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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Human Nutrition Unit

Zone de texte éditable et éditée et rééditée



Optimization of the muscle mass preservation by a chrono-nutrition dissociated from the meal. Frail elderdies as a model.



Solving the problems associated with aging will be one of the major issues of human nutrition research in the coming decades. In the new Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, 25% of the population is 60 years old or older. The number of potentially dependent elderly people is likely to increase, reaching 30% of the population by 2030.

One of the factors that explains this phenomenon is the loss of muscle mass and function occurring from the fifth decade in humans. Muscle wasting has a multifactorial origin including decreased physical activity, malnutrition / undernutrition and loss of post-incident muscle recovery abilities. Among the strategies tested as relevant for improving the production of proteins and therefore muscle, is the supplementation of whey meals (fast milk proteins). However, this strategy does not seem sufficient to prevent muscle wasting and must be combined with complementary action. Indeed, the breakdown of muscle proteins also occurs during the periods of nocturnal fasting so as to provide amino acids for energy purposes and thus produce glucose. The preservation of the benefit of whey intake during meals could therefore be optimized by reducing the use of muscle proteins for energy purposes during the night.


The CarbOptiMus project is therefore a "proof of concept" that consists of verifying whether protein-energy chrononutrition would optimize the preservation of lean and muscular mass in situations of muscle wasting and recovery in the frail elderly person in an institution. The project consists of studying for 3 months: 1 control group, 1 group with whey supplementation at noon, and 1 group with whey supplementation at noon and an energy bolus before bedtime. Actions include weight and body composition monitoring, nutritional status and muscle function, as well as mechanistic analyzes using non-invasive "omic" approaches (fluids and circulating cells). The innovative character is based on the coupling of the optimization of the muscle protein anabolism during the midday meal with the protective effect of the energy bolus on the loss of proteins and muscles during the night. This strategy of protein-energy chrono-nutrition has never been tested to our knowledge.


The CarbOptiMus consortium is composed of researchers with recognized expertise and know-how in the field of nutrition (Human Nutrition Unit, INRA Clermont-Ferrand) and translational research in the elderly (CHU St-Etienne). The project was also labeled by the Térralia competitiveness cluster and supported by the nutrition-nutrition-health cluster Nutrativa and the Vallée cereals competitiveness cluster, as well as by several socio-economic players in the new AuRA region.


The impact and benefits of the project can be divided into 3 parts:

1) The development of a food supply for the frail elderly, adapted to their needs and based on a matrix that will allow a natural and targeted oral feeding to reduce the metabolic consequences of too long periods of fasting often seen in geriatric institutions.

2) The development of an early diagnosis tool on a simple blood test or urine. This would allow a rapid, economical and customizable way to follow the favorable evolution of the state of health and the decline of the state of undernutrition of the elderly thanks to the biomarkers identified during our "omic" type approach.

3) The impact on economic actors, including the use of natural matrices and "health" to convey the energy bolus, the optimization of institutional nutrition, the development of new food products fortified with whey and / or maltodextrin for targeted and specific populations, the valorization of by-products such as whey in human nutrition and the optimization of such matrices for the elderly according to their state of health and fragility.