Aparna Sarkar, Suman Dahiya, Harshita Sharma and Pratiba Gupta
Background and introduction: Advancing age is associated with reduced muscle protein synthesis, altered expression of and chemical modifications to muscle proteins, reduced muscle strength, and muscle power. These age-related impairments in the quantity and quality of contractile proteins contribute to physical disability and frailty, loss of independent function, the risk of falling and fractures and escalating health care costs. The aim of the study was to find out whether the combined effect of essential amino acid supplementation and resistance training in lower limbs musculoskeletal system of elderly people can strengthen the muscles activity and to improve their quality of lifestyle. Methods: Sixty male elderly subjects at the age between sixty-five to eighty years were screened for the study randomly from Geriatrics clinics. The study design was clinical trial Experimental Research design. Elderly people having no history of recent trauma to lower extremity were selected from the population. Individuals having hypertension, diabetes mellitus, neuromuscular disease, uncooperative and psychologically ill patients were excluded from the study. The subjects were divided into two groups: Group I received essential amino acids in the form of capsules for thirty days twice per day. Group II had the same but they were also trained for lower limb strengthening exercises. These exercises included mainly the strengthening of extensor group of muscles- glutei, quadriceps and planter flexors by bridging, quadriceps isometrics and toe standing respectively. The range of motion of hip, knee and ankle joints and hip extensors, knee extensors and ankle planter flexors muscles strength were measured by manual muscle testing. This measurement was done for dominant lower extremity before and after giving the supplementation to observe its effect on musculoskeletal system of the elderly. Diet and activity were not otherwise modified. Before starting, subjects were counselled to maintain their usual dietary intake and physical activity. Results: No significant increase was observed in range of motion of hip, knee and ankle joints after amino acid supplementation along with resistance exercise (p.0.05). But resistance training raised the muscle power significantly in group II who received amino acid supplementation too. We found that muscle power in Hip extensors, knee extensors and planter flexors were increased significantly at p<0.001, p<0.01 and p<0.05 respectively. Discussion and conclusion: Resistance training raised the muscle power of lower limbs significantly when essential amino acids were administered along with them. Non-exercise group who received only amino acid supplementation did not show significant rise in muscle power. But no significant differences were found in hip, knee and ankle range of motions in both the groups. We concluded that the resistance strengthening exercises for lower extremities should be recommended for weak muscles in elderly population along with essential amino acids supplementation to maintain their active lifestyle by reducing the chances of falls or injuries.