Advice for the elderly on muscle loss

An age-related progressive loss of muscle mass is called Sarcopenia, and this is what leads to muscle weakness, limited mobility, and increased susceptibility to injury.
The exact mechanisms involved in sarcopenia have not been clearly understood. Indeed, an imbalance between protein synthesis and protein breakdown rate can lead to the loss of Muscles Proteins..


What research has shown us
In 2006 researchers, Fujita et al, reviewed the available literature and discussed the difference between young muscle fibres and old muscle fibres. The authors concluded that there is in fact a difference between how younger and older Muscles fiber utilize protein.
Normally, when you are young, carbohydrates (insulin) stimulate greater utilization of Proteins and increase protein synthesis. However, the available literature reported by Fujita suggests that as we age, we don’t respond as well to this carbohydrate and protein mixture because of a decrease in sensitivity of older muscle fibres to insulin.
It was found that by adding carbohydrates to an amino acid meal enhanced the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis in younger participants, but the same combination did not have any effect on older participants.

So, how can the elderly prevent muscle loss?
In the elderly, the data seems to support the idea of you using Branch Chain Amino Acids , aka BCAA’s (Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine) along with a mixture of just essential amino acids.
In the elderly, the data seems to support the idea of you using Branch Chain Amino Acids, aka BCAA’s (Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine) along with a mixture of just essential amino acids.
Leucine seems to be the most important of the BCAA’s in protein synthesis. The researchers state that in order to achieve the highest anabolic efficiency per Energy unit, it’s important to deliver only nutrients that are absolutely necessary for the stimulation of muscle protein.

Which products are suitable?
Look for a product that has just essential amino acids and a high content of BCAA’s (1-2grams/day). Whey protein is high in essential amino acids, along with BCAA’s, however for certain cases just amino acids/BCAA’s may be optimal. And keep exercising!

George Tardik B.Sc.(hon), RHN, RNCP, (ND cand.) has been practicing nutrition for 10 years. He is a fourth year intern at the Canadian College of Naturopathic medicine’s RSNC clinic. He’s been featured on CBC’s Newsworld, Marketplace and Sports Journal. George specializes in metabolism,Weight Loss ,Diabetes and Sports Nutrition . He practices out of Nature's Source.

For booking appointments, please call 416.242.8500.