The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 531–536 | Cite as

Effect of cysteine-rich whey protein (Immunocal®) supplementation in combination with resistance training on muscle strength and lean body mass in non-frail elderly subjects: A randomized, double-blind controlled study

  • Antony Karelis
  • V. Messier
  • C. Suppère
  • P. Briand
  • R. Rabasa-Lhoret



The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of a cysteine-rich whey protein (Immunocal®) supplementation in combination with resistance training on muscle strength and lean body mass (LBM) in elderly individuals. We hypothesized that the cysteine-rich whey protein (Immunocal®) group would experience a greater increase in muscle strength and lean body mass versus the control group (casein).


Randomized double-blind controlled intervention study.


Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal in Montreal, Canada.


Ninety-nine non-frail elderly subjects were recruited.


Participants were randomly assigned into two groups. The experimental group received a cysteine-rich whey protein isolate (Immunocal®) (20 g/day) and the control group received casein (20 g/day) during a 135-day period. In addition, both groups performed the same resistance training program (3 times per week).


Body composition (DXA) and muscle strength (leg press) were measured.


Of the 99 recruited participants, 84 completed the 135-day study period. Of these, 67 subjects (33 in the casein group and 34 in the Immunocal® group) complied and used at least 80 % of the study product and completed at least 80 % of their training sessions. Results in this selected group show an increase in all three muscle strength variables (absolute, normalized by BW and by LBM) by 31.0 %, 30.9 % and 30.0 %, respectively in the casein group as well as 39.3 %, 39.9 % and 43.3 %, respectively in the Immunocal® group after the intervention (p < 0.05). The increases in muscle strength favored Immunocal® versus casein by approximately 10 % when expressed in kg per kg BW and in kg per kg LBM (p < 0.05). No significant changes were found between pre-and-post intervention in both groups for total LBM.


Our findings showed increases in muscle strength in both groups after resistance training, however, significant additional increases were observed in muscle strength with the addition of a cysteine-rich whey protein (Immunocal®) versus casein.


Nutritional intervention casein natural health product leg press aging and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry 


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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer-Verlag France 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antony Karelis
    • 1
    • 2
  • V. Messier
    • 3
  • C. Suppère
    • 3
  • P. Briand
    • 3
  • R. Rabasa-Lhoret
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of KinanthropologyUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire de gériatrie de MontréalMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM)MontrealCanada
  4. 4.Department of NutritionUniversité de MontréalMontrealCanada
  5. 5.Montreal Diabetes Research Center (MDRC)MontrealCanada

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