Drink away the risk of age-related muscle loss

Having trouble opening a jar is more than annoying. It’s an indication of your grip strength. And the thing about grip strength is this: it’s a primary parameter of sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia is defined as age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass. The result is a gradual weakening of the body’s muscles which can accelerate the loss of muscle mass and strength.

Even worse, sarcopenia can steal your independence because it leads to frailty and can impact your mobility.

One international team of researchers decided to build on an earlier study that described novel mechanisms of sarcopenia. And according to their findings, fighting sarcopenia could be as easy as pouring yourself a morning cup of coffee…

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Trigonelline and NAD+

Levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) decrease with age, while mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells, produce less energy.

The researchers knew there was a link between mitochondrial dysfunction and low levels of NAD+ and skeletal muscle aging and sarcopenia. But what was less clear to them is whether these defects result from local changes or can be mediated by systemic or dietary means.

During the study, they discovered the natural molecule trigonelline was present in lower levels in older people with sarcopenia. Trigonelline is found naturally in the body and is also especially abundant in coffee beans and fenugreek seeds.

When they provided trigonelline to preclinical cellular and animal models, it increased NAD+ levels and mitochondrial activity and helped maintain muscle function during aging.

“Our findings expand the current understanding of NAD+ metabolism with the discovery of trigonelline as a novel NAD+ precursor and increase the potential of establishing interventions with NAD+-producing vitamins for both healthy longevity and age-associated diseases applications,” says Vincenzo Sorrentino, a professor at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine).

The researchers observe that both nutrition and physical activity are important for maintaining healthy muscles during aging.

“We were excited to discover through collaborative research that a natural molecule from food cross-talks with cellular hallmarks of aging,” says Jerome Feige, head of the physical health department at Nestlé Research. “The benefits of trigonelline on cellular metabolism and muscle health during aging opens promising translational applications.”

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Getting a daily dose of trigonelline

These results add trigonelline to the list of dietary precursors to NAD+. Others include the essential amino acid L-tryptophan as well as forms of vitamin B3.

The easiest way to boost your trigonelline levels is to make coffee a part of your daily routine if it isn’t already. Even decaffeinated coffee is a great source — containing about 72 mg of trigonelline per cup and 50 to 100 percent more chlorogenic acids (recently found to encourage bone growth and block bone loss) than regular coffee.

Coffee for bone strength plus muscle strength sounds like a win all around. But like chlorogenic acids, trigonelline is degraded in roasting, so light roasted coffee will contain the most.

Now, the one drink you want to avoid drinking much of to reduce your chances of sarcopenia is alcohol. A large study out of the U.K. found that the more alcohol you drink the less skeletal muscle you have.

Finally, remember that one of the best defenses against age-related muscle loss is exercise, especially strength training. Combining exercise with dietary sources of trigonelline is sure to supercharge your efforts to preserve your muscle mass and strength.

Editor’s note: Are you feeling unusually tired? You may think this is normal aging, but the problem could be your master hormone. When it’s not working, your risk of age-related diseases skyrockets. To reset what many call “the trigger for all disease” and live better, longer, click here to discover The Insulin Factor: How to Repair Your Body’s Master Controller and Conquer Chronic Disease!


Natural molecule found in coffee and human body increases NAD+ levels, improves muscle function during ageing — EurekAlert!

Trigonelline is an NAD+ precursor that improves muscle function during ageing and is reduced in human sarcopenia — Nature Metabolism

Acute Effects of Decaffeinated Coffee and the Major Coffee Components Chlorogenic Acid and Trigonelline on Glucose Tolerance — Diabetes Care

Carolyn Gretton

By Carolyn Gretton

Carolyn Gretton is a freelance writer based in New Haven, CT who specializes in all aspects of health and wellness and is passionate about discovering the latest health breakthroughs and sharing them with others. She has worked with a wide range of companies in the alternative health space and has written for online and print publications like Dow Jones Newswires and the Philadelphia Inquirer.