Sarcopenia, the muscle loss that accompanies the aging process, is perhaps the most serious threat to your health and longevity. Maintaining homeostasis is the most important aspect of antiaging. Let me show you why.
Sarcopenia and Age Related Muscle Loss
As we age, the natural tendency even with proper nutrition and exercise is to lose muscle over time. If this did not happen, our life spans would be far longer than the present average. Maintaining homeostasis is literally a matter of life and death.
Have I got your attention? Think about what I just said, and let it sink in to your mind. I know what you are thinking. “Can it be THAT easy?” “Is it just a matter of keeping your muscle mass and you can live well past the current average?”
Well, not exactly, but it IS the single most important factor in living a longer and healthier (not to mention happier) life! Thus sarcopenia, which is a term for age related muscle loss is the number one enemy that threatens your antiaging and longevity efforts.
Muscle loss can cause a host of problems as you age from osteoporosis to problems with managing blood sugar. This is not to mention the loss of mobility and strength to do everyday tasks and enjoy physical activities like walking, sporting activities, dancing, ect.
The Importance of Maintaining Homesostasis
Homeostasis, is simply the balance of between the catabolic (tearing down) and anabolic (building up) aspects of your metabolism. When these metabolic forces are in balance homeostasis is maintained, and muscle loss can be prevented.
When the catabolic processes of your metabolism get the upper hand so to speak, your body begins breaking down. Osteopenia, which is followed by osteoporosis, is an example of this process. When the process involves your muscles it is called sarcopenia.
Ok, so you will want to prevent muscle loss and the loss of health and eventually life that goes along with it. Let me briefly explain why it happens and what you can do about it. Be warned however, because you are going to have to start thinking “out of the box!”
Causes of Age Related Muscle Loss
Here is a short list of things which negatively affect your lean muscle mass:
There are more factors, I could list, but I want to focus on what is related to normal aging and thus can be prevented or at least partially reversed. The risk factors in the above list will link to my other pages with more information on each topic.
As you age various aspects of your body chemistry and physiology begin to change in a negative way. Inflammation increases, levels of anabolic hormones decline, nerve health declines, and in general your body does not function as well.
All of this has a very negative effect on your muscle mass and strength, which in turn limits your ability to exercise and be physically active. This vicious cycle of declining ability leads to sarcopenia. It is why you MUST take steps to prevent it.
The Hormone Connection
If you have been reading through the other pages in my site, you know by now that I have a strong belief in maintaining a healthy hormonal profile all throughout your life. This is the key to preventing sarcopenia and the muscle loss that it causes.
Remember that all three elements that are necessary to prevent muscle loss; eating, exercise, and sufficiently high hormone levels are interrelated. Eating and exercise affect your hormonal system and vice versa.
A good hormonal profile is vital in maintaining homeostasis, which again is the favorable balance between the catabolic (breaking down) and anabolic (building up) aspects of your metabolism.
You will need to focus on building and maintaining muscle, and on the hormonal enhancement therapies that will allow you to more effectively build muscle. Many people associate this with performance enhancement that athletes do, however this is about preventing or reversing sarcopenia.
An antiaging doctor can assess your hormonal status and recommend strategies to optimize your levels safely and effectively. Therapies like Biosignature modulation and bioidentical hormone therapy together with proper exercise and eating can be used to help prevent much of the age related muscle loss that occurs.
Eating, Exercise, and Stress Management to Prevent Sarcopenia
Eating to maintain muscle requires both sufficient calories to equal your daily energy expenditure as well as:
to supply your muscles with what they need.
Blood type and metabolic type should also be taken into consideration, because each individual reacts differently to various types of foods. It is very important that the foods you eat allow you to maintain a stable blood sugar level.
This is critical because significant drops in blood sugar due to a glycemic response to a food can trigger a rise in cortisol. Remember that cortisol breaks down muscle so you will want to keep cortisol levels under control as much as possible to avoid sarcopenia.
Eating a low glycemic diet will help in this regard, as the foods you will be eating will not raise blood sugar very rapidly, and you will avoid the roller coaster effect on your blood sugar levels that can cause muscle loss.
Certain nutritional supplements such as vitamin-d , acetyl-l-carnitine, the amino acid glutamine, fish oil, and creatine can have positive benefits for preventing muscle loss and maintaining homeostasis.
Protein supplements can also be of value in preventing muscle loss, however, you should start with a sound diet and add supplements as needed.
Stress can also raise cortisol and set the stage for sarcopenia to occur. The stress reduction techniques mentioned on this site are a good starting point for managing stress. In particular the Doyletic speed trace is particularly valuable for this purpose.
The best exercise for preventing sarcopenia is strength training, which is also called resistance or weight training. This is because it taxes your muscles in an intense manner and forces them to get stronger and larger over time.
Strength training also causes increases in levels of growth hormone and testosterone, which are also beneficial in terms of preventing sarcopenia.
Long duration cardio exercise is not recommended as it can actually contribute to muscle loss if overdone.
This anabolic response to resistance exercise is an important component in maintaining homeostasis, which will ensure continued health and longevity.
To Sum Up…
Here are the four main points to remember in regards to preventing or reversing muscle loss.
There you have it. Four basic steps to prevent the ravages of sarcopenia by maintaining homeostasis and combating age related muscle loss. Work these principles into your daily routine and lifestyle, and a long and enjoyable life will be your reward!