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Sarcopenia: Age Related Loss of Muscle, and Anti-Sarcopenia Program

How to Remain Fast and Young at the Neurological Level for as Long as Possible...

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Sarcopenia can be defined as age or HIV+ related loss of muscle mass, strength and function. Although there is no specific level of lean body mass or muscle mass at which one can say sarcopenia is present, any loss of muscle mass is of importance because there is a strong relationship between muscle mass and strength.

Sarcopenia begins as early as age 20 or 25, and accelerates noticeably after age 60. In physically inactive persons there is a loss of about -0.5% (minus one half of one percent) of muscle mass every year between age 25 and 60, and a parallel decline in muscle strength. From age 60 on, the rate of loss doubles, to about 1%; and it doubles again at age 70; and again at age 80, then again at age 90... until it kills us, usually before age 100.

This can be seen very clearly in the decline in speed and strength of athletes. (The loss is presumably greater in non-athletes). The following table shows the drop in the world record for 200 meters and 400 meters, by age in 5 year increments.

Name
200 mts.
SECONDS/(drop %)
AGE
Name
400 mts.
SECONDS/(drop %)
M. Johnson
19.32/
(--)
30
M. Johnson
44.31/
(--)
Christie
20.11/

(-3.9%)
35
King
46.39/

(-4.5%)
Morgning
22.15/

(-9.2%)
40
Ulacio
47.87/

(-3.0%)
Peters
22.5/

(-1.5%)
45
Sowerby
50.20/

(-4.6%)
R. Taylor
22.91/

(-1.8%)
50
Muller
51.60/

(-2.8%)
R. Taylor
23.37/

(-2.0%)
55
Romain
52.52/

(-1.8%)
R. Taylor
24.60/

(-5.0%)
60
Romain
53.88/

(-2.5%)
Neumann
25.93/

(-5.1%)
65
Neumann
57.52/

(-6.3%)
Selzer
27.44/

(-5.5%)
70
Selzer
61.43/

(-6.4%)
Assmy
28.60/

(-4.0%)
75
Assmy
68.24/

(-10.0%)
Jordan
30.89/

(-7.4%)
80
Forseca
78.00/

(-12.5%)
Mahlo
36.52/

(-15.4%)
85
Perez
91.54/

(-14.8%)
Narayana
44.77/

(-18.4%)
95
Narayana
119.76/

(-23.6%)

Although sarcopenia is mostly seen in physically inactive individuals, it is also evident in individuals who remain physically active throughout their lives. This suggests that physical inactivity is not the only contributing factor to sarcopenia, and that improper nutrition, a decline in hormones, anemia, and perhaps other factors are also causes.

Sarcopenia begins with loss of the NERVOUS SYSTEM, after which the muscles that cannot move as they did before begin to atrophy, and the muscle cells are replaced in that spot by fat cells. The motor neurons are responsible for sending signals from the brain to the muscles to initiate movement. A motor unit consists of the motor neuron and all of the muscle fibers that it connects to, or innervates.

The number of fibers that a motor neuron innervates depends on the function of that specific muscle. For example, a muscle that requires precise movements, such as muscles of the eye, will have motor units with a motor neuron innervating a few muscle fibers. Muscles that require less precise movements, such as the quadriceps muscles, will have motor units with a motor neuron innervating hundreds and possibly over a thousand muscle fibers.

Sarcopenia seen by the magnetic resonance image (MRI) of a thigh cross section from a man age 25 and another age 65.

Sarcopenia seen in the magnetic resonance image of a cross section of a 25-year-old man's thigh (LEFT,) and another age 65 (RIGHT). Fat, in white, surrounds skeletal muscle encircling the bone. Notice that although the thighs are of similar size, the older man's shows a substantial loss of muscle and a growing buildup of fat around and through the muscle.

For example, when somebody has had an accident or injury that paralyzes a part of the body, the muscles in that part of the body will atrophy noticeably almost immediately. If movement is recovered, the muscle might be recovered also... but generally speaking, neurons cannot be recovered... Some other neurons might grow and cover for the lost neurons... but if there is no sense of touch, then the muscles cannot be regained.

If you have been fortunate enough to have a very old parent or grandparent or loved relative, you probably realize that this is true: The sad fact is that if we are healthy enough to live a long life, we lose OUR BRAIN and NERVOUS SYSTEM many years before death! Even great geniuses such as Albert Einstein (physicist and mathematician) or Pablo Casals (great cellist) or Emmanuel Lasker (world champion Chess player) or Grandma Moses (artist and painter) were LESS INTELLIGENT and although they were wonderful human beings, they were less "genius" in their respective fields when they were VERY OLD than when they themselves were YOUNG.

This loss of brain cells occurs simultaneously in the nervous system, which is merely an extension of the brain. If you are age 40 or more you can actually "see" the loss of neurons: your eyesight is less accute than when you, yourself, were younger. The true loss is that of the fast twitch neurons that controlled the eye muscles that focused the image... This causes you to require reading glasses!

There are actually three types of muscle in the body: smooth muscle, lining internal cavities such as the digestive tract; cardiac muscle in the heart; and skeletal muscle, the type most of us think of when we think of muscle. Skeletal muscle constitutes the largest organ of the body, and it is this type-- particularly the strongest so-called fast fibers-- that declines most with age. With this loss of strength, losing one's balance is more likely. Catching oneself before falling becomes more difficult. Once a fall causes a hip fracture or other serious injury, mobility is gone completely.

