Background: Whey protein supplementation may augment resistance exercise-induced increases in muscle strength and mass. Further studies are required to determine whether this effect extends to mobility-limited older adults. The objectives of the study were to compare the effects of whey protein concentrate (WPC) supplementation to an isocaloric control on changes in whole-body lean mass, mid-thigh muscle cross-sectional area, muscle strength, and stair-climbing performance in older mobility-limited adults in response to 6 months of resistance training (RT).
Methods: Eighty mobility-limited adults aged 70-85 years were randomized to receive WPC (40g/day) or an isocaloric control for 6 months. All participants also completed a progressive high-intensity RT intervention. Sample sizes were calculated based on the primary outcome of change in whole-body lean mass to give 80% power for a 0.05-level, two-sided test.
Results: Lean mass increased 1.3% and 0.6% in the WPC and control groups, respectively. Muscle cross-sectional area was increased 4.6% and 2.9% in the WPC and control groups, respectively, and muscle strength increased 16%-50% in WPC and control groups. Stair-climbing performance also improved in both groups. However, there were no statistically significant differences in the change in any of these variables between groups.
Conclusions: These data suggest that WPC supplementation at this dose does not offer additional benefit to the effects of RT in mobility-limited older adults.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00635739.
Keywords: Nutrition; Physical function; Sarcopenia..