WHAT IS SARCOPENIA?
Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle as part of the aging process. With frailty and appearance as a result of this age-related muscle loss, sarcopenia is also the key component behind chronic diseases including diabetes and can cause major complications in certain diagnoses such as cancer.
HOW IMPORTANT IS MUSCLE TO OUR OVERALL HEALTH??
Very important. Current research shows that the amount of muscle on your frame is a leading indicator of health and longevity. One 2017 study found that lean muscle mass outperforms body mass index, or BMI, at gauging overall health.
WHAT TYPES OF DISEASES ARE INFLUENCED BY LACK OF MUSCLE? HOW DOES MUSCLE IMPROVE THESE CONDITIONS?
Almost every aspect of our health is impacted by our muscle mass. Three of our greatest disease threats – diabetes, heart disease and cancer are negatively impacted by sarcopenia.
Diabetes is a disease of the muscle. We focus on the pancreas but for those with Type 2 diabetes, which is the majority of diabetics, you have to realize that muscle is the biggest consumer of blood sugar. If you don’t have enough muscle, it can make managing your blood sugar even harder.
Research published in the Lancet suggests that your muscle strength and health can more accurately predict the likelihood of death by heart disease than monitoring blood pressure.
Sarcopenia can also affect outcomes in people who have cancer – it can create treatment complications, worsen side effects of chemotherapy and even lower survival rates.
And for those who are overweight or obese and trying to lose weight, it is important to realize that you burn fewer calories when you have low muscle mass. Boost your muscle mass and you can burn more calories – and that can lead to greater success with weight loss and a more desirable body composition.
If this doesn’t grab your attention then consider this: low muscle mass can also impact your sex drive and performance and is associated with fatigue and depressed mood.
WHAT ARE THREE WAYS YOU CAN IMPROVE MUSCLE HEALTH?
Pump Up Plant-Based Protein: Plant-based diets are popular but don’t forget the protein especially if the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle is your modus operandi. The current minimum recommended daily allowance of protein is 0.8 daily grams of protein per kilogram of an individual’s body mass (or 0.36 grams per pound of body weight). Studies suggest doubling this and incorporate protein into every meal. Researchers have debunked the myth that high protein intake negatively affects the kidneys of healthy adults, but people on plant-based diets still find it challenging to get the amounts of protein needed.
Try these plant-based, protein rich foods to get to 0.72 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily: Peanuts (20.5 g. of protein per ½ cup); Almonds (16.5 g. of protein per ½ cup); Edamame (8.5 g. of protein per ½ cup); Chickpeas (7.25 g. of protein per ½ cup); or try Spirulina, blue or green algae-based supplement can be mixed in water or smoothies (8 g. of protein per 2 tablespoons). One caution is that no matter how many plant-based proteins you incorporate in your diet, you will still be deficient in essential amino acid needed for muscle protein synthesis.
Add Essential Amino Acids: Now this is key; a certain amount for protein is needed to be effective at triggering muscle protein synthesis, and there is an increasing effect up to a certain point, but then the effect of each additional gram from protein source food starts decreasing, which is where supplementation can be helpful.
Innovators in muscle health have developed the first supplement of its kind called Rejuvenate that shows promise in studies to increase the body’s muscle protein synthesis and ability to rebuild and repair muscle by 57% with noticeable muscle mass improvement within 30 days. These specialty formulated, essential amino acids, that when mixed with water and taken as a beverage, work to generate positive muscle response without exercise. However, when used with exercise, it has the ability to double the body’s ability to rebuild and repair muscle. Muscle serves as the body’s predominant amino acid reserve, supplying the materials needed for the body to produce wound-healing molecules, antibodies and other proteins that are important for sustaining health.
Double Up and Compound Gym Time: The fact that you routinely run, walk, play tennis or ride a bike is not adequate to prevent an incremental loss of muscle mass and strength even in the muscles you’re using as well as those not adequately stressed by your usual activity. While aerobic exercise has long been prescribed to burn fat, current studies consistently demonstrate that resistance training, by building both the size and cellular health of muscle, leads to bigger reductions in body fat. In fact, research suggests that muscle tissue accounts for approximately 20% of total daily caloric expenditure. Studies show the majority of people who exercise focus on cardio, not resistance training. This approach uses half or less of your muscle cells and causes atrophy over time and triggers the downward spiral of frailty and poor health.
HOW CAN YOU GET MORE PROTEIN IF YOU HAVE A PLANT-BASED, VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN LIFESTYLE?
