Sarcopenia is an age-related condition of progressive loss of lean muscle mass and weakness, which is largely due to malnutrition. Reason being, that with poor intake of food - especially low consumption of protein, the synthesis of new protein muscle mass is greatly reduced. And so, we find an almost cause and effect relationship between malnutrition and Sarcopenia.
Malnutrition and Low protein intake → diminished stimulation of protein muscle synthesis → decreased muscle mass and strength = Sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia - The Role of Nutrition and Protein
The chart below demonstrates that an inclusion of a high-quality protein food (25-30mg per serving)
with each meal maximally stimulates muscle protein synthesis in elderly subjects,
hence can effectively treat or delay Sarcopenia progression.
Dietary Protein Recommendations for the Prevention and Treatment of Sarcopenia
- Current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 - 1.0gm per kg body weight (BW)
- Present protein intake may meet the nutritional needs of healthy individuals, but may not protect the elderly from Sarcopenia muscle loss
- Research indicates that increased protein intake (up to 1.6gm per kg BW) may enhance muscle hypertrophy
- In study groups of very old men and women, the use of a protein-calorie supplement was associated with greater strength and muscle mass gains, compared to the placebo groups
- A 20gm serving of an animal or plant protein containing 5-8gm of essential amino acids and served with each meal, stimulates muscle protein synthesis
- Even distribution of protein intake throughout the day produced best results
- The synergistic effects of exercise and nutrition in prevention and treatment of Sarcopenia is well established and supported by numerous studies and research
Sarcopenia: The Newest Geriatric Syndrome?
What are Geriatric Syndromes?
- Clinical Scenarios that represent conditions of impaired health in elderly patients
- Complex conditions resulting from multiple interactive risk factors
- Cumulative effects can lead to development of frailty and poor outcomes
- Age related impact on organs and diseases interacting to form signs and symptoms
Quotes on Sarcopenia
- "If you haven't heard much talk of Sarcopenia before, it's likely you will soon. Physicians, caregivers and even drug companies are realizing that muscle loss is something they really need to pay attention to." Prof. Roger Fielding (Human Nutrition Center on Aging, Tuft University)
- "In the Future, Sarcopenia will be known as much as osteoporosis is now." President of the International Association on Gerontology and Geriatrics in the New York Times
- "What I see is that there are a lot of older people for whom muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass really are a root cause of their lack of independence, their lack of mobility, their increased likelihood of becoming disabled. I believe that." Prof Roger Fielding (Human Nutrition Center on Aging, Tuft University)
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