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Effects of Exercise and Amino Acid Supplementation on Physical Function in the Elderly

In a randomized controlled trial involving 155 community-dwelling elderly sarcopenic women aged 75 years and older living in Japan, exercise and amino acid supplementation together were found to be associated with improved muscle mass, muscle strength, and walking speed. Subjects were randomized to one of four groups: exercise plus amino acids; exercise alone; amino acids alone; or health education. Exercise consisted of twice weekly attending a 60 minute training program, and the amino acid supplementation consisted of 3 g of a leucine-rich essential amino acid mixture, twice/daily, for 3 months. Results found that the exercise plus amino acid supplementation group experienced the greatest benefits, particularly in leg muscle mass and knee extension strength. The authors conclude, "The data suggest that exercise and AAS together may be effective in enhancing not only muscle strength, but also combined variables of muscle mass and walking speed and of muscle mass and strength in sarcopenic women."


"Effects of Exercise and Amino Acid Supplementation on Body Composition and Physical Function in Community-Dwelling Elderly Japanese Sarcopenic Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial," Kim HK, Suzuki T, et al, J Am Geriatr Soc, 2011 Dec 5; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Research Team for Promoting Independence of the Elderly, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Tokyo, Japan).

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