Background: Age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia) is a prevalent condition associated with disability and mortality. Exercise and optimal nutrition are interventions to prevent and treat sarcopenia, yet little is known, outside of protein, of the effect of common nutrition recommendations and medication use on exercise-related muscle gain.
Methods: Forty-nine community-dwelling, 60- to 69-year-old men and women completed 2 weeks of nutrition education (American Dietetic Association recommendations) followed by 12 weeks of high intensity resistance exercise training (RET) with postexercise protein supplementation and 3x/wk dietary logs.
Results: We observed a dose-response relationship between dietary cholesterol (from food logs) and gains in lean mass that was not affected by variability in protein intake. Serum cholesterol and the serum cholesterol lowering agent statin were also independently associated with greater increases in lean mass. Dietary cholesterol was not associated with serum cholesterol or the significant reduction in blood pressure observed, but trends were observed for altered plasma C-reactive protein.
Conclusion: These data suggest that dietary and serum cholesterol contribute to the skeletal muscles' response to RET in this generally healthy older population and that some statins may improve this response.