Nutrition Action Healthletter


Sept 07:

Sept 07:
Pumped-Up Poultry

Jul/Aug 07:
Organic Food

June 07:
Menu Labeling

May 07:
Brain Teasers

April 07:
Saving Muscle

Saving Muscle

"Saving Muscle" in the April 2007 issue described sarcopenia, the loss of muscle that occurs as we age. The article lists reasons why it's important that we try to maintain our muscular strength no matter how old we are and presents detailed information about how we can do that.

Links to information in article

...An estimated 45 percent of U.S. adults 65 and older suffer from age-related muscle wasting…. In a study that tracked 800 European men aged 50 to 85 for seven years, those who had lost the most muscle with age were also the most likely to suffer falls…. But with two months of resistance training, they can increase their strength by 40 percent. "In other words, they can reverse two decades of typical muscle loss and three decades of typical muscle strength deterioration in 60 days," says Hurley.

The Institute of Medicine has set the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for all adults, regardless of age, at the equivalent of 0.36 grams per pound of body weight…"About one-quarter of 2,600 men and women aged 65 to 85 years old who were studied in Maryland were consuming less than the RDA for protein," notes Wayne Campbell of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana…"And to gain muscle tissue, they needed to consume 50 percent more protein than the RDA level."

Miriam Nelson, who is the author of eight books, including Strong Women Stay Young (Bantam Books, 2000), has animated versions of these and other exercises on (click on Fitness Programs, then Vibrant Aging Overview). And her nonprofit StrongWomen program operates in 34 states.

Ten years ago, DHEA hit the jackpot after a small study at the University of California, San Diego, claimed that DHEA pills boosted muscle strength in men (though not women)….Seven more studies in four countries (Minnesota, Netherlands, Missouri, Colorado, France, Germany, and Missouri) gave about 375 healthy older men and women 50 mg to 100 mg a day of DHEA for up to two years. All came up empty…The latest study, conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester , Minnesota , gave 50 mg to 75 mg a day of DHEA to 56 men and women in their 60s and 70s.

In the latest study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic gave testosterone patches (supplying 5 mg a day) to 27 healthy men in their 60s and 70s and placebo patches to 31 similar men....An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 American adults take HGH injections—at a cost of up to some $15,000 a year…Earlier this year, researchers at Stanford University in Palo Alto , California , reviewed all of the good studies that gave HGH to healthy older adults. Their conclusion: any modest benefits aren't worth the downside...For example, 16 healthy men in their 70s who took creatine for three months while they were strength training put on more muscle and gained greater strength and endurance in their leg muscles than 14 similar men given a placebo.

Links to more information about sarcopenia and exercise

article about federal government research on sarcopenia

basic information on exercising

detailed information on exercises with illustrations

help in finding strength-training programs

scientific reviews by the American College of Sports Medicine

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