Thursday, April 23, 2015

Nutrition & Age-Related Muscle Loss - Overview of Some Recent Studies: It Does not Take More Than Well-Timed ~20g of Milk Protein to Turn Muscle Loss into Gain + More

Ladies and gents, if you want to keep up with the youngsters and be able to play with your grand and grand-grand children you better put an emphasis on more than adequate protein intakes.
Initially I wanted to talk about only one of the studies that were presented at the latest meeting of the Nutrition Society, but in view of the facts that (1) we are all going to be old one day, (2) we all have parents and grand parents at risk of muscle loss and sarcopenia and (3) we all are interested in some good research, I thought it may be a good idea to summarize the most important findings of three additional relevant presentations.

Ah, before I get started: I would like to emphasize that the corresponding full papers have not been published, yet. I do thus apologize in advance that I won't be able to answer detail questions about the methods, side findings and allegedly interested, but hitherto unknown stuff like that.
Read more short news on various topics here at the SuppVersity

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  • It does not take more than ~20g of milk protein to turn muscle loss into gains (!) - It does sound almost too easy to believe, but researches from the University of Limerick were able to show that adding 0.33g/kg body weight milk protein may be all it takes not just to conserve, but actually to build lean muscle mass in people aged 50-70 year old.

    In their study, Norton et al. (2015) observed a highly significant increase in lean tissue mass of 1% in 24 weeks when the subjects who consumed a protein sufficient diet with 1.2g protein/kg body weight (that's 50% higher than the FDA minimum of 0.8g/kg) added only 0.3g/kg milk protein to their diets. The protein came from two shakes that were - and this may be important - consumed with the lowest protein meals of the day.
    Figure 2: Change sin lean tissue mass (relative and absolute) in response to 24-weeks of supplementation with two servings of 0.15g/kg body weight milk protein (total 0.3g/kg) or placebo in 50-70 year olds (Norton. 2015).
    So, assuming your grandma eats a high protein breakfast, has no appetite at lunch and consumes only a few slices of bread at dinner, she'd take the protein shakes with lunch and dinner. Depending on cultural and personal habits, the distribution is yet probably rather breakfast + launch (US) or dinner (Europe).
Don't be a fool! Nutrition is an important factor that will help you keep your muscle functional, but without proper "exercise" in the form of adequate physical activity and some form of "strength training" (body weight squats and push ups if you have no equipment) you will not be able maintain optimal muscle function, no matter how much protein you consume.
  • Which reminds me: It would have been very interesting if the scientists had had one group of subjects consume all the milk protein with their larges meal of the day. If we believe in the "protein timind does not matter" mantra that has recently become popular (cf. Schoenfeld. 2013), it should not matter. Somehow I do believe, however that it would.
  • DHA as performance booster for your grandma - In another recent study Dyall et al. observed that short-term supplementation with an enriched DHA supplement was associated with significant increases in blood DHA content and there were significant positive relationships between increased DHA status and improved fast walking speed and vertical jump height.

    Meta-Analysis Says: Fish Oil Does Not Help You Lean Out! Plus: Why you Should Still Eat Fish | more
    What is particularly interesting is that only potentially relevant inter-group difference the scientists testes was the DHA level which was significantly increase in response to the ingestion of the supplement that contained 1 g DHA, 160 mg EPA, 240 mg gingko biloba, 60 mg phosphatidylserirte, 20 mg d-alpha tocopherol, 1 mg folic acid and 20 pg vitamin B12 per day for 6 months. No other significant differences were found. A fact that suggests that "the effects were mediated via changes in DHA, rather than the other components in the treatment" (Dyall. 2015).
Can drinking protein shakes outperform dietary protein when it comes to protecting aged muscle from diet induced catabolism? Find out in this previous SuppVersity article @ March 2015 | read more
On short notice: Next to these findings, scientists also found that the majority of Britons still gets the lion's share of their dietary protein from animal products, with the average contribution of animal protein to the diets of men and women being 10.1% and 10.8% of the total energy intake (vs. 4.7% from plant protein | Bain. 2015). Since bone loss usually goes hand in hand with muscle loss, it may also be worth mentioning that one's susceptibility to seasonal changes in 25OHD levels are associated with increased bone resorption, i.e. the "deconstruction" of bone material (). That's an interesting observation researchers from the University of Sheffield have made - one that provides another good argument to (a) test your 25OHD levels regularly and to supplement if necessary (specifically during fall and winter) | Comment on Facebook!
  • Bain, LKM., et al. "Contributions to dietary protein intake in a British adult population". Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 74, E179 (2015): doi:10.1017/S0029665115001974. 
  • Darling, AL. "Increased bone resorption is associated with greater seasonal fluctuation or ‘cycling’ of 25-hydroxyvitamin D". Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 74, E177 (2015): doi:10.1017/S0029665115001950. 
  • Dyall,SC. et a. "Blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid are associated with gait and lower limb power in older females". Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 74, E168 (2015): doi:10.1017/S002966511500186X. 
  • Norton, C,  et al. "Effect of 6 month supplemental milk protein intake on lean tissue mass in healthy adults aged 50 to 70 years". Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 74, E181 (2015): doi:10.1017/S0029665115001998. 
  • Schoenfeld, Brad Jon, Alan Albert Aragon, and James W. Krieger. "The effect of protein timing on muscle strength and hypertrophy: a meta-analysis." J Int Soc Sports Nutr 10.1 (2013): 53.