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Addressing Sarcopenia with a Healthy Diet

on April 8, 2024

(NewsUSA) - Age-related loss of muscle mass and strength can significantly impact the quality of life for older adults. However, recent research underscores the role of proper nutrition in preventing and managing this condition.

Starting around age 30, the body naturally loses 3 to 5% of muscle mass per decade. This natural process can escalate into a condition known as sarcopenia if muscle loss becomes severe. The effects of sarcopenia include decreased mobility, increased risk of falls, and reduced independence.

The effects of sarcopenia are particularly pronounced in women. Women naturally possess less muscle mass than men, and this disparity becomes even more noticeable with age due to menopause. As estrogen levels drop during menopause, the rate of muscle loss in women accelerates, making them more susceptible to sarcopenia.

Recent studies have highlighted the significance of specific nutrients in addressing sarcopenia. A healthy diet incorporating higher protein intake and select vitamins and minerals is consistently linked to preventing and managing sarcopenia.

Protein is essential for maintaining and building muscle mass. For older adults, higher protein intake from foods such as lean cuts of meat, seafood, and low-fat dairy can help prevent and treat sarcopenia. Whey protein, in particular, has shown promise in improving frailty and sarcopenia.

Vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, selenium, and magnesium have promising effects in preventing muscle loss. Deficiencies of these essential nutrients are common in older adults, especially women, and are associated with muscle weakness and an increased risk of falls. However, boosting one’s intake can help maintain muscle strength and function, reducing the risk of sarcopenia.

It’s important to note that the beneficial effects of a healthy diet in addressing sarcopenia are best when coupled with resistance and aerobic exercise.

"It's very important that all adults, especially women, be aware of sarcopenia and regularly discuss dietary decisions with their healthcare professional or dietician to optimize their health as they age," advises Dr. Dorothy Fink, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health.

While muscle loss is inevitable in aging, it doesn't have to lead to sarcopenia. By incorporating the proper nutrients into our diets and maintaining an active lifestyle, we can counteract the effects of this condition and continue leading strong, healthy lives.

For more information about sarcopenia and how to prevent it, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women's Health's “Stronger than Sarcopenia” campaign offers valuable resources. This initiative provides comprehensive information about sarcopenia, including its symptoms, risk factors, and prevention strategies, emphasizing the importance of strength training and proper nutrition. The “Stronger than Sarcopenia” resources are available online at

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