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July Newsletter: sarcopenia and nutrition.

The previous two newsletters looked at the effect of aging on skeletal muscles, sarcopenia and resistance training. Another key recommendation for the prevention or delayed progression of sarcopenia is adequate nutrition, in particular protein intake for Older Adults.


Nutrition and aging muscle

Protein

Protein is essential for muscle repair, growth, recovery and for cell formation. All the cells in the body are made up of protein​. Insufficient protein can compromise immune function and delay recovery from illness​. Sufficient dietary amino acid intake (the building blocks that make up protein) as we age optimizes the anabolic stimulus that otherwise would decline with age, this increases protein synthesis​. Adequate protein intake is necessary for muscle strength and size maintenance and growth, metabolic control and body fat mass control​ (Ministry of Health, 2013; Bauer et al., 2013; Baum, Kim and Wolfe, 2016).


Older adults have higher protein intake requirements to attenuate sarcopenia and maintain health. Unfortunately, many older adults do not have adequate protein intake or maybe aren’t aware of the importance of it.


To increase the anabolic protein synthesis which reduces with age, a higher dose of 1.2g protein/kg bodyweight split into 20/30g servings of protein per meal may be recommended (Borg et al, 2015; Bauer et al, 2013). Timing of protein intake may be very important for older adults also; recommendations include ~30g protein per meal throughout the day and ~40g protein before bed.



Research also indicates adequate intake of carbohydrates (for fuel and insulin response to aid muscle protein synthesis), leucine (an essential amino acid needed from food), Vitamin B12 and omega 3 (may increase muscle protein synthesis and prevent muscle loss during hospitalisation) are necessary (Joanisse et al, 2021; Abbott nutrition health institute, 2020; Abdulla et al, 2015; Calder & Nunes, 2019).


For individual nutrition advise always go to a registered dietitian! The Irish nutrition and dietetics institute website has a helpful ‘find a dietitian’ section.


Happy to help!

We have >20 years’ experience delivering strength training and exercise for Older Adults! Check out our website for information on 1-1 and group fitness interventions www.fitforlife.ie/. And, don’t hesitate to contact one of our exercise and rehabilitation specialists or physiotherapists at info@fitforlife.ie or 01-2137915 if you have any questions!


Patricia O'Donnell GSR CAT BSc MSc

Fit For Life Ltd. 2022


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