As people get older or during times of chronic illness, people can experience a decline in muscle mass as the amount our body loses starts to outweigh the amount of muscle built (via ‘muscle protein synthesis’). When the decline becomes substantial, it is considered a serious medical condition that increases morbidity and mortality. For the elderly, serious muscle loss has a direct effect on their mobility and therefore their independence. For chronically ill patients, it can have a negative effect on their health outcomes and quality of life.
The key to defining a nutritional approach for muscle loss are knowledge of the target populations as well as scientific insights into the underlying mechanisms. The approach should target muscle preservation by increasing the muscle mass and improving the performance, both of which benefit the clinical outcome. In our own facilities and in collaboration with partners, Danone Nutricia Research conducts in-depth research in the field of muscle and protein metabolism.
A variety of investigative methods
We regard muscle as a life science and our work varies widely: from hypothesis generation and explorative studies, to understanding the underlying mechanisms of muscle loss and the impact of nutrients, to research that investigates the mode of action and efficacy of our concepts and products.
We make use of preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies, as well as clinical studies in healthy individuals and specific patient populations. Depending on the stage of the project and the specific research question, appropriate techniques and facilities are selected.