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Exploring the body’s response to dietary protein in adults with Becker muscular dystrophy

Dr Nathan Hodson and his PhD student will look at the metabolism of people with Becker muscular dystrophy and examine whether eating more protein will benefit their physical strength and quality of life.
Principal Investigator
Dr Nathan Hodson
Manchester Metropolitan University
Official title
Characterising skeletal muscle protein metabolism in adults with Becker muscular dystrophy using non-invasive approaches
48 months
Total cost
Becker muscular dystrophy

Project background

Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) is characterised by progressive muscle wasting, largely in the thighs and shoulders ‒ and it can also cause problems with the heart. This often leads to reduced mobility, which affects the quality of a person’s life. People with BMD generally have smaller and weaker muscles, which may be because they produce less muscle protein.

Exercise and a protein-rich diet are often mentioned as a way of improving the quality of life for a person living with BMD. However, not much is known about how these recommendations affect people with BMD as there has been little research into dietary requirements for people with the condition. People with BMD also generally find it difficult to exercise.

The project aims

This project aims to identify the common dietary protein habits of people with BMD to:

  • See whether dietary protein affects their muscle strength and quality of life
  • To explore the differences in the body’s response to dietary protein in people with BMD and those without BMD
  • To determine if protein supplements can increase muscle size, strength, and function in people living with the condition.

Why the research is important

Understanding how dietary protein affects the muscles in people with BMD would allow for information to be added to dietary guidelines. It would also help to identify dietary interventions that could be shared with the NHS and/or charities such as MDUK. Ultimately, it would help to improve muscle strength and function for people living with BMD, improving their quality of life.

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