Abstract Background Essential amino acids (EAA) and aerobic exercise (AE) acutely and independently stimulate skeletal muscle protein anabolism in older adults. Objective In this Phase 1, double blind, placebo controlled, randomized clinical trial, we determined if chronic EAA supplementation, AE training, or a combination of the two interventions could improve muscle mass and function by stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Methods We phone screened 971, enrolled 109, and randomized 50 independent, low-active, non-frail, non-diabetic older adults (age 72±1 yrs). We used a 2x2 factorial design. The interventions were: daily nutritional supplementation (15 g EAA or placebo) and physical activity (supervised AE training three days/week or monitored habitual activity) for 24 weeks. Muscle strength, physical function, body composition, and muscle protein synthesis were measured before and after the 24-week intervention. Results 45 subjects completed the 24-week intervention. VO2peak and walking speed increased (p<0.05) in both AE groups, irrespective of supplementation type, but muscle strength increased only in the EAA+AE group (p<0.05). EAA supplementation acutely increased (p<0.05) muscle protein synthesis from basal both before and after the intervention, with a larger increase in the EAA+AE group after the intervention. Total and regional lean body mass did not change significantly with any intervention. Conclusions In non-frail, independent, healthy older adults AE training increased walking speed and aerobic fitness, and, when combined with EAA supplementation, it also increased muscle strength and EAA-stimulated muscle protein synthesis. These increases occurred without improvements in muscle mass. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT00872911 Body composition, exercise, nutrition, physical performance © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biomedical Sciences and Medical Sciences – Oxford University Press
Published: May 10, 2018
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