Current Nutritional and Pharmacological Approaches for Attenuating Sarcopenia

Cells. 2023 Oct 9;12(19):2422. doi: 10.3390/cells12192422.


Sarcopenia is characterized by a gradual slowing of movement due to loss of muscle mass and quality, decreased power and strength, increased risk of injury from falls, and often weakness. This review will focus on recent research trends in nutritional and pharmacological approaches to controlling sarcopenia. Because nutritional studies in humans are fairly limited, this paper includes many results from nutritional studies in mammals. The combination of resistance training with supplements containing amino acids is the gold standard for preventing sarcopenia. Amino acid (HMB) supplementation alone has no significant effect on muscle strength or muscle mass in sarcopenia, but the combination of HMB and exercise (whole body vibration stimulation) is likely to be effective. Tea catechins, soy isoflavones, and ursolic acid are interesting candidates for reducing sarcopenia, but both more detailed basic research on this treatment and clinical studies in humans are needed. Vitamin D supplementation has been shown not to improve sarcopenia in elderly individuals who are not vitamin D-deficient. Myostatin inhibitory drugs have been tried in many neuromuscular diseases, but increases in muscle mass and strength are less likely to be expected. Validation of myostatin inhibitory antibodies in patients with sarcopenia has been positive, but excessive expectations are not warranted.

Keywords: HMB; catechin; muscle atrophy; myostatin; sarcopenia; ursolic acid; vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Myostatin / metabolism
  • Sarcopenia* / drug therapy
  • Sarcopenia* / prevention & control


  • Myostatin
  • Amino Acids

Grants and funding

This work was supported by a research Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research C (No. 23K10659) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.