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Over the counter supplement may help seniors boost muscle

Posted Jul 29 2010 12:00am
As we age, we lose muscle mass and muscle function, losing both quantity and quality of muscle. Barbara Gower, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at UAB is looking at how a supplement drink may help seniors avoid age related muscle loss.

The drink supplement is called Juven, manufactured by Abbott Laboratories. It's a blend of two amino acids - arginine and glutamine - along with a metabolite of the amino acid leucine. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. The three in Juven are particularly associated with rebuilding tissue following surgery or treatment of wounds or pressure ulcers.

Participants will drink the fruit-flavored supplement, or a placebo beverage, twice a day for six months. MRI imaging will be used to see if there is a change in muscle mass. Tests of physical strength and function will help determine if the drink helped improve the overall ability of muscles to function.

Age-related muscle loss is a significant issue in an aging population, particularly in Western societies in which reduced physical activity and increased life spans are common. Gower says age-related muscle loss is a leading factor in an older person's ability to live independently, and is linked to an increased risk of falls and fractures.

By Bob Shepard
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