Prevent loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia)

How to prevent loss of muscle mass due to ageing.

Sarcopenia (the loss of muscle mass)., and how to prevent it as we age.


Maintaining your muscle mass and maintaining your optimal body composition as you age, is crucial for having a long, healthy life.

Believe it or not, muscles are not just there to move the skeleton and to look nice. This is a subjective measure from our society. Muscles are actually a crucial part of having an optimally functioning body.Muscles release over 700 myokines, which are molecules released from healthy, exercising muscles. 

Myokines support the health of the rest of the body. Some myokines support the health of the brain and heart. Some myokines help the pancreas, liver, and kidneys. As an example., there is a myokine released from muscle that is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor.which supports the health of your brain, makes your brain cells repair and function better and can grow new brain cells in other parts of the brain.


Muscle is essential because it maintains your metabolic rate

Muscle is a metabolic tissue that uses a lot of energy even at rest. If you lose muscle mass your metabolic rate declines and it becomes much easier to have an excess of calorie intake and start storing it as fat.


Muscle is an endocrine gland

It secretes molecules that support the health of the body. To the same degree, fat and fat cells are also an endocrine gland. Fat cells secrete molecules that negatively affect the health of the body. Fat cells secrete inflammatory cytokines or adipokines that damage the rest of the body.

When you are young and healthy, you typically have a high muscle mass and low body fat mass. At that stage in your life, everything throughout your body works very well. You feel it, and you function optimally.

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As you get older, with dietary changes, with exercise changes, with hormone changes,  muscle mass is lost and fat mass gained.  Even if your body weight does not alter, the body composition does change. With less muscle and more fat, this decreases the health and the function of tissues throughout the whole body. With a decline in the health of tissues, it’s crucial to avoid sarcopenia as you get older.


Muscle mass helps prevent injury and falls 

Another reason to maintain muscle mass and muscular strength is in the prevention of injury and falls. You are less likely to fall if you have strong muscles. If you have strong muscles, you are more liable to have strong, healthy bones. If you do fall, you are less likely to break the bones. If you have weak muscles, you are more apt to fall. If you have weak bones, you are more likely to break the bones.

If you break your hip from a fall, that is a very common cause of elderly people dying, because a hip fracture puts you in the hospital for weeks and makes you immobile. This then puts you at risk of having clots in the legs and lungs, pneumonia, and can cause an early death.


Muscle mass supports strength and mobility

The loss of strength and mobility from loss of muscle mass decreases a human beings quality of life because you are unable to accomplish the things you want to. You can witness the people struggling with sarcopenia because they can’t stand up out of a chair without using their arms. Their loss of muscle mass means they can’t walk up and down stairs without holding onto something.

We don’t want that to happen at any stage of our lives because sarcopenia and loss of mobility are common causes for ending up in a nursing home. If you have loss of vision, memory, or movement., -any one of those things will put you in a nursing home, and that is the end of your quality of life and you’re on a slippery slope to death. This does not need to happen.

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Tips for maintaining your muscle mass, minimising fat accumulation and obtaining optimal body composition.

To optimise your health into old age, there are many things you can do to prevent the loss of muscle mass.

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Nutrition –
Protein

You need to put a focus on your nutrition and optimise your diet. Consuming adequate protein is essential for building muscles.

Digestion
Enzymes and Stomach Acid

You need to have proper digestion to break that protein down into the individual amino acids. To do that, you need to have the appropriate enzymes and sufficient levels of acid in your stomach to fulfil that digestion.

Healthy Gut

You need to have a healthy gut so that you can absorb the broken down nutrients from your gut into your body.

Exercise – High-Intensity Weight Bearing Exercise

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You need to have the stimulus on the muscle to grow new muscle. It needs to be high-intensity exercise. High intensity is not walking. High intensity is heavy weightlifting – heavy for you, not heavy for an Olympic weightlifter. Heavy for you means that you stress your muscles. Muscles are a very plastic organ. They adapt to the levels of stress that they are exposed to, and they will actively de-adapt if you don’t expose them.

The body is very smart. Muscles use a lot of energy to stay alive. If you are not using those muscles and requiring that muscle function and its corresponding strength, your body will de-adapt and remove tissue to eliminate the energy requirements.

If you consider back when there was famine that came along regularly, (when we were out in the jungle)., you were more likely to survive if you don’t have a high energy requirements from day to day. Your body actively removes muscle mass that is not being used. Conversely, the body has mechanisms to grow muscle mass at any age, if you tell it that it needs it.

The way you tell your body that it needs muscle mass is to say it that the muscle mass it has currently is not adequate for what you want to do at the moment. You do this by giving it all the raw materials it needs to increase muscle mass, such as diet, digestion, absorption, muscular stress, and hormones that are involved in triggering the anabolic muscle growth process.

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