Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Physical & Cognitive Exercise Are Similarly Effective DNA Protectors & Antioxidant Boosters in Elderly Men & Women

Brain builders and muscle builders are similarly effective DNA protectors in the elderly.
As a SuppVersity reader you won't be surprised to hear that Bernhard Franzke and his colleagues from the University of Vienna were able to confirm that resistance training can improve the resistance of human DNA to H2O2 damage in institutionalised elderly. What may be news to you, though, is that very similar effects can be achieved by cognitive training in form of coordinative or cognitive tasks that were performed only two times per week by the 105 institutionalised elderly women and men (aged 65–98 years) the scientists recruited from five different senior residences in the area of Vienna (Franzke. 2014).
DNA damage is obviously important, maintaining optimal lean mass levels is important, too

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In the recent Austrian study, the subjects had been randomized to three groups. The previously described cognitive training group, which also served as a "control", as well as two resistance training groups.
"The RT groups (RT and RTS) performed two sessions of RT per week, supervised by a sport scientist, conducted on two non-consecutive days. Training attendance was recorded every session. The only equipment used was exercise bands and a chair. [...] The main part consisted of 10 exercises for the main muscle groups (legs, back, abdomen, chest, shoulder and arms). One training session started with 10 min of warm-up, continued with 30–40 min of strength training and ended with a 10-min cool-down. To keep the training stimulus high enough, the exercise program was adjusted to the participants’ individual needs, by either adapting the resistance of the elastic band (shorter or stronger band) or by modifying the exercise, by means of performing a more diffiult version. In the initial phase (4 weeks) one set of 15 repetitions was performed in order to learn the correct form of each exercise. From the fifth week on, the intensity and volume were progressively increased from two sets of light exercises to two sets of heavy resistance. If the participants could easily perform two sets of 15 repetitions they were told either to take more resistance or to perform a more difficult version of the exercise" (Franzke. 2014).
In contrast to the RT group, which did "nothing", but the previously described resistance training regimen, the subjects in the RTS group consumed a multi-ingredient supplement every morning, as well as directly after each training session. Said supplement consisted of 20.7g protein [56 energy (En) %, 19.7g whey protein, 3 g leucine, >10 g essential amino acids], 9.3 g carbohydrates (25 En%, 0.8 BE); 3.0 g fat (18 En%), 1.2 g roughage (2 En%), 800 IU (20 μg) of vitamin D, 250 mg calcium, vitamins C, E, B6 and B12, folic acid and magnesium (one portion FortiFit, Nutricia with a total energy content per drink of only 150 kcal).
Figure 1: Changes in parameters of DNA damage and antioxidant enzyme expression (Franzke. 2014).
In spite of the fact that the intake of the nutritional supplement was controlled at breakfast as well as after the training sessions, it did not provide significant additional benefits on top of the regular resistance training protocol.

We should keep in mind, though, that (a) non-significant benefits were visible for the formamidopyrimidine DNA glycosylase (FPG) and the expression of superoxide dismutase and that (b) the actual benefits of protein supplements would have become visible only if the scientists had accessed the changes in body composition, as well.
Maximal protein synthesis - How much protein do the elderly need? Find out in a previous SV article.
Bottom line: If you don't have a present for your grandpa or grandma, yet, I suggest you craft a voucher for 2 weekly resistance training and cognitive training sessions with yourself as a trainer and buy a tub of protein to round your present off...

All Christmas jokes aside, the study at hand simply confirms what the proverb "a rolling stone gathers no moss" implies. Exercise, no matter whether it's cognitive or physical exercise, protects aging men and women from pro-cancerous DNA damage and ensures that can maintain "a sound mind in a sane body" | Comment on Facebook!
  • Franzke, B. et al. "The impact of six months strength training, nutritional supplementation or cognitive training on DNA damage in institutionalised elderly." Mutagenesis (2015):147–153.