Life Science Hour Seminar Series

Name:Robert "Trey" Coker
 Associate Professor. Institute of Arctic Biology, Center for Alaska Native Health Research, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Title:Anabolic Efficiency: Why does it matter?
Date:Friday, 7 March 2014
Location:Murie Life Science Bldg, Murie Auditorium.
Host:Robert "Trey" Coker


Older adults will represent ~20% of the population by 2030. In the subarctic region, these individuals have minimal access to health care, poor economic structure, and reduced public support. The adverse consequences of climate change have also contributed to the migration of younger adults to urban areas, leaving the older generation behind to fend for themselves.

Older adults are uniquely susceptible to adipose tissue accumulation and muscle atrophy, referred to as sarcopenic obesity (SAO). Unfortunately, SAO represents a unique clinical conundrum since caloric restriction-induced weight loss may be controversial when measured against the increased risk of frailty and mortality.

We have recently determined that a nutritional formulation rich in essential amino acids promoted positive changes in muscle protein synthesis and functional status, even during conditions of short-term weight loss, advanced cancer and strict bedrest. In fact, it has been demonstrated that this formulation is almost three times as effective as whey protein in stimulating muscle protein synthesis.

Therefore, we are now conducting studies designed to evaluate the efficacy of a meal replacement rich in essential amino acids (EAAMR) on the preservation of skeletal muscle in the context of caloric restriction-induced weight loss (CRWL). To meet this aim, we are using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans to determine changes in lean tissue 6, 24 and d3-creatine dilution to directly measure the preservation of skeletal muscle. We also anticipate that EAAMR will promote improvements in insulin sensitivity and functional status in older, overweight individuals. In this way, EAAMR will provide the optimal anabolic efficiency necessary to improve the relationship between skeletal muscle and adipose that is necessary for optimal health and longevity.

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