Senior Muscle Loss – it starts earlier than you think – what you can do to stop it

Are you a woman over 50 years of age? If so, do you do anything to keep your muscles strong? Senior Muscle Loss – it starts earlier than you think and what can you do to stop it? Women over 50 who are sedentary are losing .5 to 1% muscle mass per year.  If you are active, you are still losing some muscle mass if you are not actively trying to stop it. Resistance training and/or strength training is the best way for a woman over 50 to keep and even build muscle.

Muscle loss in women is faster then men and men also start with more muscle. They too however, will lose muscle each year. Even with exercise both women and men will lose muscle just because of age related changes. This can begin in your thirties!

Muscle Loss is Related To Disease States

If you have not been proactive in preventing it by exercising and eating healthy, Sarcopenia (age related muscle loss) may haveSenior Muscle Loss already begun in your third decade of life. Sarcopenia can lead to many of the common problems and diseases that plague us as we age.

Senior Muscle Loss Associated with disease states:

  • Type II Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Reduced mobility and disability

The “Baby Boom” generation are now between 52 – 70 years old and are in the 200 million estimated population that will experience age related muscle loss or Sarcopenia within the next 4 decades. Therefore, concern is mounting to find an effective treatment. There is one!

Preventing Age Related Muscle Loss

It is widely accepted that exercise specifically Resistance Training which includes lifting weights helps to build muscle and slow down muscle loss.  A recent article in the National Institutes of Health showed that Resistance Training even in over 75 age group had increase strength and muscle mass.

I find this fantastic! To think that you can begin to lift weights and gain muscle mass at 75 is astounding. I hope anyone reading this that is giving up realizes that they can get stronger. Get up and get in a program of resistance training or go to a weight lifting class. You will be surprised just how many other older adults are doing this.

Reverse Muscle Loss with Resistance Training and  Increased Protein Intake

Resistance Training including Weight Lifting can reverse muscle loss. The National Institutes of Health has shown that age may not be a factor when it comes to building muscle in the older adult population. The results were even more impressive when the participants had increased protein intake. A combination of Resistance Training and increased protein intake is the prescription for the muscle to increase in strength and size in the aging adult.

Build Muscle with Leucine

What I found particularly interesting was that it was not just increased protein intake but protein intake that has the spacific “Leu”  (Leucine) amino acid as a certain percentage. The recommendation for older adults is 25 – 30 grams of high quality protein with 2.5 grams of Leu per meal! That amount is needed to slow down age related muscle loss.

Note: Our bodies does not make the amino acid Leucine, we must get it in our food. Also, Whey protein has a very concentrated dose of Leucine and so is the best type of protein to get a lot of Leucine. Whey protein is found in milk but you can buy protein Whey powder and make protein drinks which is a nice way to take in extra protein.

The recommended amount of protein for older adults is .8 grams per kilogram of body weight which is not enough to senior muscle loss - whey proteineffectively slow down the muscle loss. Protein supplementation is an effective solution in addition to meals each day to make sure you get the extra protein. I recommend to add a Whey Protein powder drink. Whey Protein is widely available at your neighborhood store or you can get it online. I love the Double Chocolate Optimum Gold Whey Protein Powder.

Build Muscle with Creatine

Creatine is a nitrogenous organic compound made up of three amino acids Arg, Met and Gly. Creatine is made in your liver and kidneys by these three amino acids. Creatine can also be taken in supplement form and many athletes and fitness buffs take this to increase energy output. Creatine is stored in your muscles and is important for supporting energy in times of high intensity activities such as sprinting and resistance exercise.

Studies have shown that in older adults the addition of Creatine to the diet by way of extra meat or supplementation, the older adults had a positive effect in strength and endurance. When combined with Resistance training the effect was even greater.  My favorite is Fitmiss Creatine Powder. It is only Creatine and nothing else.


