Sarcopenia and ageing
Sarcopenia is the gradual loss of muscle mass associated with the ageing process, affecting people from their 30s and beyond. Loss of muscle mass not only makes our bodies look older but is regarded as multi factorial, affecting balance, gait, strength and the ability to perform "everyday" tasks like opening a jar.
A new systematic review by researchers at the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton evaluated 3 components of sarcopenia, muscle mass, strength and physical function.
The researchers findings include:
Although men have higher levels of muscle mass, strength and function naturally, the rate of decline is similar in both men and women.
The rate of decline is most rapid in regard to physical function followed by muscle strength, then muscle mass.
Asian populations tend to have similar declines in muscle mass to non Asians but the deterioration in strength and function is more rapid.
A sedentary lifestyle and fat levels affect all 3 components, mass, strength and physical function.
Physical activity, especially resistance training, performed at high intensity is beneficial for both strength and function.
Nutrition, particularly protein intake has the potential to slow the loss of muscle mass, although not as significant in maintaining strength and function.
Combining protein supplementation and physical activity show promising results in reducing the decline in muscle strength and function.
About MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit: MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit's mission is to promote human health using lifecourse epidemiology methods focusing on age related muscoskeletal disorders including osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, sarcopenal, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.