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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Is Your Body Losing Muscle?

Age-related muscle loss typically begins around age 30 and accelerates in later decades of life. Physical inactivity and inadequate or low quality dietary protein intake may contribute to, and even hasten, this natural muscle loss, leading to reduced strength and function in older adults—referred to as sarcopenia. A report from the World Health Organization noted that older adults have a greater requirement for protein as a proportion of total energy intake (calories). Small interventional clinical studies have reported improvements in sarcopenia—including increased muscle mass, strength, and physical function—in older adults associated with specific dietary protein formulations that included specific amounts and types of amino acids.

The kind of protein you choose matters. High quality proteins, such as a pea and rice protein blend enhanced with essential amino acids (particularly branched-chain amino acids), can provide advanced nutritional support for healthy aging of skeletal muscle and reduce muscle loss. All proteins are composed of amino acids, some which can be synthesized by the body and others (known as essential amino acids) that must be acquired through the diet. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a subset of the essential amino acids. Leucine is an especially critical BCAA that plays a role in helping build and maintain muscle. A leucine-enriched, balanced amino acid protein product that includes a fast digesting protein base may provide an advantage to help maintain muscle mass as you age—to support mobility and promote vibrant, independent living.

Schedule an office visit to discuss your protein needs and your risks to age-related muscle loss, as well as suggestions for ensuring adequate intake of quality proteins.

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