Posted on: January 4th, 2022

Sarcopenia is a specific type of degenerative muscle atrophy associated with aging or immobility, characterized by loss of muscle mass, strength, and general muscle dysfunction. Sarcopenia currently affects an estimated 50 million people worldwide and is projected to jump to 200 million within 50 years.

The most popular medical treatments currently available for sarcopenia include exercise, dietary restrictions, medications, and nutritional supplements. Scientists have discovered that promoting muscle mass through growth is not enough. Muscle maintenance, regeneration, and mitigating harmful side effects from supplements all affect the viability of potential remedies for sarcopenia and other muscle-related illnesses. Research for helpful sarcopenia nutritional supplements is ongoing and focused on a few different areas.

Myostatin Signaling Drugs

Myostatin is a protein associated with growth and regulating muscle mass. The signaling myostatin can provide regarding muscle growth regulation via myostatin inhibitors has proven to be a potential way to stimulate muscle growth and prevent muscle degradation.

Application and levels of myostatin are being carefully researched as myostatin inhibitors can adversely affect muscle and bone composition. Myostatin Inhibitors are currently being researched for viability for targeted muscle regulation and general muscle growth and regulation.

Renin-Angiotensin System Drugs

The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is known as a hormone system that has a high impact on blood pressure and general fluid & electrolyte balance. Recent research revealed the role of the RAS in promoting muscle atrophy in response to various diseases. Subsequent research has been looking at inhibiting the RAS in order to slow muscle atrophy.

Angiotensin II is a major bioactive agent in the RAS pathway, and inhibiting production and release of angiotensin II inhibits the overall RAS signalling pathway.  The communication between the RAS and its byproducts may allow researchers to help production of specific muscle-enhancing hormones for conditions like sarcopenia. Compounds such as ACE inhibitors block production of angiotensin II, which may inhibit the development of sarcopenia in some people. 

Testosterone & Select Androgen Receptors

Testosterone has been the subject of extensive research over decades, particularly how testosterone affects muscle development. Testosterone is an anabolic steroid. The primary research on testosterone and sarcopenia has focused on muscle repair, regeneration, and protein production.

The first test conducted on individuals with sarcopenia taking testosterone supplements occurred in 2009 but was terminated due to adverse cardiovascular effects in participants. The impact of testosterone supplements to potentially treat sarcopenia was remarkable as notable improvements were seen in muscle strength.

Research has continued since the 2009 trial ended, with more focus on how to modify testosterone in order to remove the adverse effects. Selective androgen receptor modulators are showing promising results by targeting specific proteins with testosterone. Figuring out how to mitigate or eliminate adverse side effects is the main issue with testosterone being used as a supplement to combat sarcopenia.


Metformin may seem like an odd choice to use for mitigating the effects of sarcopenia. The primary use of metformin is to treat type II diabetes, usually in individuals who are overweight. Recent research has shown, however, that metformin modulates multiple biological processes including glucose uptake, fatty acid oxidation, and protein metabolism, among others.

Recently conducted medical trials also showed that metformin, when combined with exercise regimens, can blunt muscle hypertrophy. The research concerning metformin and sarcopenia is ongoing, but shows potentially promising results in slowing muscle atrophy.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.


Stay on track with clinical trials you can trust.

Get in touch with us today and subscribe to our newsletter to see how we can provide the clinical trial and scientific consulting services you need.