muscle loss

  1. Muscle loss in seniors prevented with protein

    Build muscle without lifting weights

    It's that time of year... and I DON'T mean Christmas.

    We're in the Season of the Gym Ads, when the fitness industry tries to capitalize on everyone's promises to "work off" their holiday meals.

    But you won't find the REAL key to keeping fit in sweating on any gym equipment.

    It's on your dinner plate!

    New research shows why so many folks rapidly lose muscle as they get older -- even the ones who get plenty of exercise.

    They're missing out on protein!

    But if you get what you need, you can keep your strength.

    Opening doors won't be a struggle... and even a jar of sauce will be no match for your youthful vigor.

    Miss out, and your muscle will practically melt away, turning you feeble and weak and dependent on others.

    So... how do you know if you're missing out?

    Easy: You probably are.

    If you're following government guidelines, you're falling far short of what you need, and you're almost guaranteed to lose muscle and strength, even if you have an otherwise healthy diet and get plenty of exercise.

    A study I shared with you over the summer found that the one-size-fits-all guidelines cranked out by the feds don't really "fit all"... and they're especially bad for seniors.

    Now, the new study put those guidelines to the test in a clinical trial in which senior men were given carefully made meals for 10 weeks.

    Some got the levels of protein backed by both the World Health Organization and the United States government, or 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. The rest got double those levels.

    In just 10 weeks, there were major differences between the two groups.

    The ones who got the picture-perfect levels of protein were losing muscle like it was going out of style -- and, as a result, had less muscle overall and less strength to go along with it.

    The guys who got the higher levels of protein didn't get any new muscle.

    But more importantly, they didn't LOSE any, either.

    They were able to keep their strength, which means a better shot at healthy aging and a lower risk of turning frail and weak.

    While the study focused on men, the research team behind it expects women would see similar results.

    Of course, while more protein is clearly important, be careful where you get it from. Ounce for ounce, a cheeseburger TECHNICALLY has more protein than grilled salmon... but we all know which one's better for you, right?

    Stick to the good stuff -- especially fish, poultry, and vegetable sources of protein -- and limit your red meat to smaller portions of leaner cuts.

  2. The hormone deficiency that's robbing you of muscle

    There's no doubt about it: We all lose a little something off our muscle as we age, and all the training and exercise in the world can't stop it.

    But there's a difference between "losing a little" and "losing a lot" -- and today, far too many seniors are losing WAY too much.

    It's hurting and even killing them. But for men, at least, there may be an easy answer for slowing and reversing the muscle loss that comes with age -- and it's that same hormone that makes you a man in the first place.

    It's testosterone -- and the latest research on 1,200 seniors who were tracked for nearly five years finds that those with the highest levels of it keep the most of their muscle, especially the critical muscle in the arms and legs.

    And those who have the lowest levels, on the other hand, lose more muscle and have more difficulty with basic leg function and simple exercises and even trouble getting up from a chair.

    This shouldn't be too surprising, since the links between the hormone and muscle mass are pretty well known. Bodybuilders have been boosting their testosterone levels for years to help transform themselves into walking mountains of muscle.

    But for seniors, this isn't just some exercise in vanity -- and it's not even about the frustration of, say, losing the ability to open a jar of spaghetti sauce.

    It's a life-or-death issue, because seniors with low muscle mass have an increased risk of falls and other injuries. Reach a certain age, and any fall can lead to long-term hospitalization, permanent institutionalization and even death.

    If you're past middle age -- and certainly, if you're a senior -- odds are the needle on your testosterone tank is swinging towards the "E." A naturopathic physician can top your tank off the right way, but he can't do anything at all if you don't ask.

    In other words, don't be shy on this one.

  3. Why muscle loss can be deadly

    Since there's no drug to treat sarcopenia, odds are you haven't heard much about it.

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