Why Muscle Matters

posted by on December 27th, 2021

Repairing metabolism is an important focus for rebuilding our core health and can improve our level of fitness in later decades of life. Through years of poor dietary choices, sedentary lifestyles or lack of targeted exercise, we lose muscle. Non-modifiable risk factors for losing muscle mass include our advancing years; infirmity or disability; and by some measure our gender, as a result of menopause or andropause. (That is, decline of reproductive hormones associated with, but not limited to, age, stress, surgery and medications).

A low ratio of muscle to fat may put you at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. And even if you don’t have frank muscle mass loss, called sarcopenia, you may have loss of power. This is called dynapenia, and it’s a major concern through all decades of life.

If you are concerned, your dietary focus should be to overcome these health and fitness challenges by rebuilding lost muscle mass and youthful vitality or power, via healthy protein and fat choices. When we support our body’s healthy aging, we improve our metabolism and support the elimination of toxins from our system. One of the side benefits, of course, is weight loss.

Your first step is to commit to choosing your food based on color and nutrient density. Choose plenty of protein and fat in its natural state to repair metabolism and support healthy hormones like glucose, insulin and leptin along with gender related hormones like progesterone and testosterone.

What about exercise? While many tend to look at health clubs and exercise programs as a luxury available to few, physical exercise is a necessity for all. You should focus on losing inches, not pounds. A pound of muscle is about half as bulky as the same pound of fat. They are pound-for-pound the same weight, but muscle takes up less space (inches) and is a tissue that can support balance, strength, flexibility and a quick reaction time. If you have tried losing weight by cutting calories or participating in “diets” that do not include exercise, you have likely decreased lean muscle mass.

Hot tip: Something you may want to add to your fitness and health regimen

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential amino acids, as they cannot be synthesized by the human body and, therefore, must be consumed orally. Unlike other amino acids, BCAA are used primarily by skeletal muscle, and make up 30–35% of the muscle tissue itself.

As aging occurs, the body’s ability to build and retain muscle tissue or size is reduced, which can result in weakness and frailty. Research has shown that supplementation with BCAAs can promote muscle retention in older adults. Additionally, regardless of a person’s age, during exercise BCAAs support muscle protein synthesis and inhibit protein catabolism (breakdown) and muscle fatigue — therefore fighting concerns of dynapenia.

By rebuilding our muscle mass through exercise and a healthy lifestyle — including supplementation with BCAAs — we can optimize our health and our longevity.

Just as there is no one trigger for disease, there is no one solution for longevity; therefore your approach to well-being should be diverse and comprehensive.