Effect of HMB and Vitamin D Supplementation on osteosarcoPenia In oldeR pErsons (EMPIRE)

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Masters by Research
Department / Centre
Western Health
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Ben Kirk ben.kirk@unimelb.edu.au Personal web page

Summary Unfortunately, advancing age may comprise musculoskeletal health, with osteoporosis (low bone mass) and sarcopenia (low muscle mass and function) two chronic diseases, which together form a geriatric syndrome, coined osteosarcopenia. This syndrome predisposes an older person to increased risk of falls and fractures, compared to either disease alone, and induces alarming health care costs.

Project Details

As a result, suitable therapeutic strategies, which have dual affects on muscle and bone, are warranted. A protein metabolite, beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), shows promising results in curbing sarcopenia, by upregulating muscle protein synthesis and downregulating protein breakdown rates. As many osteoporotic patients are also vitamin D deficient, supplementing with this nutrient may increase, or at least preserve, bone density too. Taken together, vitamin D and HMB may offer a suitable treatment strategy for osteosarcopenia. However, no study to date, has investigated the effects of Vitamin D + HMB in osteosarcopenic patients, leaving a knowledge gap, which has the potential to not only improve the quality of life of older persons, but reduce socioeconomic costs in Australia, and worldwide.  

Therefore, the purpose of this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is to examine the effects HMB combined with vitamin D3 on appendicular lean mass, muscle strength and functional capacity, as well as bone turnover and microarchitecture in older adults (=65 years) with osteosarcopenia.

School Research Themes


Research Opportunities

PhD students, Masters by Research
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre


Research Node

Western Health

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