MIlk Intervention Muscle Ageing (MIlkMAN)

Exercise and nutrition are known influences on muscle health and function, so that interventions to increase exercise and nutrient intake should be effective strategies to prevent or treat sarcopenia for at-risk individuals. However, to date, trial evidence has been inconsistent. Combining dietary supplementation with resistance exercise training may be the most effective approach to promote muscle health, but research is needed to define the type of dietary change. To date, trials have focused on nutrient supplementation – few studies have examined the impact of greater consumption of whole foods, which would increase intakes of groups of nutrients and non-nutrients at the same time, which could be beneficial.

We carried out the MIlkMAN study, a pilot intervention, designed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of combining milk consumption, a source of high-quality proteins, minerals and vitamins, with resistance exercise training, as an effective whole food-based intervention to improve muscle health and physical performance in older people. All participants took part in exercise training over a period of 6 weeks but were randomized to one of three arms (two milk groups, one control). The pilot study was successfully completed in 2019.

Granic A, et al. BMJ Open. 2019 Oct 8;9(10):e031048. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-031048. 

Granic A, et al. PLoS ONE. 2020 Jul 10;15(7):e0235952.

When a health psychologist asked them about their experiences in more detail, participants described improved health and physical fitness, being educated about nutrition and exercise, and forming social bonds as motivators to finish the study.  They said:

“I can now walk up and down stairs without holding a bannister. I have more confidence going out walking and using stairs.” (Participant 40, age 77). 

“Generated more energy, makes me want to go walk and stops me sitting around . . . benefits include . . . feeling better about yourself.” (Participant 59, age 77). 

“I developed a friendship that will last and continue, I had fun with my training partner.” (Participant 66, age 72)

Dismore L, et al. Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine. 2020 May 19;6:1-9.

More information about potential benefits of milk for muscle health, and the summary of findings from other similar studies with older adults can be found in our narrative review.