Muscle health and function

Project leader: Prof Lisette de Groot
Time frame: 2012 – 2015
Project code: MH001
Project login (project members only)



Muscle mass, strength, and physical performance are not only critical for athletic performance, but also for healthy ageing and survival. Strategies which are considered effective in improving muscle growth and physical performance in athletes might be equally effective in countering loss of muscle mass and function in diseased and/or elderly people. Nutrition and exercise are considered the most effective measures to stimulate muscle growth and improve physical performance.

In this project, several acute and long-term human intervention trials were initiated to study 1) the impact of protein intake prior to sleep on subsequent overnight muscle-protein accretion, 2) the impact of vitamin D supplementation on physical performance in frail elderly people, and 3) the anabolic properties of creatin to attenuate loss of muscle mass and strength during a period of muscle disuse. Gene-expression profiles and metabolic profiles in skeletal muscle tissue were studied to reveal the mechanistic processes behind the (presumed) effects of novel nutritional strategies.

The project defined dietary strategies and novel nutritional concepts to enhance muscle mass, and to improve strength and physical performance. Populations likely to benefit most from these strategies include those aiming to improve sports performance, and those most prone to loss of muscle mass and function due to immobilisation, disease and/or malnutrition.