TWK10 probiotic may help slow age-related muscle weakness: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Lactobacillus plantarum TWK10 is isolated from kimchi. Image © Fudio / Getty Images
Lactobacillus plantarum TWK10 is isolated from kimchi. Image © Fudio / Getty Images

Related tags Probiotic muscle strength Gut microbiota

Supplementation with a probiotic isolated from Taiwanese pickled cabbage may help prevent the aging-related loss of muscle strength, according to a study with lab mice.

Data published in Frontiers in Nutrition​ also indicated that the Lactobacillus plantarum​ TWK10 strain may decrease age-related declines in learning and memory, as well as losses in bone mass.

“[W]e have for the first time presented evidence of TWK10 attenuating aging-related disorders in naturally aging mice,”​ wrote scientists led by Chia-Chia Lee from the Taiwanese company Synbio Tech Inc.

“Conclusively, we have confirmed that Lactobacillus plantarum TWK10 could be considered as a potential therapeutic agent to promote healthy aging by attenuating aging-related disorders and modulating the imbalance of gut microbiota.”


The study adds to the ever-growing body of science supporting the strain’s efficacy. Research on the strain started about 12 years ago by the National Taiwan Sport University, and commercialized by Taiwan’s Synbio Tech.

In North America, TWK10 is available from Lonza, which exclusively licenses the strain from Synbio Tech.

TWK10 is said to be the world’s first probiotics for building muscle mass, and won Sports Nutrition Ingredient of the Year at the 2021 NutraIngredients-USA Awards​. 

According to data from a clinical trial published in Nutrients​, TWK10 may enhance endurance, improve body composition and energy levels in healthy humans. 

"Broadening the applicability of the ingredient"

The study's findings were welcomed by Zain Saiyed, PhD, Associate Director of Research and Innovation at Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients.

"This rodent study suggests that the role TWK10 sports probiotic plays in enhancing muscle strength is not restricted to just younger individuals, but it can also benefit older individuals as well by preventing age-related loss in muscle strength,"​ said Dr Saiyed. "This broadens the applicability of the ingredient to not only a wide demographic across several compelling potential claims for customers of TWK10 sports probiotic.

"Based on this study, TWK10 sports probiotic appears to have a beneficial effect in preventing age-related declines in learning, memory, and also bone loss."

Dr Saiyed added that the study provides new mechanistic insights, suggesting that TWK10 sports probiotic modulates gut microbiota towards higher levels of beneficial short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and the bacteria producing them.

Study details

The new study investigated the potential benefits of TWK10 on the progression of age-related impairments in mice. Young and old mice were each divided into two groups to receive one billion CFUs per mouse per day of the TWK10 probiotic or a control for eight weeks.

The results showed that in both young and old mice receiving the probiotic there was enhanced muscle strength and glycogen levels in the muscles, compared to the control mice in each age group.

“Muscular glycogen content affects muscle quantity and muscle quality, together with mitochondrial quality, dietary nutrition, and the levels of inflammation-related cytokines and anabolic hormones,” ​explained the researchers. “Although the above results confirmed that TWK10 administration significantly improved muscle strength in aged mice, further investigations are needed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms involved.”

Significant cognitive benefits were recorded for the aged mice consuming TWK10, added the researchers, particularly for learning and memory, which were assessed using the Morris water maze.

The researchers also found that the TWK10-fed mice has higher levels of short-chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producing bacteria and higher levels of SCFAs in their guts. TWK10 feeding also partially protected against the age-associated accumulation of pathogenic bacterial taxa in the mice.

The researchers concluded: “Future studies are needed to validate the results obtained using animal models in a clinical setting, prior to confirming the health-promoting benefits of TWK10 in humans.”

Source: Frontiers in Nutrition​   
2021, Volume 8, Page 753, doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.708096​  
“Lactobacillus plantarum TWK10 Attenuates Aging-Associated Muscle Weakness, Bone Loss, and Cognitive Impairment by Modulating the Gut Microbiome in Mice”
Authors: C-C. Lee et al.

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