Open Access Research

Treatment of human muscle cells with popular dietary supplements increase mitochondrial function and metabolic rate

Roger A Vaughan123*, Randi Garcia-Smith2, Miguel A Barberena2, Marco Bisoffi2, Kristina Trujillo2 and Carole A Conn3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Science, University of New Mexico, University Blvd, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, USA

2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, USA

3 Department of IFCE: Nutrition, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, USA

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:101  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-101

Published: 13 November 2012



Obesity is a common pathology with increasing incidence, and is associated with increased mortality and healthcare costs. Several treatment options for obesity are currently available ranging from behavioral modifications to pharmaceutical agents. Many popular dietary supplements claim to enhance weight loss by acting as metabolic stimulators, however direct tests of their effect on metabolism have not been performed.


This work identified the effects popular dietary supplements on metabolic rate and mitochondrial biosynthesis in human skeletal muscle cells.


Human rhabdomyosarcoma cells were treated with popular dietary supplements at varied doses for 24 hours. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1α), an important stimulator of mitochondrial biosynthesis, was quantified using quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Mitochondrial content was measured using flow cytometry confirmed with confocal microscopy. Glycolytic metabolism was quantified by measuring extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) and oxidative metabolism was quantified by measuring oxygen consumption rate (OCR). Total relative metabolism was quantified using WST-1 end point assay.


Treatment of human rhabdomyosarcoma cells with dietary supplements OxyElite Pro (OEP) or Cellucore HD (CHD) induced PGC-1α leading to significantly increased mitochondrial content. Glycolytic and oxidative capacities were also significantly increased following treatment with OEP or CHD.


This is the first work to identify metabolic adaptations in muscle cells following treatment with popular dietary supplements including enhanced mitochondrial biosynthesis, and glycolytic, oxidative and total metabolism.

Mitochondrial biosynthesis; PGC; Extracellular acidification and oxygen consumption rates; Metabolic syndrome; Oxidative phosphorylation; Dietary supplements