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Supplement for Muscle Wasting

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Here's some interesting research about saving muscle mass while bed ridden and unable to exercise. The research was funded by NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. It looks as though most muscle mass is maintained but about 50% of muscle strength is still lost (better than all). I have not been able to find an exact description of the drinks other than "essential amino acids and carbohydrates".

Supplements save muscles during bed rest

By Jim Kelly

SEPT. 22, 2004--The loss of muscle strength is a problem faced by anyone placed in an environment that makes the exercise and physical activity involved in normal day-to-day life impossible--a patient confined to a hospital bed, for example, or an astronaut experiencing weightlessness for weeks at a time. Now, UTMB scientists have found a way to fight this muscle-wasting process with nutritional supplements, producing dramatic results in subjects participating in a 28-day bed-rest study.

A paper published in the September issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism details the experiment, in which 13 healthy male volunteers were confined to beds in UTMB's General Clinical Research Center. Seven volunteers received drinks containing essential amino acids and carbohydrates three times each day, while six others were given a placebo with no nutritional value. Using data produced by state-of-the-art real-time muscle-protein synthesis measurements, biopsies, magnetic resonance and X-ray imaging, and strength tests, the researchers determined that the subjects given supplements retained all of their original leg muscle mass while the members of the placebo group lost about a pound of leg muscle on average. Those given the supplements also lost only about half as much leg strength as those given the placebo.

"We thought it was the most astounding thing that even though our subjects did no exercise, they were able to maintain muscle mass," said UTMB assistant professor Douglas Paddon-Jones, lead author on the paper.

Paddon-Jones and his co-authors, Drs. Melinda Sheffield-Moore, Randall J. Urban, Arthur P. Sanford, Asle Aarland, Robert R. Wolfe and Arny A. Ferrando, represent UTMB's departments of surgery, anesthesiology, and internal medicine and the Shriners Burns Hospital.

A similar supplement regime could reduce muscle loss in astronauts on long-duration space flights (the study was partially funded by NASA), trauma victims (severe trauma diminishes the body's ability to make new muscle) and-in particular-hospitalized elderly people. "The elderly have less muscle to spare than the rest of us," Paddon-Jones said. "When they get sick or injured and wind up in a hospital bed for a prolonged period, many of them lose so much muscle mass and strength that they don't get back up. For a lot of people, this supplement could make a real difference."

While the subjects in this study were healthy men between the ages of 26 and 46, the UTMB researchers plan further investigations to determine whether nutritional supplements--taken alone and in combination with resistance or walking exercise--can indeed significantly reduce muscle loss in elderly men and women during prolonged bed rest.

For the full article:

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol. 89, No. 9 4351-4358

Copyright ? 2004 by The Endocrine Society

Essential Amino Acid and Carbohydrate Supplementation Ameliorates Muscle Protein Loss in Humans during 28 Days Bedrest


For the research: http://www.nsbri.org/index.html and do a search on Wolfe bed rest study

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More detail on the supplement from the study but I still need something simpler.

During each stable isotope study and throughout bedrest, subjects in the EXP group received three daily supplements (1100, 1600, and 2100 h), each containing 16.5 g essential amino acids (EAA) and 30 g sucrose (49.5 g EAA and 90 g sucrose/d). The proportion of EAA in the supplement was based on the distribution required to increase the intracellular concentration of EAA in proportion to their respective contribution to the synthesis of skeletal muscle protein (Table 1). Sucrose was added to the EAA blend primarily to improve palatability. However, changes in plasma insulin concentrations after ingestion of the supplement were also measured. The amino acids and sucrose were dissolved in 250 ml of a noncaloric, noncaffeinated soft drink. The additional daily caloric/nutrient intake (558 kcal) provided by the EAAC drinks represented a true dietary supplement and not a caloric replacement or substitution. Subjects in the CON group received only the diet soft drink.

TABLE 1. Proportion of EAA in the supplement

Supplement Grams


Histidine 1.7

Isoleucine 1.0

Leucine 3.1

Lysine 2.6

Methionine 0.5

Phenylalanine 2.0

Threonine 2.2

Valine 2.1

[Ring-2H5]phenylalanine 0.19

Glycine 0.7

Tryptophan 0.6

Sucrose 30

Total 46.5

The EXP group received three supplements per day during bedrest. Each contained 15 g EAA and 30 g sucrose. To maintain an isotopic steady state, an additional 0.186 g [ring-2H5]phenylalanine was added to each supplement.

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Endocrinology Endocrine Reviews J. Clin. End. & Metab.

Molecular Endocrinology Recent Prog. Horm. Res. All Endocrine Journals

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Thanks for sharing this. I appreciate it because I have extensive muscle wasting with no identifiable cause (aside from rapid weight loss). I will bring this article to my doctor.


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