Strength and muscle mass can dwindle as we age, but research has found that a whey protein-based, multi-ingredient supplement could help boost them. The study was published in PLoS One and included 49 healthy men, ages 72 to 74. For the first six weeks of the study, the men were randomly selected to receive a supplement drink or a placebo drink twice daily. The supplement drink contained a combination of ingredients found to affect age-related muscle mass and function; specifically, each supplement drink provided 30 g of whey protein, 2.5 g of creatine, 500 IU of vitamin D, 400 mg of calcium, and 1,500 mg of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, with 700 mg as EPA and 445 mg as DHA. The placebo drink contained 22 g of maltodextrin, a starch derivative.
For the next twelve weeks of the study, the men continued drinking their respective beverages while engaging in an exercise program. The exercise program included resistance exercise sessions twice weekly and a high-intensity interval training session once weekly. After assessing the men’s strength and body composition, researchers found that:
During the initial six-week phase, men taking the multi-ingredient supplement gained strength and lean body mass; men taking the placebo did not.
During the twelve-week exercise phase, all the men gained strength, but the men taking the multi-ingredient supplement gained more upper body strength than the men taking the placebo.
While exercise alone is an effective way to build strength and muscle, this study showed that adding a multi-ingredient, whey-based supplement may bolster gains in strength. Most importantly, the study showed that a supplement with ingredients that have been previously associated with muscular health may increase strength and muscle mass without exercise. If further research confirms these findings, it could mean that supplementation alone may help people with limited mobility or others who are unable to exercise to build or maintain muscle mass and strength.
Source: PLoS One