Human body performs the activity of muscle growth from the time of birth till adulthood. With time, the skeletal muscle mass of the body increases in size, quality and strength as we grow. However, with advancing age, this activity gets reversed and the body starts losing the skeletal muscle mass gradually. This age-related loss of muscle mass and muscle function is termed as Sarcopenia with aging.
Age related muscle loss is observed more in the people who are aged above 30s and are less physically active. They tend to lose 2-5% of muscle mass in every 10-12 years with age. There is no specific data suggesting the exact value of actual muscle mass lost. Such scenarios make the old age population more prone to fractures and injuries. This affects their life expectancy and quality of life as well.
There is no known reason for this phenomenon; however, reduction in the number of nerve cells, difficulty in maintaining a protein and vitamin rich diet and decreased ability to convert the proteins and amino acids into energy are certain major reasons leading to the loss of muscle mass in body. Long standing infection and inflammation, sedentary lifestyle and psychological stress are some other reasons of age related muscle loss.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Age Related Muscle Loss?
The signs and symptoms experienced due to age related muscle loss include:
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Lowered stamina
- Unable to do physical activity and reduced strength
- Inability to perform daily routine activities
- Shrinking of muscles
- Frequently getting exhausted in short walks
- Loss of balance due to reduced muscle strength
- Prone to fractures and injury.
What Vitamins Stops Age Related Muscle Loss?
Vitamins are the essential components of the human diet and play a major role in the preventing the muscle loss.
Vitamin D is a very powerful element that affects the major systems of the body. All the cells in the human body have the receptors for Vitamin D. It plays an important role like a hormone. Vitamin D gets activated in the skin when exposed to the sunlight; however, it can also be taken externally by diet and vitamin supplements.
Regular intake of Vitamin D plays a major role in neuromuscular functions. It reduces the muscle loss and improves the muscle strength by increasing the rate of protein synthesis by enlarging the muscle cell fibers. It reduces the risk of falls and fracture and optimizes the bone density. Vitamin D can be obtained from food like fish, Salmon, Tuna or as supplementation. The dosage needs to be decided based on your blood vitamin D levels. The normal Vitamin D levels in your blood must be between 50 – 80 ng/mL for staying healthy. To attain this, one must consume 2000 – 5000 IU of vitamin D per day.
Other Nutrients Necessary to Stop Age Related Muscle Loss
Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Consumption of seafood replenishes human body with Omega 3 fatty acid. This helps in improving the muscle mass and muscle weakness. It also helps in reducing the long standing inflammation.
Proteins to Stop Age Related Muscle Loss:
Protein intake is the best way to prevent muscle loss. Theories have suggested that increased protein intake has improved age related muscle loss in a section of population. 30-35 grams of daily protein intake is recommended. The major amino acid required is Leucine that helps in muscle growth and its normal functioning. Protein rich diet mainly consists of soybeans, meat, fish, eggs etc.
Creatinine is a protein produced in the liver by human body. This also helps in regaining the lost muscle strength. Creatinine can also be consumed externally by diet such as meat. Recommended daily dose is 5gm.
Diet and nutrition plays a major role in preventing and stopping age related muscle loss and regain the muscle strength. Along with the above mentioned dietary supplements, it is important to perform some physical activity and fitness training. Resistance training that involves weight lifting, weight pulling, etc. is beneficial to prevent the muscle loss. These trainings create tension in the muscle cells that activates the growth signals within the cells thus increasing the strength. Fitness training such as aerobics, combined with other regular exercise is also effective in case of age related muscle loss. Regular jogging and cycling also increases the muscle mass thus helping in regaining the skeletal strength.