Mac stud­ies sup­ple­ment mix that helps re­ju­ve­nate mus­cle

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - MCMASTER UNIVER­SITY

Whey pro­tein sup­ple­ments aren’t just for gym buffs ac­cord­ing to new re­search from McMaster Univer­sity. When taken on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, a com­bi­na­tion of these and other in­gre­di­ents in a ready-to-drink for­mula have been found to greatly im­prove the phys­i­cal strength of a grow­ing co­hort: se­nior cit­i­zens.

The de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of mus­cle mass and strength that is a nor­mal part of ag­ing — known as sar­cope­nia — can in­crease the risk for falls, meta­bolic dis­or­ders and the need for as­sisted liv­ing, say re­searchers.

“Older peo­ple who do lit­tle to pre­vent the pro­gres­sion of sar­cope­nia drift to­ward a state where they find ac­tiv­i­ties of daily liv­ing, like ris­ing from a chair or as­cend­ing stairs very dif­fi­cult or maybe im­pos­si­ble,” says lead sci­en­tist Stu­art Phillips, pro­fes­sor in the depart­ment of ki­ne­si­ol­ogy and mem­ber of McMaster’s In­sti­tute for Re­search on Ag­ing.

While a num­ber of iso­lated nu­tri­tional in­gre­di­ents have been shown to fight sar­cope­nia, this is the first time such in­gre­di­ents — which in­clude whey pro­tein, cre­a­tine, vi­ta­min D, cal­cium and fish oil — have been com­bined and tested for this pur­pose.

For the study, which was pub­lished Tues­day in the jour­nal PLOS ONE, the team re­cruited two groups of men aged 70 and older. One group took a pro­tein-based, multi-in­gre­di­ent nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ment for six weeks without an ex­er­cise reg­i­men, while the other group took a placebo. The ob­jec­tive was to eval­u­ate whether con­sump­tion would re­sult in gains in strength and lean body mass.

Fol­low­ing those six weeks, sub­jects con­tin­ued to take the sup­ple­ment (and placebo) while also un­der­tak­ing a 12-week pro­gres­sive ex­er­cise train­ing pro­gram con­sist­ing of re­sis­tance and high-in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing.

“We chose that com­bi­na­tion of ex­er­cises to get a max­i­mal ben­e­fit in terms of fit­ness and mus­cle strength,” said Gianni Parise, sci­en­tific co-lead on the study.

“The re­sults were more im­pres­sive than we ex­pected,” says Kirsten Bell, a PhD stu­dent who worked on the study.

The find­ings showed im­prove­ments in de­te­ri­o­rat­ing mus­cle health and over­all strength for par­tic­i­pants both be­fore and af­ter the ex­er­cise reg­i­men.

In the first six weeks, the sup­ple­ment re­sulted in 700 grams of gains in lean body mass — the same amount of mus­cle these men would nor­mally have lost in a year. When com­bined with ex­er­cise twice weekly, par­tic­i­pants no­ticed greater strength gains — com­pared to their placebo-tak­ing coun­ter­parts.

“Clearly, ex­er­cise is a key part of the greatly im­proved health pro­file of our sub­jects,” says Bell, “but we are very ex­cited by the en­hance­ments the sup­ple­ment alone and in com­bi­na­tion with ex­er­cise was able to give …”

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