There are many protein-rich foods that aren’t animal products. Despite this, it can be challenging to get your daily protein with a plant-based diet. When calculating your needed protein, make sure to get 0.72 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. Some foods that can help you reach that are peanuts, almonds, edamame and chickpeas. Or you can try Spirulina, blue or green algae-based supplement, mixed in water or smoothies. Despite this, no matter how many plant-based proteins you incorporate in your diet, you will still be deficient in essential amino acids. These are needed for muscle protein synthesis. For that you will need to take a supplement with essential amino acids.
WHY IS MUSCLE PROTEIN SYNTHESIS IMPORTANT?
Muscle protein synthesis is important because it effectively turns your protein-intake and hard work at the gym into muscle. This is necessary in building and maintaining your muscle, and preventing sarcopenia.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO MAINTAIN MUSCLE WHILE DIETING OR TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT?
Make sure to incorporate enough protein-rich foods into your diet and do the right exercises at the gym. Studies show that a majority of people who exercise focus on cardio, not resistance training. This approach uses half or less of your muscle cells and causes atrophy over time, triggering the downward spiral of muscle frailty and poor health. Research suggests that muscle tissue accounts for approximately 20% of total daily caloric expenditure, so activating and building your muscle and fueling them with the right foods will build lean, healthy muscle and result in good weight loss.
HOW CAN YOU MAKE YOUR PROTEIN WORK MORE EFFECTIVELY?
First, you need to intake a certain amount for protein to trigger the muscle protein synthesis. There is an increasing effect up to a certain point, but then the effect of each additional gram from protein-dense food starts decreasing, which is where supplementation can be helpful. Rejuvenate is in a completely new category of supplements for muscle health – it takes all the guess work out of knowing what amino acids you need to build muscle, so that you aren’t eating protein blind. Nobody looks at the amino acid profile of your meal. That’s unrealistic. With Rejuvenate, you get all the essential amino acids needed to build muscle mass, it’s easy to take – mix a packet of powder with water and take daily (https://www.rejuvenatemuscle.com/).
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO BUILD AND MAINTAIN MUSCLE IN THE GYM?
While aerobic exercise has long been prescribed to burn fat, current studies consistently demonstrate that resistance training builds the cellular health of muscle and leads to bigger reductions in body fat. In fact, research suggests that muscle tissue accounts for approximately 20 percent of total daily caloric expenditure. Studies show the majority of people who exercise focus on cardio, not resistance training. This approach uses half or less of your muscle cells and causes atrophy over time and triggers the downward spiral of frailty and poor health. So, make sure to do exercises like lunges, squats, presses and rows to tap into multiple muscle groups at one time during resistance training.
DO YOU HAVE TO FEEL MUSCLE SORENESS IN ORDER FOR STRENGTH TRAINING TO WORK?
No. Soreness is not necessarily an indicator of any benefits. If anything, soreness means the muscle fibers were torn and now need to be rebuilt.
HOW FREQUENTLY DO YOU HAVE TO BE IN THE GYM?
Current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least two days per week of strength training. To be safe, double that recommendation and incorporate compound movements in your routine, such as lunges, squats, presses and rows to tap into multiple muscle groups at one time during resistance training.
WILL TAKING VITAMINS HELP WITH MUSCLE HEALTH? IF SO, WHAT TYPE OF VITAMINS SHOULD WE TAKE?
Up until now there hasn’t been anything out there that can boost muscle mass other than exercise, which most people don’t do. Studies have shown, that even if don’t work out or go to the gym, essential amino acids in Rejuvenate can help support your muscle health. In research done on people on bed rest, doing no exercise, they were able to boost muscle mass by taking Rejuvenate. If you are traveling or missing getting to the gym because life just gets in the way, you won’t be starting from ground zero with your muscle health if you are taking Rejuvenate every day (https://www.rejuvenatemuscle.com/).
WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE?
David Foreman RPh, is a pharmacist, author and media personality known to consumers nationwide as, “The Herbal Pharmacist.” Well versed on the healing powers of herbs, vitamins and other natural supplements and how they interact with pharmaceutical drugs, Foreman’s career as a registered pharmacist gives him the foundation to now impart his expertise in physiology, pharmacology and integrative medicine to educate consumers on cutting edge approaches to natural health and healing.
Foreman is a graduate of the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, currently serves on Organic & Natural Health Association’s Scientific Advisory Board and is the author of “4 Pillars of Health: Heart Disease.”