Whey protein supplementation with physical activity - Impact on muscle composition in mobility-limited older adults |
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Whey protein supplementation with physical activity - Impact on muscle composition in mobility-limited older adults
eMediNexus,  14 February 2020
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Nutritional supplementation and physical activity have beneficial effects on muscle mass and strength in older adults.

Englund et al conducted a study with 149 mobility-limited (short physical performance battery ≤9) and vitamin D insufficient (serum 25(OH) D 9–24 ng/mL) older adults. All participants were given a daily nutritional supplement containing whey protein, vitamin D and other vitamins and minerals, or placebo. Total-body composition, thigh composition, and muscle strength, power, and quality were measured before and after the 6-month intervention.

Following the intervention, both the groups exhibited improvements in muscle strength, body composition, and thigh composition. The group with whey protein supplementation had further decreases in intermuscular fat and increased normal muscle density. The supplement group had a greater increase in normal-density muscle than control group (Fig. 1) and within the supplement group, a significant reduction in low-density muscle was evident.

The findings clearly revealed that a 6 month intervention of physical activity improved body composition, subcutaneous fat, intermuscular fat, and strength measures; however, the addition of nutritional supplementation containing whey protein led to further decline in intermuscular fat and improvement in muscle density in comparison with placebo. Whey protein supplementation thus leads to added benefits for mobility-limited older adults subjected to exercise training.

Fig. 1. Change in low-density muscle (LDM) and normal-density muscle (NDM) in supplement and control groups


  1. Englund DA, Kirn DR, Koochek A, et al.Nutritional Supplementation With Physical Activity Improves Muscle Composition in Mobility-Limited Older Adults, The VIVE2 Study: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2017 Dec 12;73(1):95-101.
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