Is Calorie Restriction Useful to Muscles?

Is Calorie Restriction Useful to Muscles

Calorie restriction has the most benefit for aging muscles and may have a protective effects on muscle cells and may also help cells better use antioxidants, avoid damage caused by free radicals and  function better, according to a new study published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.

In their study researchers focused on two pathways that produce energy in muscles, glycolysis (sugar metabolism) and mitrochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in young and middle age rats that were fed either calorie restriction or a normal diet. In the 14 week study, rats on the calorie-restricted diet received 10 percent restriction in the first week, 25 percent restriction in the second and 40 percent restriction in the last 12 weeks. Control rats received no calorie restriction.  At the end of the 14 weeks changes in the rats muscles were studied.  “We investigates whether  CR (calorie restriction) reprogrammed muscle metabolism and whether this improvement was associated with the observed increase in muscle mass. In addition, we examined whether the CR-induced changes were age-dependent.”

The middle-aged rats had less muscle mass than the young rats. While 14 weeks of calorie restrictioin did not significantly affect the muscle mass of middle-aged rats, it reduced muscle mass in the young rats. It also slowed the glycolytic rate in the muscles and increased the cells’ dependency for OXPHOS versus glycolysis in older rats, which were linked to improvement of normalized muscle mass. Researchers also found that after 14 weeks of calorie restriction there was reprogrammed cellular metabolism, where the relative contribution of OXPHOS and glycolysis in muscles of middle aged rats with calorie restriction was similar to that in muscles of young rats.

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