormone traditionally released during exercise which has been shown to convert white fat into brown fat via UCP1[6]. Brown fat is capable of increasing non-shivering thermogenesis which helps the body burn more calories which ultimately leads to fat loss over time.


Current research suggests the best dosing protocol for ursolic acid is 150mg, taken three times per day.

One should note that ursolic acid may suffer from poor bioavailability which means it can be hard for the body to absorb it properly. As a result of this limitation, using a ursolic acid supplement that includes a specific delivery system that is capable of enhancing bioavailability would more than likely mean significantly increased results.