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.