Posted on Jan 29, 2013, 6 a.m.
Vitamins and a protein-rich diet may be key for combating aging-related loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia).
Sarcopenia, or the gradual loss of muscle mass, is a common consequence of aging, and poses a significant risk factor for disability in older adults. As muscle strength plays an important role in the tendency to fall, sarcopenia leads to an increased risk of fractures and other injuries. While resistance training is an essential and effective intervention, adequate nutritional intake is also an important element. The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) Nutrition Working Group has identified nutritional factors that contribute to loss of muscle mass, and conversely, are beneficial to the maintenance of muscle mass. The Group acknowledges that protein intake plays an integral part in muscle health, proposing an intake of 1.0–1.2 g/kg of body weight per day as optimal for skeletal muscle and bone health in elderly people without severely impaired renal function. As many studies indicate a role for vitamin D in the development and preservation of muscle mass and function, the Group also acknowledges that adequate vitamin D should be ensured through exposure to sunlight and/or supplementation if required. Vitamin D supplementation in seniors, and especially in institutionalized elderly, is recommended for optimal musculoskeletal health. The Group also recognizes emerging evidence that suggests that vitamin B12 and/or folic acid play a role in improving muscle function and strength.
A. Mithal, J.-P. Bonjour, S. Boonen, P. Burckhardt, H. Degens,, B. Dawson-Hughes, et al, for the IOF CSA Nutrition Working Group. “Impact of nutrition on muscle mass, strength, and performance in older adults.” Osteoporos Int. , Dec. 2012.