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Open AccessArticle

Leucine Supplementation Does Not Attenuate Skeletal Muscle Loss during Leg Immobilization in Healthy, Young Men

Department of Human Biology, NUTRIM School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 61 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
Department of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 17 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
Department of Surgery, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, P.O. Box 616 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(5), 635;
Received: 26 April 2018 / Revised: 14 May 2018 / Accepted: 15 May 2018 / Published: 17 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Dietary Supplements)
Background: Short successive periods of physical inactivity occur throughout life and contribute considerably to the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass. The maintenance of muscle mass during brief periods of disuse is required to prevent functional decline and maintain metabolic health. Objective: To assess whether daily leucine supplementation during a short period of disuse can attenuate subsequent muscle loss in vivo in humans. Methods: Thirty healthy (22 ± 1 y) young males were exposed to a 7-day unilateral knee immobilization intervention by means of a full leg cast with (LEU, n = 15) or without (CON, n = 15) daily leucine supplementation (2.5 g leucine, three times daily). Prior to and directly after immobilization, quadriceps muscle cross-sectional area (computed tomography (CT) scan) and leg strength (one-repetition maximum (1-RM)) were assessed. Furthermore, muscle biopsies were taken in both groups before and after immobilization to assess changes in type I and type II muscle fiber CSA. Results: Quadriceps muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) declined in the CON and LEU groups (p < 0.01), with no differences between the two groups (from 7712 ± 324 to 7287 ± 305 mm2 and from 7643 ± 317 to 7164 ± 328 mm2; p = 0.61, respectively). Leg muscle strength decreased from 56 ± 4 to 53 ± 4 kg in the CON group and from 63 ± 3 to 55 ± 2 kg in the LEU group (main effect of time p < 0.01), with no differences between the groups (p = 0.052). Type I and II muscle fiber size did not change significantly over time, in both groups (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Free leucine supplementation with each of the three main meals (7.5 g/d) does not attenuate the decline of muscle mass and strength during a 7-day limb immobilization intervention. View Full-Text
Keywords: limb immobilization; countermeasures; amino acid; strength limb immobilization; countermeasures; amino acid; strength
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Backx, E.M.; Horstman, A.M.; Marzuca-Nassr, G.N.; Van Kranenburg, J.; Smeets, J.S.; Fuchs, C.J.; Janssen, A.A.; De Groot, L.C.; Snijders, T.; Verdijk, L.B.; Van Loon, L.J. Leucine Supplementation Does Not Attenuate Skeletal Muscle Loss during Leg Immobilization in Healthy, Young Men. Nutrients 2018, 10, 635.

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