Newspaper reports this week highlighted the potential health benefits of a protein powder that is regularly used for muscle building by body builders – claiming that it could increase overall health and longevity.
The powder is available fro health food shops, bodybuilding stores and via bodybuilding websites online. It is sold under a variety of brand names, such as Aminotrofic.
Traditionally, the powder is dissolved in water and consumed to help with muscle building, stamina and co-ordination. But animal experiments carried out in Italy have indicated that if used in the right way, it could increase the human lifespan by up to 12 per cent.
As reported in the journal Cell Metabolism, Professor Nisoli of Brescia University in Italy gave ageing mice water laced with the “branched-chain” amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Those given the supplement lived 80 days longer than average, the journal reported.
The Daily Mail newspaper said on Tuesday that the researchers believe that it could also keep people healthier and longer-lived, provided it was taken every day from about the age of 55.
As a dietary supplement, perhaps sprinkled on a breakfast cereal or drank with milk, it would strengthen weak and aged muscle, reducing the risk of the sort of tumbles and fractures associated with old age.
If taken even later on in life, the supplement could provide extra energy to people suffering from heart and lung problems.
Researcher Enzo Nisoli said: “I think our data warrant a recommendation that middle-aged people start taking these supplements.”