Shucks: Fermented oyster supplement unlikely to improve muscle function in adults – Korean RCT

By Nurul Ain Razali

- Last updated on GMT

Researchers established that fermented oyster supplementation did not improve muscle function in adults with low muscle mass, and there were no reported toxicity. ©Getty Images
Researchers established that fermented oyster supplementation did not improve muscle function in adults with low muscle mass, and there were no reported toxicity. ©Getty Images

Related tags GABA Supplements Muscle Oyster

A recent South Korean RCT found that oral supplementation with fermented oysters did not improve muscle function in adults with relatively low muscle mass, conflicting with three previous studies.

The current research, titled “Effect of fermented oyster (Crassostrea gigas) extracts and regular walking on muscle strength and mass in older adults with relatively low muscle mass: A randomized controlled trial” ​and published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, demonstrated that the effect of such supplementation on human muscle strength and mass is unclear.

“It is known that growth hormone release and insulin-like growth factor-1 expression are stimulated directly or indirectly by gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Oysters contain a large amount of glutamic acid, a precursor of GABA.

“Recently, the effects of lactic acid fermented oyster extract containing GABA and lactic acid, produced by lactic acid fermentation of oysters, on bone formation, height growth and exercise performance improvement have been reported. Data suggest that GABA is a potent bioactive compound for improving muscle health. Lactic acid fermentation may further increase GABA content.

“Fermented oyster supplementation was therefore expected to improve sarcopenia. Based on previous studies, we hypothesized that fermented oyster has a beneficial effect on preserving and strengthening muscle strength and function in older adults,”​ said the researchers.

The scientists enrolled 54 men and women aged 50 to 78 from a tertiary hospital in Yangsan-Si, South Korea. They were randomised to receive a placebo or 1,200mg fermented oyster capsules daily over 12 weeks.

Their knee strength, hand grip and body and blood composition were measured at baseline and the 12-week mark. They were also required to walk for 30 to 60 minutes daily, at least three days weekly.

Shucked

The current study showed no difference between the control and intervention groups in terms of muscle strength after 12 weeks. There was also no increase in knee and grip strength between them.

No differences were also observed in the muscle mass, growth hormone, muscle biomarkers, anti-inflammatory markers and antioxidative markers between the two. None of the participants experienced adverse events – consumption of the fermented oysters was well tolerated and no significant adverse effect was reported.

This result conflicted with a previous study conducted by Park J. H. et al.​ (2021) on elderly women, which proved that GABA is a potent bioactive compound for improving muscle health. In that study, 10 menopausal women were 1,000mg of fermented oyster daily over eight weeks, and their knee strength significantly increased compared to the placebo group.

The current study also contrasted findings from studies on bone formation by Molagoda I. M. N. et al.​ (2022), height by Jeong A. et al.​ (2021) and improvement in exercise performance by Reid S. N. S. et al.​ (2020).

In conclusion, the current researchers established that the supplement did not improve muscle function in adults with low muscle mass, and there were no reported toxicity or adverse reactions.

“The current study is still considered valuable for the following reasons. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first well-designed clinical study to examine the efficacy and tolerability of fermented oyster supplementation in adults with relatively low muscle mass. Another advantage of this study is that it evaluated the participants’ physical activity through a walking log and found that combining fermented oyster supplementation with regular walking did not remarkably improve muscle function compared to regular walking alone,”​ said the researchers.

Source:​ Frontiers in Nutrition

“Effect of fermented oyster (Crassostrea gigas) extracts and regular walking on muscle strength and mass in older adults with relatively low muscle mass: A randomized controlled trial”

DOI:10.3389/fnut.2022.935395

Authors:​ Lee Ye Li and Lee Sang Yeoup

Healthy ageing, protein and probiotics are major focus areas of our upcoming Growth Asia Summit in Singapore from 11 to 13 October. Check out big-name brands, international experts and pioneering start-ups slated to present here.

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