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Did you know that there’s an actual term for the weaker, punier feeling muscles that far too many of us end up suffering as we age?
It’s called sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia is a loss of muscle mass that according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) begins around the age of 40 and kicks into high gear when you reach your 60s and 70s.
And while some may say that it’s just a normal part of aging, I don’t think there’s anything normal about becoming frail, worrying about being able to open a jar of pickles or even standing up on your own — not to mention falling.
Luckily, thanks to research from the University of Ottawa, a common ingredient in skin anti-aging formulations may be able to help keep muscles firm and strong as well in the face of sarcopenia…
The alarm clock for muscle stem cells
Those Ottawa researchers found the secret by taking a look at damaged muscle, discovering that when damage happens and muscle loss begins, stem cells must work together with immune cells to complete the repair process.
And the only way that happens is if a certain acid is present to make it all work…
It’s known as hyaluronic acid.
Yes, the very ingredient already used in cosmetics to help firm and plump the skin — as well as in injections for osteoarthritis.
The researchers explained its helpful role for your muscles…
“When muscles get damaged, it is important for immune cells to quickly enter the tissue and remove the damage before stem cells begin repair,” said Dr. Jeffrey Dilworth, senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and professor at the University of Ottawa and senior author on the study. “Our study shows that muscle stem cells are primed to start repair right away, but the immune cells maintain the stem cells in a resting state while they finish the cleanup job. After about 40 hours, once the cleanup job is finished, an internal alarm goes off in the muscle stem cells that allows them to wake up and start repair.”
And the key ingredient in that repair process is hyaluronic acid.
“Interestingly, aging is associated with chronic inflammation, muscle weakness and a reduced ability of muscle stem cells to wake up and repair damage,” said lead author Dr. Kiran Nakka. “If we could find a way to enhance hyaluronic acid production in the muscle stem cells of older people it might help with muscle repair.”
The future of your muscles
This means that, eventually, sarcopenia could be a thing of the past thanks to hyaluronic acid.
But in the meantime, why wait? Suffering the abnormal ravages of sarcopenia is for the birds.
Especially when some readily available nutrients have been proven the help…
Let’s start with resveratrol…
Harvard researchers have studied the antioxidant for its power to help astronauts maintain strong muscles in the face of long missions in zero gravity. In their experiments, rats who received resveratrol maintained more muscle mass and lost less muscle fiber.
Another study at Georgetown University also found resveratrol has major restorative powers for your muscles.
Next up is an omega-3 supplement…
In fact, several studies give this important nutrient major credibility for helping fight age-related muscle loss…
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that older women who do resistance training and take omega-3 supplements more than doubled the amount of strength gained from exercise. Women who took the supplement were 34 percent stronger after 18 weeks, while women who didn’t take the supplement were only 16 percent stronger.
A 2015 study showed that taking a fish oil supplement slowed the loss of muscle mass and function in older men and women. And a 2011 study showed that omega-3s enhanced muscle protein synthesis (the bodily process that helps muscles grow) in older men and women.
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Sarcopenia: What you need to know – MedicalNewsToday