- Sarcopenia increases the risk for falls and metabolic disorders in the elderly
- The new supplement combination improves physical strength in older adults
- Exercising twice a week improves muscle strength greatly
Whey protein supplements combined with other ingredients in a ready-to-drink formula greatly improves the physical strength of a growing cohort: senior citizens, when taken on a regular basis, reveals a new research from McMaster University.
Researchers say that sarcopenia, which is the deterioration of muscle mass and strength occurs as a result of aging that increases the risk for falls, metabolic disorders and the need for assisted living.
‘Nutritional ingredients combined with whey protein, creatine, vitamin D, calcium, fish oil improve muscle health and overall strength in the elderly’
Sarcopenia in Older Adults
Stuart Phillips, lead scientist, professor in the Department of Kinesiology and member of McMaster's Institute for Research on Aging said that older people who do not take preventive measures towards sarcopenia find it difficult to carry on with their daily activities like rising from a chair or ascending stairs.
There are a number of isolated nutritional ingredients available that help fight sarcopenia. However, this is the first time that along with these nutritional ingredients, whey protein, creatine, vitamin D, calcium and fish oil have been combined and tested to see if they help fight sarcopenia.
Two groups of men aged 70 and older have been recruited by the research team, of which one group was given a protein-based, multi-ingredient nutritional supplement for six weeks without an exercise regimen, and the other group was given a placebo. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE,
Effects of Exercise Training in the Elderly
The aim of this study is to evaluate whether daily consumption of these ingredients increases physical strength and lean body mass.
Following those six weeks, subjects who participated in the study continued to take the supplement (and placebo). They were also undertaking a 12-week progressive exercise training program, which consisted of resistance and high-intensity interval training.
Gianni Parise, scientific co-lead on the study said, "We chose that combination of exercises to get a maximal benefit in terms of fitness and muscle strength and I know many think older persons can't do that type of exercise, but that's simply untrue."
Findings of the research
Kirsten Bell, a PhD student who worked on the study said that the results found were more impressive than the researchers have expected, as the findings before and after the exercise regimen showed improvements in the deteriorating muscles and overall strength in the subjects.
In the first six weeks, the use of supplement resulted in 700 grams of gains in lean body mass. This is the same amount of muscle mass that these men would have normally lost in that year. By combining with exercise twice a week, the subjects noticed greater strength gains, especially when compared with their placebo taking counterparts.
Bell said, "Clearly, exercise is a key part of the greatly improved health profile of our subjects, but we are very excited by the enhancements the supplement alone and in combination with exercise was able to give to our participants."
The research comes at a time when demographic trends lean toward older Canadians as the largest percentage of our population was supported by the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative within the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging.
The authors hope that further research needs to include different populations and older women who can benefit from the supplement to improve the muscle health.
- Kirsten E. Bell, et al. A whey protein-based multi-ingredient nutritional supplement stimulates gains in lean body mass and strength in healthy older men: A randomized controlled trial. PLOSONE (2017); 12 (7): e0181387DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181387