Sarcopenia, also known as muscle loss, is a common condition that affects 10% of adults who are over 50 years old.
While it can decrease life expectancy and quality of life, there are actions you can take to prevent and even reverse the condition.
Although some of the causes of sarcopenia are a natural consequence of aging, others are preventable. In fact, a healthy diet and regular exercise can reverse sarcopenia, increasing lifespan and quality of life.
This article explains what causes sarcopenia, and lists many ways you can fight it.
What Is Sarcopenia?
Sarcopenia literally means “lack of flesh.” It’s a condition of age-associated muscle degeneration that becomes more common in people over the age of 50.
Sarcopenia is caused by an imbalance between signals for muscle cell growth and signals for teardown. Cell growth processes are called “anabolism,” and cell teardown processes are called “catabolism” (6).
For example, growth hormones act with protein-destroying enzymes to keep muscle steady through a cycle of growth, stress or injury, destruction and then healing.
This cycle is always occurring, and when things are in balance, muscle keeps its strength over time.
Summary: Your body normally keeps signals for growth and teardown in balance. As you age, your body becomes resistant to growth signals, resulting in muscle loss.
Four Factors That Accelerate Muscle Loss
Although aging is the most common cause of sarcopenia, other factors can also trigger an imbalance between muscle anabolism and catabolism.
1. Immobility, Including a Sedentary Lifestyle
Disuse of muscle is one of the strongest triggers of sarcopenia, leading to faster muscle loss and increasing weakness (8).
Bed rest or immobilization after an injury or illness leads to rapid loss of muscle (9).
Although less dramatic, two to three weeks of decreased walking and other regular activity is also enough to decrease muscle mass and strength (9).
Periods of decreased activity can become a vicious cycle. Muscle strength decreases, resulting in greater fatigue and making it more difficult to return to normal activity.
2. Unbalanced Diet
Unfortunately, low-calorie and low-protein diets become more common with aging, due to changes in sense of taste, problems with the teeth, gums and swallowing, or increased difficulty shopping and cooking.
After injury or illness, inflammation sends signals to the body to tear down and then rebuild the damaged groups of cells.
Chronic or long-term diseases can also result in inflammation that disrupts the normal balance of teardown and healing, resulting in muscle loss.
For example, a study of patients with long-term inflammation resulting from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) also showed that patients had decreased muscle mass (11).
Examples of other diseases that cause long-term inflammation include rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, lupus, vasculitis, severe burns and chronic infections like tuberculosis.
A study of 11,249 older adults found that blood levels of C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation, strongly predicted sarcopenia (12).
4. Severe Stress
Sarcopenia is also more common in a number of other health conditions that increase stress on the body.
Summary: In addition to aging, sarcopenia is accelerated by low physical activity, insufficient calorie and protein intake, inflammation and stress.
How to Tell If You Have Sarcopenia
The signs of sarcopenia are the result of diminished muscle strength.
Early signs of sarcopenia include feeling physically weaker over time, and having more difficulty than usual lifting familiar objects (17).
A hand-grip-strength test has been used to help diagnose sarcopenia in studies, and may be used in some clinics (18).
Decreased strength might show itself in other ways too, including walking more slowly, becoming exhausted more easily and having less interest in being active (17).
However, these signs can also occur in other medical conditions. Yet if you experience one or more of these and can’t explain why, talk to a health professional.
Summary: Noticeable loss of strength or stamina and unintentional weight loss are signs of multiple diseases, including sarcopenia. If you are experiencing any of these without a good reason, talk to your doctor.
Exercise Can Reverse Sarcopenia
The strongest way to fight sarcopenia is to keep your muscles active (19).
Combinations of aerobic exercise, resistance training and balance training can prevent and even reverse muscle loss. At least two to four exercise sessions weekly may be required to achieve these benefits (20).
All types of exercise are beneficial, but some more than others.
1. Resistance Training
Resistance training includes weightlifting, pulling against resistance bands or moving part of the body against gravity.
When you perform resistance exercise, the tension on your muscle fibers results in growth signals that lead to increased strength. Resistance exercise also increases the actions of growth-promoting hormones (21, 22).
These signals combine to cause muscle cells to grow and repair themselves, both by making new proteins and by turning on special muscle stem cells called “satellite cells,” which reinforce existing muscle (22).
Thanks to this process, resistance exercise is the most direct way to increase muscle mass and prevent its loss.
A study of 57 adults aged 65–94 showed that performing resistance exercises three times per week increased muscle strength over 12 weeks.
