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Research Analysis Spotlights Specific Nutritional Factors For Maintaining Muscle Mass In Older Adults

Since my specialty is focused on body transformation strategies for middle age and older adults, I frequently review the latest in research studies on this demographic.

After all the nutritional needs and exercise protocols won’t be the same for a twenty something as it would be for someone over 40.

A new review by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) looked at hundreds of research studies to determine what some of the most important nutrition factors are for helping older adults offset sarcopenia (the gradual loss of muscle mass).

Of course resistance training exercise is essential for not only offsetting muscle loss, but also for increasing strength, bone density, and assisting with hormonal balances. But what about your diet?

Well let’s take a look at what they found. More after the jump…

The following is an excerpt from a release on Science Daily News:

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) Nutrition Working Group has published a new review which identifies nutritional factors that contribute to loss of muscle mass, or conversely, are beneficial to the maintenance of muscle mass.

The Group reviewed evidence from worldwide studies on the role of nutrition in sarcopenia, specifically looking at protein, acid-base balance, vitamin D/calcium, and other minor nutrients like B vitamins.

The review discusses and identifies the following important nutritional factors that have been shown to be beneficial to the maintenance of muscle mass and the treatment and prevention of sarcopenia:

Protein: Protein intake plays an integral part in muscle health. The authors propose an intake of 1.0-1.2 g/kg of body weight per day as optimal for skeletal muscle and bone health in elderly people without severely impaired renal function.

Vitamin D: As studies on indicate, that a role for vitamin D in the development and preservation of muscle mass and function, adequate vitamin D should be ensured through exposure to sunlight and/or supplementation if required. Vitamin D supplementation in seniors, and especially in institutionalized elderly, is recommended for optimal musculoskeletal health.

Avoiding dietary acid loads: Excess intake of acid-producing nutrients (meat and cereal grains) in combination with low intake of alkalizing fruits and vegetables may have negative effects on musculoskeletal health. Modifying the diet to include more fruits and vegetables is likely to benefit both bones and muscles.

Emerging evidence also suggests that vitamin B12 and/or folic acid play a role in improving muscle function and strength. Go to story.

While the recommendations on adequate protein consumption is not surprising or anything new, I want to draw attention to the area on minimizing excessive acid loads in the body.

This is an area that often gets overlooked as older adults tend to be more vulnerable to acid loads. There are a host of reasons for this, many of which center on hormonal shifts. Let’s face it, you’re much more likely to get away with consuming excess processed and refined foods, alcohol, sugars, etc, when you’re younger.

The GI tract is better equipped to dealing with high acid loads and internal organs like the liver can withstand a heavier burden of toxins. Yeah, the good fortunes of being young. Your joints don’t hurt, you recover from exercise faster, a lot of things get taken for granted.

To say that the game changes when you get older is an understatement. Quite simply you have to pay more attention to your diet, specifically looking to increase consumption of alkalizing foods like fruits and vegetables.

High consumption of processed foods, starches, red meat, and alcohol, all lead to an over-acidic state in the body. This directly contributes to increased inflammation and the resulting problems such as  joint pain, arthritis, gout, digestive imbalances, and yes bone density and muscle loss.

One of the reasons I’m so big on a Primal Blueprint or Paleo type diet for older adults is because it naturally works to stabilize the acid-alkaline base in the body. By removing things like wheat and excess starches, you’ll consume more fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, etc, in their place.

Having an occasional filet or other lean steak isn’t necessarily a bad thing when your diet is also adequate in alkaline foods like fruits and vegetables. Remember it’s all about the balance.

With decreased protein synthesis, insulin sensitivity, and other factors associated with aging, you simply have to make some adjustments to your diet in order to maintain an optimal acid/alkaline base.

If you feel poorly look to do some form of a detox/cleanse then shift your diet to more of a Primal Blueprint approach for 30 days and see for yourself what difference it makes. I think you’ll be pleased with what you find.

Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. Personal training in Charleston with a specialty on weight loss and body transformation using 30 minute burst training workouts and Primal Blueprint nutrition strategies. Experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself today.

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Category: Nutrition.