Health supplement hope for child muscle disease

A health supplement used by bodybuilders could be the key to treating a life-threatening muscular dystrophy affecting hundreds of Australian children, new research shows.

The amino acid L-tyrosine had a “rapid and dramatic impact” on Nemaline Myopathy (NM) in laboratory tests on mice, significantly improving symptoms of the muscle-wasting disease.

Trials showed that consuming L-tyrosine could significantly improve muscle strength and mobility in NM, raising the possibility it also could be effective in a range of other muscle-wasting diseases. L-tyrosine is readily available in health food shops for less than $30 and is used as a body building supplement and as a memory booster.

There is currently no cure for NM (or Rod Myopathy) – the most common congenital muscle disease – which causes muscle weakness of varying severity in an estimated 500 Australian children.

Children with NM experience delayed motor development and weakness in the arms and legs, trunk, throat and face muscles. The condition can lead to difficulties breathing and moving and, in its severest form, can cause death.

Read more at UNSW