In this study, exercises included leg presses and extending the knees against resistance on a weight machine (23).
2. Fitness Training
Sustained exercise that raises your heart rate, including aerobic exercise and endurance training, can also control sarcopenia (24).
Most studies of aerobic exercise for the treatment or prevention of sarcopenia have also included resistance and flexibility training as part of a combination exercise program.
These combinations have been consistently shown to prevent and reverse sarcopenia, although it is often unclear whether aerobic exercise without resistance training would be as beneficial (25).
One study examined the effects of aerobic exercise without resistance training in 439 women over 50 years of age.
The study found that five days per week of cycling, jogging or hiking increased muscle mass. Women started with 15 minutes of these activities per day, increasing to 45 minutes over 12 months (26).
Walking can also prevent and even reverse sarcopenia, and it’s an activity most people can do for free, anywhere they live.
A study of 227 Japanese adults over 65 years old found that six months of walking increased muscle mass, particularly in those who had low muscle mass (27).
The distance each participant walked was different, but they were encouraged to increase their total daily distance by 10% each month.
Another study of 879 adults over age 60 found that faster walkers were less likely to have sarcopenia (28).
Summary: Exercise is the most effective way to reverse sarcopenia. Resistance training is best to increase muscle mass and strength. However, combination exercise programs and walking also fight sarcopenia.
Four Nutrients That Fight Sarcopenia
If you’re deficient in calories, protein or certain vitamins and minerals, you may be at higher risk of muscle loss.
However, even if you aren’t deficient, getting higher doses of some key nutrients can promote muscle growth or enhance the benefits of exercise.
Getting protein in your diet directly signals your muscle tissue to build and strengthen.
As people age, their muscles become more resistant to this signal, so they need to consume more protein to increase muscle growth (29).
Another study found that a group of younger men only required 20 grams of protein per meal to stimulate growth (31).
A third study got seven men over the age of 65 to take daily 15-gram supplements of essential amino acids, the smaller building blocks of protein, which resulted in muscle growth (32).
2. Vitamin D
Taking vitamin D supplements can increase muscle strength and reduce the risk of falling. These benefits have not been seen in all studies, possibly because some research volunteers may have already been getting enough vitamin D (33).
The best dose of vitamin D for preventing sarcopenia is currently unclear. Taking up to 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is safe, but may not be necessary if you already get enough vitamin D from sunlight or fortified foods.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Part of this benefit may be due to the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. However, research has suggested that omega-3s might also signal muscle growth directly (29).
Creatine is a small protein normally made in the liver. Although your body makes enough to prevent you from becoming deficient, creatine in the diet from meat or as a supplement may benefit your muscle growth.
A group of several studies investigated how taking a daily 5-gram creatine supplement affected 357 adults with an average age of 64.
When participants took the creatine, they got more benefits from resistance training compared to when they performed resistance training with no creatine (37).
Creatine is probably not beneficial for sarcopenia if used alone, without exercise.
Summary: Protein, vitamin D, creatine and omega-3 fatty acids like those in fish oil can all improve muscle growth in response to exercise.
The Bottom Line
Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass and strength, becomes more common with age and can decrease lifespan and quality of life.
Eating enough calories and high-quality protein can slow down the rate of muscle loss. Omega-3 and creatine supplements may also help fight sarcopenia.
Nevertheless, exercising is the most effective way to prevent and reverse sarcopenia.
Resistance exercises appear to be particularly effective, including using resistance bands, lifting weights or doing calisthenics like squats, push-ups and sit-ups.
However, even simple exercises like walking can slow your rate of muscle loss. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to get active.
A quick note from our founder-
Over the past year, my friend Dave at PaleoHacks has been working on a secret cookbook with world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu chef Peter Servold.
Well, today this new this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE
That's right -- as a special launch promotion, we're offering our brand new Paleo fat loss cookbook to you for free (Chef Pete lost 60 lbs using these recipes!) -- All you have to do is just cover a small shipping cost (international shipping is a bit more).
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because we only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
Help us create more awareness! Please SHARE this article...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.
This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
P.S. Make sure you check out the next page to get to know the 10 simple moves that will bring vitality back into your life!
To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
However I promise what you'll discover today will be completely worth it.
Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
...suffocating tissue, restricting blood flow, damaging joints and infecting your healthy cells.
Shockingly, that nightmare is a reality for most:
64% of women and 74% of men carry too much body fat according to the National Institutes of Health.
