Does supplementation with leucine-enriched protein alone and in combination with fish-oil-derived n-3 PUFA affect muscle mass, strength, physical performance, and muscle protein synthesis in well-nourished older adults? A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
Published on Jun 1, 2021in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition7.047
· DOI :10.1093/AJCN/NQAA449
BACKGROUND Leucine-enriched protein (LEU-PRO) and long-chain (LC) n-3 (ω-3) PUFAs have each been proposed to improve muscle mass and function in older adults, whereas their combination may be more effective than either alone. OBJECTIVE The impact of LEU-PRO supplementation alone and combined with LC n-3 PUFAs on appendicular lean mass, strength, physical performance and myofibrillar protein synthesis (MyoPS) was investigated in older adults at risk of sarcopenia. METHODS This 24-wk, 3-arm parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in 107 men and women aged ≥65 y with low muscle mass and/or strength. Twice daily, participants consumed a supplement containing either LEU-PRO (3 g leucine, 10 g protein; n = 38), LEU-PRO plus LC n-3 PUFAs (0.8 g EPA, 1.1 g DHA; LEU-PRO+n-3; n = 38), or an isoenergetic control (CON; n = 31). Appendicular lean mass, handgrip strength, leg strength, physical performance, and circulating metabolic and renal function markers were measured pre-, mid-, and postintervention. Integrated rates of MyoPS were assessed in a subcohort (n = 28). RESULTS Neither LEU-PRO nor LEU-PRO+n-3 supplementation affected appendicular lean mass, handgrip strength, knee extension strength, physical performance or MyoPS. However, isometric knee flexion peak torque (treatment effect: -7.1 Nm; 95% CI: -12.5, -1.8 Nm; P < 0.01) was lower postsupplementation in LEU-PRO+n-3 compared with CON. Serum triacylglycerol and total adiponectin concentrations were lower, and HOMA-IR was higher, in LEU-PRO+n-3 compared with CON postsupplementation (all P < 0.05). Estimated glomerular filtration rate was higher and cystatin c was lower in LEU-PRO and LEU-PRO+n-3 postsupplementation compared with CON (all P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS Contrary to our hypothesis, we did not observe a beneficial effect of LEU-PRO supplementation alone or combined with LC n-3 PUFA supplementation on appendicular lean mass, strength, physical performance or MyoPS in older adults at risk of sarcopenia. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT03429491.