Build Muscle with HMB and Vitamin D

β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate (HMB), a metabolite of leucine (supplement) This compound is a patent protected compound and has claims of increasing muscle mass in older women. It has been studied along with the addition of Vitamin D and has several reports that supplementation with HMB and Vitamin D does indeed help with muscle mass increase in older women.

Let’s get a little sun, take our Vitamin D Supplements and get Leucine in our Whey Protein Supplement and drink our milk. This Ensure Enlive Advanced Nutrition Shake with HMB is an excellent choice. I love the Chocolate of course. It not only has HMB but is also packed with 20 grams of protein.

 Build Muscle With Fish Oil

In another study, it was found that fish oil supplementation in older women with fish oil containing 2 grams of EPA/DHA they senior muscle loss - fish oilshowed enhanced muscle strength during 90 days of Resistance Training.  Sarcopenia has been linked with chronic low grade inflammation and the EPA/DHA (PUFAs) has been shown to be anti – inflammatory and has been linked to improved risk for cardiovascular disease.

Build Muscle With HGH Supplements

There are Human Growth Hormone releasing supplements on the market today claiming to help your body release the Human Growth Hormone.  There is  no specific evidence that the supplements help your body produce Human Growth Hormone. However, many do testify that it helps with muscle gain, strength and vitality.

Check out this video of 80 year old Ernestine Shepard:

Conclusion

According to an article published by Oxford University Press, the prevalence of age related muscle loss or Sarcopenia is substantial in geriatric settings and will only increase in the next 4 decades as we get older.  There is increased attention now being given to Sarcopenia and what can be done about it.

The recommendation is for the aging population to increase protein intake with Leucine, Creatine, and HMB, fish oil, Vitamin D and Resistance Training.

I hope I have made you more aware of Senior muscle loss- it starts earlier than you think and what you can do to  stop it. You don’t have to lose strength as you age. If you are over 50 or have a loved one over 50 please share this information with them.

I depend on my weight lifting class to keep me and my muscles strong, help me burn more calories and generally make me feel really great. I also add a cardio class and at times walking outside or on the treadmill.

Have a question or a comment? Please leave it below. I would love to hear your thoughts.
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This article has 4 Comments

  1. Hi Cynthiah,

    Great article on muscle loss for aging adults. I am a baby boomer and understand the muscle reduction as you get older.

    My wife needs to read this article too. It is chauked full of problem solving methods to keep strong muscles and reduce muscles declining.

    You give great advice on protein drinks and other methods to continue having a great physical life style as we grow older.

    Your content is educational and fun to read. thanks for enlightening me on muscle loss and what we can do about it.

    Thanks,
    Tim

    1. Hi Tim,

      Thanks so much for your comment on Senior Muscle Loss and what can be done about it. I am glad you appreciated it as it is my goal to help folks understand that they don’t have to settle on getting weaker as we age.

      We can stay strong and have a great active life, In fact, you can feel as if you are young if you work at keeping strong.

      I hope your wife does read the article also and gets some benefit from it. I mention Resistance Training in the article and I just reviewed a great product for Resistance Training. You can read my review on the Bowflex Xtreme 2SE home gym here.

      The Bowflex home gym is great for men and women. I used to have one and loved it.

  2. Muscle loss is a bit of a concern for me earlier than 50 due to a autoimmune disease lupus. I have been using strength bands for a while to help. I have been looking at other ways including supplements to help. This article really helps to summarize a lot of different ones and methods to help. I appreciate the thought and care that you took to make sure this was easy to understand. I think that most of these things are easy enough to implement for even me! I saw your other recommendation in a comment to check out the Bowflex. I am going to take a look at that too!

    1. Hi Christina,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I take muscle loss as we age very seriously. I know that Lupus can be a challenge. I would urge you to keep up with your strength bands and maybe add some weight lifting. I love the Bow-flex and bought one years ago. It really is very convenient to use for strengthening exercises while at home. Let me know how it is going and if you have any questions. Keep strong!

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