Prevent Muscle Loss: Age Gracefully

By Harry Preuss, MD, MACN, CNS.

It is generally accepted that around age 40, the average individual gains roughly ten pounds of weight each decade, mostly from fat. Overshadowed by this weight increase via fat accumulation is a significant loss of muscle mass. Significant muscle loss is referred to in medical terminology as “sarcopenia.” Unfortunately, sarcopenia frequently goes unrecognized — usually because the loss of muscle is hidden by the presence of weight gain through fat buildup. Weight-conscious individuals must be cognizant of the fact in any good diet program, maintaining muscle mass is as important as losing fat for good health.

Suffice it to say, the time is ripe to stress the need to maintain and even increase muscle mass concurrent with the reduction in fat mass. Many dieters lose as much or even more muscle than fat and think they are making great health strides. In fact, the loss of muscle mass can cause serious functional and metabolic outcomes that ultimately negatively affect the quality of life. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of needing assisted living in the elderly population.

Healthy people of all ages can participate in diet and exercise programs that can help them avoid this severe condition. The age-related changes in muscles that lead to serious metabolic and functional consequences are treatable and often preventable through resistance training and proper dietary programs.

While diet and exercise would accomplish the intended goals of muscle gain in the face of fat loss satisfactorily, few achieve these goals via these obvious remedies, mainly because of non-compliance. Or in other words, people continue to eat poorly and exercise too little. Individuals know what to do, but most have trouble maintaining an adequate regimen of diet and exercise. Although the availability and popularity of dietary supplements intended to help with muscle maintenance or gain has risen dramatically in recent years, their therapeutic effectiveness remains uncertain to many. In Sarcopenia: Treatment With Supplements, I discuss natural supplemental aids clinically proven to safely and effectively prevent or treat sarcopenia.

BOTTOM LINE: The prevention of sarcopenia can:

  • Lead to functional independence in activities of daily living as we age
  • Reduce the need for assisted living
  • Increase the quality of everyday life

CONCLUSIONS: If you are dieting and looking to lose weight:

  • Be conscious of whether your weight loss is coming from fat or muscle. Don’t just use a scale to measure your progress, but invest in a body fat monitor or scale as well.
  • Make exercise part of your daily routine, and make sure this includes some kind of resistance training at least twice a week – even lifting light dumbbells while you are watching TV can make a huge difference.
  • Commit to a healthy diet that is high in fiber and low in saturated fat. Stay away from high calorie foods that are largely void of nutrients such as soda and French fries.
  • Stay away from “miracle diet pills” which may help you temporarily lose weight from muscle loss – which in fact is doing you no good. There are several, clinically proven natural ingredients that safely promote weight loss. Specifically look for products that contain chromium and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which help you lost weight from fat, not muscle.

For more information, read Dr. Preuss’s highly acclaimed new book The Natural Fat-Loss Pharmacy, which identifies dozens of safe, clinically-proven weight loss helpers.

This article was originally published at; Heart MD Institute has reprinted it with written permission from Dr. Preuss. © Harry Preuss, MD. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


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