Sarcopenia has been highly linked with the aging process. This condition is marked by the progressive loss of muscle mass and strength. The topic entitled, “Is Sarcopenia Reversible?” has subsequently provoked the need to analyze the possibility of reversing the condition through applicable interventions.
Delving into possible methods in this regard will be considered with the hope of delaying the loss of muscle mass and strength.
Sarcopenia – Symptoms And Causes
As it has been understood, sarcopenia is the age-related weakening of muscle mass and strength occurring progressively. Mainly characterized by muscle weakness, this happens to be the only predominant symptom affecting movement and mobility in the older population. It is interesting to state here that the aging process and the muscle weakness that accompanies it, happen in a step-by-step way.
With muscle weakness occurring as the primary symptom, this affects movement, leading to inactivity for fear of falling due to the weakness experienced. It is this inactivity that finally results in muscle atrophy.
Considerable inactivity and unhealthy eating habits have been identified as the primary causes of sarcopenia. Nevertheless, inactivity can be mostly attributed to muscle weakness and the fear of falls as specified earlier.
Since the age-related processes giving rise to sarcopenia and resultant muscle atrophy can be so painful to bear, the good news is that this muscle strength-affecting condition can be indeed reversed. However, this may require specific criteria to be taken care of.
Methods To Reverse Sarcopenia
Since sarcopenia occurs as a natural aging process, the muscle loss resulting from the same is enough to cripple the elderly throughout the rest of their lives.
Owing to these reasons, it would be worth reiterating here that though most cases of sarcopenia occur as a natural consequence of aging, there are some, which can be successfully reversed/prevented.
Ways to reverse sarcopenia are largely meant to improve the quality of life for older people, and this can be indeed facilitated by following a healthy diet and a reasonable exercise program.
- Diet Plans for Reversing Sarcopenia
Sarcopenia can be effectively prevented by appropriate dietary interventions. These include a proper combination of the essential nutrients that would be enough to manage and prevent this condition. When talking of nutrients in particular, these essentially include macro and micronutrients, such as proteins, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Proteins: Proteins taken in a dietary form are critical to re-building muscle mass and strength in the elderly. Ingesting 7.8 grams of protein is enough to halt the continuous loss of muscle strength. Besides, more than adequate dietary protein consumption has a direct and positive impact on muscle tissue, attaining growth and strength as a result.
Vitamin D: With vitamin D synthesis accounting as the primary natural source of this micronutrient, it has come to view that fortified milk will effectively improve muscle strength. While people aged between 1 and 70 should ingest 15 mcg of vitamin D, those above 70 should intake 20 mcg daily. Regular dietary reference intake of vitamin D should be increased to guarantee muscle strength and muscle mass.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are the third in the list of essential nutrients to assist in muscle growth and strength. A study conducted on older men and women consuming 2 g of omega-3-containing fish oil supplements as well as including these nutrients in dietary form has revealed improved muscle strength. Well notable here is the fact that the subjects combined dietary intake with resistance-training exercises to get the desired result.
- Exercises to Reverse Sarcopenia
Exercise programs depend on one’s abilities and condition. However, those diagnosed with early sarcopenia can consider doing resistance training, such as:
- Push-ups on counter
- Push-ups on a seated chair
- Squats (chair touch)
- Standing shoulder rows with anchored resistance.
Sarcopenia, for its specifications, could be considered a highly debilitating condition because of the muscle loss resulting from the same. The speed of decline of muscle tissue has been understood to be highly visible when one reaches 50 years.
Understanding that sarcopenia is the key cause of frailty, it would be appropriate to reverse it with proper diet and exercise programs. While dietary intake includes proteins, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids, exercise programs largely entail doing resistance training, such as push-ups, sit-ups, and step-ups.
Cleveland Clinic (2023) Sarcopenia. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23167-sarcopenia#:~:text=Sarcopenia%20is%20the%20age%2Drelated,can%20contribute%20to%20the%20disease. (Accessed: 12 September 2023).
The Iowa Clinic (2018) How to Combat Sarcopenia and Stay Healthy as You Age? Available at: https://www.iowaclinic.com/physical-therapy/how-to-combat-sarcopenia/ (Accessed: 12 September 2023).
Uchitomi, R., Oyabu, M., and Kamei, Y. (2020) Vitamin D and Sarcopenia: Potential of Vitamin D Supplementation in Sarcopenia Prevention and Treatment. Nutrients, 12(10), p.3189.
Y.H.G. (2022) Sarcopenia reversible by diet. Available at: https://www.oatext.com/sarcopenia-reversible-by-diet.php#:~:text=A%20healthy%20diet%20and%20reasonable,and%20improve%20quality%20of%20life. (Accessed: 12 September 2023).