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Aging is often an unpleasant process, for reasons large and small, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for the effects of age as they build up over the years. For instance, one of the most widespread symptoms of old age – a loss of strength and muscle mass – is also one of the simplest to treat; in some cases, an individual may even be able to reverse the effects of this condition, which is known as sarcopenia. To do so, however, you’ll need to take a thoughtful approach and adjust a few lifestyle factors that could be contributing to your loss of muscle tissue. To hear more about how to reverse sarcopenia with some simple home remedies, keep reading as the experts at ENU, makers of protein shakes for older adults, dive into this important topic.
How Does Sarcopenia Work?
No matter their age, anyone is prone to lose muscle mass when the circumstances are right. Sometimes the cause is a serious illness; other times, a sedentary lifestyle devoid of exercise causes muscle mass to slowly disappear – call it the “use it or lose it” factor. As people grow older, however, their bodies undergo changes that, among other things, can hinder the creation of new muscle tissue and cause a person’s existing muscles to disappear at a faster rate. This is the condition called sarcopenia, and it affects almost 50% of older adults in the U.S.
Starting at age 30, a person begins to lose muscle mass at an average rate of half a pound per year, culminating in 15 pounds of lost muscle mass by age 60. At that point, the rate speeds up; by age 70, a person can find themselves losing more than 1% of their total lean muscle mass per year, or as much as 15% per decade. Predictably, this loss of muscles leads to a reduction in a person’s physical strength, affecting their balance, mobility, and sense of independence while also putting them at greater risk for a fall.
Considering these widespread effects and their impact on an older adult’s quality of life, it’s no wonder why people want to know how to reverse sarcopenia. Below, we’ll look at some of the steps you can take to slow, stop, or even turn back the symptoms of this ailment and gain more independence in your everyday life.
Ways You Can Reverse Sarcopenia
To date, there is not yet a specific medication aimed at treating sarcopenia. While some research suggests that supplementing with testosterone or human growth hormone may help to restore lost muscle mass, these treatments can also come with some significant side effects, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not cleared them for use in those with sarcopenia. Luckily, there are some safe, effective, and accessible ways to reverse sarcopenia, and they won’t cause any side effects, either; the two main methods of sarcopenia treatment today are resistance exercise and a protein-rich diet.
Although it goes by a number of different names, such as strength training or progressive resistance training, the bottom line is that using resistance to exercise – whether in the form of body weight, gym equipment, or something else – is one of the best ways to build muscle. Experts recommend that seniors dealing with sarcopenia work all the major muscle groups of the body and exercise at least twice a week, which will not only preserve your existing muscle mass but can also help reverse sarcopenia and cause the creation of new muscle fibers.
It should also be noted, however, that your routine should first be cleared with your doctor, and it may also be wise to consult a qualified personal trainer who can help you identify the safest, most effective exercises for reversing sarcopenia in your case.
There’s a reason why bodybuilders and professional athletes drink protein shakes after each workout: Protein is the key macronutrient for building new muscles, and it also has the power to prevent your existing muscle mass from wasting away. Unfortunately, studies show that many older adults don’t get enough protein in their diet, which can contribute to the onset of sarcopenia. A good rule of thumb is to aim for at least half a gram of protein per pound of body weight each day; consider fish, poultry, and dairy products as possible sources of protein to incorporate into your diet.
Also, it’s worth exploring whether meal replacement shakes would be a helpful addition to your new protein-rich diet. Whether because of a diminished appetite, denture-related discomfort, changes in mood, or some other factor, seniors often have trouble eating significant amounts of solid food in one sitting, so turning to weight gain shakes with lots of protein can make it easier to hit your daily dietary goals.
Try ENU Protein Shakes to Help Reverse Sarcopenia and Regain Lost Muscle Mass
With 20 grams of protein from whey and soy – two easily digestible sources – as well as complex carbs, heart-healthy fats, and more than 20 vitamins and minerals, ENU nutritional shakes may be the perfect tool to help you reverse sarcopenia. If a shake sounds like a bit too much, ENU also offers the Pro3+ nutritional powder, which can add energy and protein to drinks or moist foods without increasing their volume. Visit ENU online today or call (855) 266-6733 to learn more about all our products and how they can help you meet your health, weight, and dietary goals.