Bodybuilding is scientifically proven to be a healthy form of exercise, and following a muscle building diet can prolong your life.
According to Professor Nisoli of Brescia University in Italy, a bodybuilding protein / amino-acid supplement provides such essential ingredients for building new muscle tissue that it can help people become stronger and healthier, and live much longer.
Amino Acids: Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine
Not all bodybuilding supplements are the same. In the study the supplement used had 3 specific amino-acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine. It is thought that these are the key to extending lifespan.
The research explains that exercise promotes survival and, in particular, extends average although not maximal life span. So diet certainly helps to strengthen the heart, muscles and bones of the body, but exercise is required to realise the greatest gains.
The Science Bit – Amino Acid Research
Recent evidence points to a strong relationship between increased mitochondrial biogenesis and increased survival in eukaryotes. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) have been shown to extend chronological life span in yeast.
However, the role of these amino acids in mitochondrial biogenesis and longevity in mammals is unknown. Here, we show that a BCAA-enriched mixture (BCAAem) increased the average life span of mice. B
CAAem supplementation increased mitochondrial biogenesis and sirtuin 1 expression in primary cardiac and skeletal myocytes and in cardiac and skeletal muscle, but not in adipose tissue and liver of middle-aged mice, and this was accompanied by enhanced physical endurance.
Moreover, the reactive oxygen species (ROS) defense system genes were upregulated, and ROS production was reduced by BCAAem supplementation. All of the BCAAem-mediated effects were strongly attenuated in endothelial nitric oxide synthase null mutant mice. These data reveal an important antiaging role of BCAAs mediated by mitochondrial biogenesis in mammals.
The Big Challenge – Test On Humans
Professor Nisoli says that the big challenge is now persuading the health service that large scale testing should be carried out on the human population to see if these results found in the laboratory can be replicated in society. Such as study will take many years to determine if it is successful, possibly several decades.
Word of Caution
The study was carried out on mice, but it was found that the mice lived on average 80 days longer when given a protein supplement. In human years this is the equivalent of raising life expectancy from 77.7 years to 87 for men.
A word of caution if you are thinking of guzzling down protein shakes to help you live longer. Bodybuilding supplements are very high in calories (energy). Bodybuilders work very hard and burn a lot of energy, and their larger muscles require more energy. If you just start consuming additional protein supplement without adjusting other areas of your diet, and without exercising more, you risk putting on more weight, i.e. fat.
Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation Promotes Survival and Supports Cardiac and Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Biogenesis in Middle-Aged Mice by Giuseppe D’Antona, Maurizio Ragni, Annalisa Cardile, Laura Tedesco, Marta Dossena, Flavia Bruttini, Francesca Caliaro, Giovanni Corsetti, Roberto Bottinelli, Michele O. Carruba, Alessandra Valerio, Enzo Nisoli. Cell Metabolism – 6 October 2010 (Vol. 12, Issue 4, pp. 362-372).