Research improving aging muscle and bone health

Posted: November 14, 2011 12:00 p.m.

Darren Candow researches how the use of creatine can help older adults improve their musculoskeletal health.
Darren Candow researches how the use of creatine can help older adults improve their musculoskeletal health. Photo: U of R Photography Dept.

Health costs associated with age-related muscle and bone loss are in the billions of dollars. Darren Candow, associate professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina researches the use of creatine and how it, in combination with exercise, can help older adults improve muscular strength, muscle mass and bone health.

"The reduction in musculoskeletal health decreases strength, functionality and the ability to perform tasks of daily living," says Candow. "Addressing these burdens requires innovative, evidence-based research initiatives to support the health and well-being of the aging population in Canada."

The overall goal of Candow's research program is to develop effective nutritional intervention and exercise-training strategies to improve aging muscle and bone health.

Canadian statistics show that the aging population is growing. Candow explains that as we age, we experience a reduction in bone micro-architecture, or bone density, which later increases the risk of falls, injuries and fractures. With the projected increase in life expectancy, the incidence of age-related bone loss will rise and costs to the healthcare system will increase with a greater need for hospitalization, treatment and rehabilitation.

The majority of Candow's research studies have focused on conducting randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of creatine monohydrate, milk-based proteins and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during weight-training on properties of muscle and bone biology in older adults. Candow has the help of three undergraduate students, three graduate students and one PhD student.

Candow is the chair and organizer for the 2012 Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) annual conference taking place in Regina. The international conference invites up to 700 delegates from around the world. He and his students will have the opportunity to present their research on age-related muscle and bone loss at the conference.