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Leucine May Help With Muscle Strength Later in Life

As people age, their muscle strength naturally declines, which can lead to mobility and health problems. A recent study suggests that leucine-enriched amino acids may help increase muscle mass, strength, and physical function in mature adults.


Participants in the study included 44 Japanese people over the age of 65 who had suffered from a stroke and had sarcopenia (age-related muscles tissue loss). Over the course of eight weeks, half of the participants consumed a jelly containing leucine-enriched amino acids while they took part in a rehabilitation program. The other half of the participants acted as a control group. Both groups performed low-intensity resistance training in addition to a post-stroke rehabilitation program.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the leucine-enriched jelly group had significantly higher handgrip strength, when compared with the control. The researchers also found that the jelly group had significantly greater skeletal muscle mass increase, when compared with the control.


Researchers from Kumamoto Rehabilitation Hospital in Japan conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 11, 2018, in Nutrition.


Leucine is an essential amino acid that stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis, which begins the muscle building process. Foods rich in leucine include soybeans, lentils, beef, peanuts, salmon, eggs and milk.

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