Ask Clark’s

“What can I do to age well?” – a letter from Jim of Corona

By Clark’s Nutrition   "ask clarks" header

It is best said by Reebok “a body in motion stays in motion”.   Activation of muscle is the most important feature for keeping healthy and abundant muscle tissue on the body. Why is muscle tissue so important? Muscle tissue has some interesting features including providing protein reservoir (amino acids) for synthesis of vital tissue including organs like your liver, heart and kidneys. Furthermore, altered muscle metabolism plays a key role in the genesis and prevention of many common chronic diseases. Disease prevention includes but is not limited to; a reduction in mortality, heart disease-stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes II, bone density loss (osteoporosis), some cancers (breast, colon) and dementia (Alzheimer’s).

As we age, our bodies experience a progressive loss of skeletal muscle and a decrease in physical function, with an inherent risk of disability and a poor quality of life. The age related loss of muscle mass and strength is called sarcopenia. Regular physical activity is one of the main non-pharmaceutical interventions for older people that are needed to help maintain muscle mass, strength, metabolic function and disease prevention. We must also remember that dietary considerations are a must to feed the muscles and for prevention of sarcopenia. Recently, dietary considerations have become a focus for researchers that are studying the preservation of muscle mass loss. A recent study, with 130 individuals with the average age of 80.3, was subjected to dietary supplementations with age appropriate training. Dietary interventions included additional protein (whey) 22 grams, 10 grams of essential amino acids (including 4 grams of Leucine), and 100 i.u. vitamin D. The end result showed 68% of individuals using dietary supplements become non-sarcopenic, while 100% of the placebo group had no reversal of sarcopenia and remained sarcopenic throughout the entire training program. Test results suggested adequate protein (supplied by the diet: having 100% of the RDA for protein) is not sufficient. While it is noted that additional studies have shown whey protein to be beneficial in growth and maintenance of muscle, some studies were inconclusive about whey and sarcopenia. These additional studies combined the use of whey, essential amino acids and vitamin D to augment whey on its own, proving additional amino acids with Leucine is sufficient to elicit growth. The addition of vitamin D stimulates gene expression (cellular growth) as well. Also increases in GH (growth hormone) and IGF-1 (insulin growth factor one) were seen in the supplementation with reduction in C – reactive protein and inflammation from the addition of vitamin D, which additionally provided growth potential.

The use of supplementation and working out has been a staple in the area of athletic performance, now it is time for the elderly to benefit.

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