UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Insulinotropic and Muscle Protein Synthetic Effects of Branched-Chain Amino Acids: Potential Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes and Sarcopenia Manders, Ralph J.; Little, Jonathan P.; Forbes, Scott C.; Candow, Darren G.

Abstract

The loss of muscle mass and strength with aging (i.e., sarcopenia) has a negative effect on functional independence and overall quality of life. One main contributing factor to sarcopenia is the reduced ability to increase skeletal muscle protein synthesis in response to habitual feeding, possibly due to a reduction in postprandial insulin release and an increase in insulin resistance. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), primarily leucine, increases the activation of pathways involved in muscle protein synthesis through insulin-dependent and independent mechanisms, which may help counteract the “anabolic resistance” to feeding in older adults. Leucine exhibits strong insulinotropic characteristics, which may increase amino acid availability for muscle protein synthesis, reduce muscle protein breakdown, and enhance glucose disposal to help maintain blood glucose homeostasis.

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CC BY 3.0