Bed rest studies revealing a “horrifying” loss of muscle mass in older people after just a few days of inactivity should serve as a wake-up call for industry to put tackling sarcopenia higher up the priority list, scientists have argued.
Speaking at the IFT show earlier this month, Dr Douglas Paddon Jones at the University of Texas medical branch, said: “If you put healthy people in their 70s* in bed for 10 days, they can lose 10 percent of their total lean leg mass. That’s a tremendous muscle loss.”
And younger people also lost surprising amounts of muscle after even short periods of enforced activity, said Paddon Jones, who has conducted several National Institutes of Health and NASA/National Space Biomedical Research Institute-supported bed-rest studies.
Sarcopenia – the loss of muscle mass associated with aging – did not happen smoothly and progressively, but could be represented by a downward curve punctuated by a series of sharp dips, he said.
Essential amino acid and carbohydrate supplementation ameliorates muscle protein loss in humans during 28 days bedrest. Paddon-Jones D, Sheffield-Moore M, Urban RJ et al. (2004) J Clin Endocrinol Metab 89:4351-58