Switch on your muscle-building, anti-aging amplifier

If you’ve ever wondered why some people age more gracefully than others, and keep their strength and energy while some don’t, it could be that they have a muscle secret. Some folks are able to turn on an anti-aging protein that protects the body against the frailty of old age.

This secret switch has long been known to some of the alternative medical practitioners and exercise physiologists, but mainstream researchers are only now catching on.

The secret resides in a compound in the body called AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase). When you exercise intensely, you turn on your body’s AMPK supply. And HIIT–High Intensity Interval Training is a great way to do it. Here’s why you’d want to…

AMPK plays a central role in keeping your muscles from wasting away as you grow older. When the levels of AMPK drop, your muscle mass also drops. Keep your AMPK levels higher, and old age is less of a struggle … and more of a triumph.

AMPK can also make you more muscular and less pudgy. One of its primary roles in the body is to act as a kind of fuel-gauge, regulating the flow of sugar and fat into mitochondria (energy-producing structures in cells) to power exercise and other activities.

When you engage in strenuous exercise for about one to two minutes at a time, you activate your AMPK. That kind of workout dips into the body’s supply of glycogen (starch) that your muscle keep on tap to create energy. But the intense exercise leads to the release of AMPK which then encourages muscles to avoid completely depleting glycogen and to take glucose out of the blood to replenish its energy stores.

Another effect of AMPK: It stimulates the use of fatty acids for energy. That results in making the muscles more insulin sensitive and reinforces the strength of muscle tissue instead of the creation of extra body fat.

All of those processes lead to healthier aging, so turning on AMPK is almost an essential to having healthy strong muscles as you age.

As an added anti-aging bonus: Research at the Beijing University of Technology shows that when you take the supplement curcumin (from turmeric), this supplement’s anti-cancer potential is amplified when your body has a bigger supply of AMPK.

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Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.