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publicado em 02/07/2012 às 09h35:00
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Caffeine intake preserves muscle strength of older people, say scientists

Research with rats shows that the substance boosts muscle strength in two different muscles in the elderly

 
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Drinking coffee could help older people maintain their strength and reduce their chances of falling and injuring themselves, a new study has found.

The decline in muscle strength that occurs as we age can reduce quality of life by making everyday tasks harder.

The process is not well understood, but it is clear that preserving muscle tone is key.

It is known that in adults in their prime caffeine helps the muscles to produce more force. But as we age, our muscles naturally change and become weaker.

So, sports scientists at Coventry University looked for the first time at whether caffeine could also have a strengthening effect on pensioners.

Their study on mice revealed that caffeine boosted power in two different muscles in elderly adults - an effect that was not seen in developing youngsters.

Jason Tallis, the study's primary author, said: 'With the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle to preserve health and functional capacity, the performance-enhancing benefit of caffeine could prove beneficial in the aging population.'

The researchers isolated muscles from mice ranging in age from juvenile to elderly, then tested their performance before and after caffeine treatment. The stimulant is found in coffee and a number of soft drinks.

They looked at two different skeletal muscles, which are the muscles we can control voluntarily. The first was the diaphragm, a core muscle used for respiration; the second was a leg muscle called the extensor digitorum longus (EDL), used for locomotion.

Tallis said: 'Despite a reduced effect in the elderly, caffeine may still provide performance-enhancing benefits.'

Consuming caffeine has also been linked to improved thinking processes and improved memory skills in later life.

However, previous research has shown that excessive caffeine intake may cause the body to rid itself of calcium - a nutrient vital in supporting bone strength in later life.

It can also temporarily increase blood pressure, although the long-term effects of this are unclear.

The latest study will be presented at the Society for Experimental Biology this month.

Source: Isaude.net
   Palavras-chave:   Coffee    Caffeine    Muscle strength    Muscle tone    Coventry University    Jason Tallis   
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