Dietary supplement 'could help elderly avoid broken bones'

Half of all elderly women will suffer some form of fracture, studies show, in part because of the effects of osteoporosis, or brittle bone disease.

But scientists have found that Beta-alanine, an amino acid found in the body, can help to build muscle in older people, improving function by up to almost one third. The researchers believe that using the supplement regularly could allow elderly people to perform everyday tasks more easily and avoid falls, which can often lead them to need hospital care.

The study tested the supplement on 26 elderly men and women, the oldest of whom was 92 years of age, who were given daily dose of the acid for three months, and recorded their fitness levels at the start and end of the experiment. Those on the supplement saw their muscle performance improve by up to 29 per cent.

The findings, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, suggests that regular supplements could improve muscle endurance in the elderly.

Dr Jeffrey Stout, PhD from the University of Oklahoma, who led the study, said: "This could have importance in the prevention of falls, and the maintenance of health and independent living in elderly men and women."

Source - Telegraph

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