This recent research has brought about a big breakthrough in preventing muscle loss. It states that a diet rich in the amino acid, leucine, might help prevent the muscle loss that typically comes with aging.
The study was conducted on rats and it was found that a leucine supplemented diet reestablished a more young pattern of muscle protein breakdown and synthesis. The researchers also added that the rats had shown a propensity toward increased protein breakdown before going on the leucine rich diet, but they were amazed to see that the amino acid appeared to remove that imbalance.
Just to discuss a few basic facts about leucine; it is an essential amino acid and this cannot be manufactured by the body and must be ingested through dietary protein. Along with other essential amino acids, leucine helps maintain muscle mass and that has made leucine containing supplements a favorite food for bodybuilders and athletes.
This is a well known fact that after the age of 40 or so, people gradually lose muscle mass, and it is thought that this is caused by the imbalance in muscle-protein synthesis and breakdown.
On the other hand, in younger people, this process is typically in balance. The research shows that after a meal, muscle protein breakdown slows, whereas synthesis rises up in response to the influx of amino acids from food.
According to this new research, the older rats did not show any evidence of the decrease in the protein breakdown after a meal, but when they got a diet supplemented with leucine, it restored the pattern of protein breakdown in the elder rats, which was the same as in the younger ones.
The question is whether this will go the same for older adults. If this works the same in the older adults then there is a great chance that their quality of life will be greatly improved, as preventing muscle wasting is of great importance because it leads to physical disability.
The sources from where we can get leucine is particularly from animal foods, it can also be consumed through meat, dairy, soy, beans and other protein-rich sources. One can get leucine from dietary supplements as well.
The researchers are speculating that the use of leucine in the adults would bring pretty good results and if such happens then this will be a great breakthrough to help the older adults to live a better and healthy life.