Acetaminophen could prevent muscle loss

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researchers have found that taking safe doses of the common pain medication acetaminophen could help prevent several age related conditions including muscle loss by regulating an important enzyme. Function of the protein - kinase B (Akt) – that regulates cell growth and survival of cells and metabolism, declines with age. Acetaminophen was found to restore Akt activity in aged animals.

Scientists found that boosting Akt activity can increase muscle size and reduce the rate of muscle cell death. The findings could be useful for curbing muscle loss that occurs with aging and so far defies solution. Muscle loss, inevitable with aging, leads to disability and increases risk of injury. If the findings could be applied to humans, the common pain medication could increase quality of life for an aging population.


The study, conducted by Dr. Eric Blough and his colleagues at Marshall University showed that “chronic acetaminophen treatment in a recommended dosage is not only safe but might be beneficial for the treatment of the muscle dysfunction many people experience as they get older.”

The findings could be significant for the fast growing aging population of the US. The researchers say acetaminophen might reduce muscle loss because it decreases the amount of reactive oxygen species in the body. Lead study author, Dr. Miaozong Wu, says, “Given the finding that increases in reactive oxygen species may play a role in the development of several age-associated disorders, it is possible that acetaminophen could be used to treat many different types of conditions.”

The acetaminophen study was supported by McNeill Pharmaceutical, a manufacturer of acetaminophen. The study, showing that acetaminophen can preventing muscle loss associated with aging is published in the July 29 issue of the international research journal PLoS One.

Source: PLoS One
Written by Kathleen Blanchard RN
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