Although we have found that protease-treated royal jelly (pRJ) benefit for the skeletal muscle mass and strength in the aged animals, the potential beneficial effects have not been evaluated in humans. The aim of this study was to determine whether pRJ intake had beneficial effects on muscle strength in elderly nursing home residents. One hundred and ninety-four subjects enrolled into this multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Subjects received either placebo(Group 1), pRJ 1.2 g/d(Group 2), or 4.8 g/d(Group 3). Data through 1 year are reported for 163 subjects. The primary outcome measure is handgrip strength. Secondary outcomes include several physical performance tests (six-minute walk test, timed up and go test, and standing on one leg with eyes closed). The dropout rate was 16.0%. The means (95% confidence interval) of change in handgrip strength for placebo, low-dose, and high-dose groups are -0.98(-2.04,0.08), 0.50(-0.65,1.65) and 1.03(-0.37,2.44) kg (P = 0.06, P for trend = 0.02), respectively. No significant effects of the interventions were observed for physical performances. These findings suggest that pRJ treatment might not improve, but rather attenuate the progression of decrease in muscle strength in elderly people. In addition, we have not found that pRJ intervention can achieve improvement or attenuating the decrease in physical performance.
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