Sarcopenia which is also popularly termed as ‘vanishing flesh or muscle loss’ is a chronic medical condition that leads to loss of the skeletal muscles. Though people undergo such muscle loss disease with gradual aging of their body, even fitness freaks experience the medical condition. Some of the most probable causes of Sarcopenia are severe dehydration, intake of every low-calorie diet or Micro-nutrient deficiency and overtraining without adequate recovery.
Sarcopenia involves an intricate web of cellular and skeletal muscle degeneration that can cause frailty, loss of balance and decreased physical health in the aging body. The chronic condition affects both men and women, can be defined as the age-related loss of muscle mass and function. It usually begins after the age of 40 and as much as 3% to 5% of muscle mass can be lost per year. Loss of muscle mass leads to loss of strength, mobility, power production, and balance, which will influence your quality of life
Causes of Sarcopenia:
Here are some of the major contributors of Sarcopenia:
- Staying inactive- The major cause is inactivity, but it is not the only one. It does, however, have an effect on the other causes. In general, people become less and less active as they grow older. One of the reasons, of course, is that they are losing muscle and strength, and find it difficult to exercise.
- Aging- Your motor neurons decrease naturally with age. They are responsible for the movement of your muscles.
- Decreasing hormonal levels- Your hormone levels decrease. We all know that a large number of hormones are at work in our body. They play a critical role in relation to your muscles and we couldn’t do without them. Yet, as we age, they decrease.
- Protein synthesis rate decreases- Protein plays an important role in our body, particularly in relation to muscle. But again, as we age, its production gradually decreases.
Ways to fight Sarcopenia:
- A healthy fitness regime helps in preserving muscle mass and strength and thus exercise remains the single most important factor in preventing Sarcopenia.
- Resistance and strength training preserve muscle mass by forcing the body to heal the damage sustained to muscle cells during exercise.
- Exercising is pivotal to maintaining the integrity and function of cellular activity within the musculoskeletal system and maintaining physical strength.
- Some of the core exercises that can help you fight Sarcopenia are bench press, squats, rowing movements, and deadlifts. These workouts enhance bone and muscle density and are among the most beneficial exercises for men.
- Though women have typically less muscle mass as compared to men, they also need to get indulged in a healthy exercising regimen. It can include aerobics, low impact movements like swimming and light resistance training, as these workouts help in preserving bone density in women.
- The benefits of a healthy, balanced diet have long been advocated by health experts and are arguably the most influential factor to human health.
- A high protein diet, consisting of lean meats, oily fish, whole grain products, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and nuts contributes to healthy bone and muscular density.
- Oily fish are high in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which, in addition to improving mood and cognitive function, also promotes cardiovascular health. Salmon, in particular, is high in protein, which contributes to muscle preservation, and vitamin D, essential to bone health and density.
- Health experts also advise intake of colorful fruits as they maximize exposure to the nutrients and minerals in fruits of different pigments.
- It is best to avoid fruits that are high in fructose (fruit sugar) content, which can elevate blood sugar levels.
- Foods with high GI are quickly absorbed into the blood stream and can lead to hypoglycemia and diabetes.
- Fat and high-sugar foods contribute to excessive body weight and, when combined with a sedentary lifestyle can lead to Sarcopenia, and reduced health.
Say NO to alcohol consumption and smoking:
- Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and drug use also contribute to Sarcopenia, lowered quality of life and shorter life span and are best avoided.
- Strength training is an exercise that uses resistance – to strengthen and condition the muscular system.
- Strength training improves the condition of your muscles and bones and they are continually forced to renew themselves. It aids in sweeping out old, degenerated cells and rebuilding new tissue that is younger, stronger, and healthier.
- The hormonal levels in the body play a crucial role upon the muscle mass.
- Deficiency of certain hormones like testosterone and growth hormone can often lead to Sarcopenia. Moreover, there are certain natural ways to balance the hormone levels and overcome the condition of unwanted muscle loss.
- For women, menopause is one such crucial phase of life that is linked to decreased levels of a hormone called Estradiol.
- It leads to impaired muscle performance, as the ovarian hormone production is decreased eventually.
- But this kind of problem can be easily treated with requisite supplementation.
- Researchers conclude the fact that low levels of Vitamin D in blood is often linked to lower muscle strength and the Vitamin D deficiency leads to Sarcopenia.
- Regular intake of Vitamin D supplements can help the afflicted people to overcome the unwanted muscle loss and improve their muscle functioning.
Intake of anti-inflammatory foods:
- Chronic inflammation has been one of the major contributors of Sarcopenia.
- To overcome the disastrous outcomes, one should try consuming anti-inflammatory diet and anti-inflammatory foods.
- Rather than eating processed and spicy foods, one should prefer intake of anti-inflammatory foods like pineapple, salmon, walnuts, green leafy vegetables, and blueberries.
To fight Sarcopenia, afflicted people are high benefited from workouts like strength building and weight-bearing exercises and intake of well-balanced diet.