BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge clinic is on the frontlines of the battle to keep U.S. soldiers strong and healthy. Pennington Biomedical Research Center is recruiting young men for a study aimed at optimizing military performance.
Scientists are working with the Department of Defense to figure out how to make up for a loss in calories after soldiers deploy.
"They're burning more calories than they're able to consume, and when that happens, one thing that happens is they have low testosterone," explained principal investigator Jennifer Rood, Ph.D. "So we're looking at replacing testosterone to normal levels to see if we can help our soldiers perform better both mentally and physically."
To determine the best way to do that, researchers are putting 50 young men to the test. It's a three-month study that involves intense workouts and fewer calories. The provided food is tasty, but participants get less of it. The study also requires living at Pennington's inpatient facility for 28 consecutive days.
"You have great people here trying to take care of you, making sure that you stay focused and that you're doing alright, but that was probably one of the most challenging parts of the exercise," participant Kyle Landry said.
The recent college graduate said he got in the best shape of his life during the study.
There is one other big motivator. Those who complete the study earn up to $6,000 in compensation.
"We're hoping that if this is successful, if we're able to prevent some of the negative things we see with decreasing in calories, that this will take us to the next step," Rood explained.
That could mean testosterone injections or other ways to make up for the effects of the missing calories.
Besides potentially helping thousands of service members, participants learn a lot about their own bodies. Researchers analyze metabolism and physiology, plus fat and muscle mass.
"I'm in the kinesiology field, graduated from Southeastern, so I wanted to try and keep learning as much as I could about myself, about my body, and just exercise in general," Landry said.
The study needs 50 men in total, and Rood said eight have finished so far. Ten others are currently enrolled, leaving at least 32 open spots.
Recruiters are looking for men ages 18-39 who are currently active at least three times a week.
CLICK HERE for more information and requirements, or call 225-763-3000.