Four-month course of soluble milk proteins interacts with exercise to improve muscle strength and delay fatigue in elderly participants

Céline Gryson, Sébastien Ratel, Mélanie Rance, Stéphane Penando, Cécile Bonhomme, Pascale Le Ruyet, Martine Duclos, Yves Boirie, Stéphane Walrand
Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 2014, 15 (12): 958.e1-9

BACKGROUND: The benefit of protein supplementation on the adaptive response of muscle to exercise training in older people is controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the independent and combined effects of a multicomponent exercise program with and without a milk-based nutritional supplement on muscle strength and mass, lower-extremity fatigue, and metabolic markers.

DESIGN: A sample of 48 healthy sedentary men aged 60.8 ± 0.4 years were randomly assigned to a 16-week multicomponent exercise training program with a milk-based supplement containing, besides proteins [total milk proteins 4 or 10 g/day or soluble milk proteins rich in leucine (PRO) 10 g/day], carbohydrates and fat. Body composition, muscle mass and strength, and time to task failure, an index of muscle fatigue, were measured. Blood lipid, fibrinogen, creatine phosphokinase, glucose, insulin, C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α soluble receptors, and endothelial markers were assessed.

RESULTS: Body fat mass was reduced after the 4-month training program in groups receiving 10 g/day of protein supplementation (P < .01). The training program sustained with the daily 10 g/day PRO was associated with a significant increase in dominant fat free mass (+5.4%, P < .01) and in appendicular muscle mass (+4.5%, P < .01). Blood cholesterol was decreased in the trained group receiving 10 g/day PRO. The index of insulin resistance (homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance) and blood creatine phosphokinase were reduced in the groups receiving 10 g/day PRO, irrespective of exercise. The inflammatory and endothelial markers were not different between the groups. Training caused a significant improvement (+10.6% to 19.4%, P < .01) in the maximal oxygen uptake. Increased maximum voluntary contraction force was seen in the trained groups receiving 10 g/day of proteins (about 3%, P < .05). Time to task failure was improved in the trained participants receiving a 10 g/day supplementation with PRO (P < .01).

CONCLUSIONS: Soluble milk proteins rich in leucine improved time to muscle failure and increase in skeletal muscle mass and strength after prolonged multicomponent exercise training in healthy older men.

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