It's choking their organs, assaulting their metabolism and sucking their energy dry.
But here's the worst part:
For most, this bodyfat has become "calorie-resistant":
It's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
This zombie fat is essentially... "dead tissue".
That's important for those who have 10, 25 or 50 or more pounds to lose...
AND for those who aren't technically overweight, but have what's called "pocket obesity"...
...unsightly patches of fat that cling to specific places, like:
just above your hips, lower belly, where your butt and legs meet... and even arms, neck and face.
However, there's good news:
Obesity researchers have now discovered a "metabolic jumper cable":
It jolts dead bodyfat back to life.
This allows your metabolism to burn it as calories and re-energize your entire body.
First though, here's the #1 reason why bodyfat becomes calorie-resistant:
It lacks blood flow. This has 3 effects:
- Not enough oxygen or nutrients reach fat cells, so they become unresponsive..
- Released fat can't be sent to other tissues to be burned, so fat cells suck it back in...
- 3) Metabolic hormones carrying the "burn calories" message don't reach the fat cell...
All this means one thing:
Your body can't transform into energy, the 135,000+ of calories the average person stores as fat!
You become a metabolic zombie: NO energy to think. NO energy to move. NO energy to motivate.
Update: calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
The discovery of this "metabolic jumper cable" can now reverse this process:
- It wakes up un-responsive bodyfat with a powerful calorie-burning hormonal jolt....
- It pops open fat cells, sucks out the fat, sending it off before its yanked back in...
- It shuttles fat to your brain, heart, lungs, kidneys - even your bones - to be burned as energy.
Not only do those layers of "zombie fat" start coming off, but your entire body just works better.
Plus, as your whole body burns more calories, those patches of pocket obesity whittle away.
This "metabolic jumper cable" isn't any exercise, machine or pill.
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive.
It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know.
And on this next page, you'll find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
PS - Studies show that not only can healthy levels of this powerful calorie-burning hormone devour bodyfat and fortify soft muscle, but it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!
--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)
If you haven't heard of Claude Davis yet do yourself a huge favor and watch this video. He's going to be the talk of 2016.
One of the smartest guys I ever had the pleasure of meeting, Claude set-up a unique system that changed his life forever.
I already tried it myself and let me tell... you I was completely blown away... His surprising tactics could make your life easier and give you the peace of mind you deserve.
Don't just take my word for it... watch his short video and decide for yourself.
Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
Secret #1: Enjoy real food. Don’t fall for the lie that you have to deprive yourself to lose weight.
Secret #2: stop eating out. You will automatically eat less without even noticing.
Then start detoxing your body with tasty, nourishing smoothies that are just as easy on your wallet as they are easy to make.
Because a single day of enjoying Liz’ smoothies demonstrated the radical power of her superfood-packed red smoothies to make me feel incredibly good.
Now prepare yourself for one of the biggest weight loss secrets there is. A secret that, when you use it properly, can transform your body and your health.
You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
Here’s how it works.
“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”
Liz paused, then dropped the bombshell.
Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.
“What? I thought we were designed to store fat?!?” We were Skyping and I was practically shouting. Then I heard Liz say…
What good is a fat reserve if you can’t burn it?
Liz continued: “You’re drinking smoothies packed with phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that pull toxins out of you like a tractor beam. Allowing your body to burn those toxin-filled fat stores… and releasing tremendous amounts of stored energy.”
So that’s why I’m losing weight without going hungry.
Watch Liz’ free presentation. It’s packed with revolutionary weight loss information—information that works. Because it’s based on how nature.
Click the button only if you want to wear smaller clothes, breathe easier, move more freely and just plain feel better.
- Which calories help you lose weight…and which ones help you gain it…
- The “diet” foods…some of them vegetables…that lead to weight gain and diabetes…
- The “low-fat” foods that can dramatically increase your risk of cancer.
- And the superfoods that rescue your body from this assault by detoxing you…
Revitalizing your metabolism so you can Shed pounds as well as toxins, renew your body and reset your internal clock by up to 7 years.
Because until now, the Red Smoothie Detox Factor has been available only to Liz’ private clients. But now that she’s perfected it to work for almost everyone, almost every time, Liz is sharing it with rest of us so we can feel better and look better.
Get Red Smoothie Detox Factor before the price goes back up.
Because Liz offers a ridiculously good guarantee. You have 60 days to decide you love the Red Smoothie Detox Factor. If you don’t love it—for any reason, or even no reason at all —Liz will refund your money. 100%. No questions asked.
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.