Intriguingly, aging-related changes in skeletal muscle resemble the functional and physical changes seen in a suite of diseases collectively known as muscular dystrophy, albeit at a much slower rate. In the most common and most severe version of MD-- Duchenne muscular dystrophy-- an inherited gene mutation results in the absence of a protein called dystrophin that protects muscle fibers from injury by the force they exert during regular movement. Muscles are good at repairing themselves, as long as they can move. If the neurons that move a muscle are lost, the muscles are paralyzed and soon atrophy.

NOW I hope you understand that the true importance of an anti-sarcopenia program is to avoid the loss of YOUR BRAIN!

An anti-sarcopenia program would therefore have several objectives. First and most important, we want to AVOID the loss of neurons, which cause the loss of muscles by atrophy, and the accumulation of fat. Second, we want to recuperate lost muscle mass if we can.

Follow my 8 point anti-aging program and you will see that there are SIX points that relate directly to the loss of the nervous system, which causes loss of muscle which is then substituted by an increase in fat. This is the core of my anti-sarcopenia program:

1. Correct Diet with all the important nutrients necessary for muscle growth, and to keep blood sugar levels and HbA1c near optimum.
2. Exercise, to build muscle and prevent or slow down atrophy
3. Vitamins and other supplements as part of the diet
4. EDTA Chelation therapy to remove toxic metals that destroy neurons
5. Hormone Replacement Therapy
6. Take care of the Brain (and Nervous System)

1. Correct Diet: This is the single most important Anti-Sarcopenia "therapy" which you can do, because YOU MUST KEEP YOUR GLUCOSE LEVELS LOW, BY HOOK OR BY CROOK. High blood glucose is KNOWN to cause damage to the nervous system in diabetics, so we can also ASSUME that high blood glucose causes loss of neurons in non-diabetics.

Follow the Anti-Aging Diet which will ensure the proper intake of protein, fiber, vitamins, enzymes at the same time that it keeps glucose levels in an optimum range of 70 to 105 after eating. (70 to 90 is best before eating.) Attempt to keep your blood sugar levels in the optimum range, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year... Eat plenty of chicken, fish, meat, eggs, milk, and milk products... and plenty of vegetables...

Eat small portions of fruits, or not at all... Avoid rice, corn, potatoes, and pasta... Beans and nuts are acceptable, in small quantities... Large pieces of Pizza are OUT... Bread, and tortillas, and anything that is made in a pastry shop is OUT... Also out are: boxed breakfast cereals, candies, dehydrated fruits, chocolates, condensed and sweetened milk, bee's honey, maple syrup, etc.

And of course avoid the Devil himself: SUGAR.

http://www.rajeun.net/aadiet.html The Anti Aging Diet

My anti-aging diet is very similar to the Atkins diet, plus "growth hormone for breakfast"... except I also recommend you should avoid fried foods, fat, bacon, oil, cream, whenever you can. Otherwise, I have no doubt that the Atkins diet is more correct than the Sears Zone Diet because it recommends much less carbohydrates, which result in less blood sugar and insulin.

Remember what you learn in the Carbohydrate Thermometer: SUGAR is 100% carbohydrates... Spaghetti and Potatoes are 25% carbohydrates... Bread is 50% carbohydraes... Breakfast cereals and candies and honey are all about 75% carbohydrates... doesn't that tell you something?

The Sears Zone Diet is not so bad, but it recommends 40% carbohydrates, which is too much carbohydrates (40% of a typical 2000 calory diet equals 800 calories of carbs, at 4 calories per gram gives us 200 grams of SUGAR every day!) This will result in much higher glucose levels than the Atkins diet. The ultimate criteria to decide which is better is to test yourself with a glucose meter to see which diet gives blood sugar levels closer to the optimum AFTER EATING... (That is my Anti Aging diet, which is very similar in many ways to the Atkins diet.)

The Pritikin Diet Plan, and the Dr. Dean Ornish Diet, and the Dr. MacDougall Diet, and the U.S.D.A. Food Guide Pyramid all recommend low fat, high carbohydrates, up to 60% or 300 grams of carbohydrates PER DAY!!! This is VERY BAD because high carbohydrates will result in very high blood glucose levels, and high blood insulin levels. This will slowly but eventually cause damage to the pancreas, damage to the kidneys, damage to the circulatory system, and damage to the nervous system which will cause a loss of muscles by atrophy.

A high carb - low fat diet will eventually cause the pancreas to burn out, and kidney damage. At that point, you will be in more trouble than just damage to the nervous system and loss of muscle. You will be diabetic, with all the complications that come with not being able to control blood sugar.

There is no doubt in my mind about this, but it takes many years for diabetes to happen... so you can eat high carbs for many years, and you will not see the punishment (diabetes) coming... unless you happen to notice the fat building up on your body, which used to be muscle, and you relate it to your diet.

Keep your blood sugar levels between 70 and 105 mg/dl, as long as you can, 24 hours a day, every day. It is a KNOWN FACT that high levels of blood glucose in diabetics causes damage to the nervous system. Damage to the nervous system then causes loss of muscles, because they atrophy.

By extension, I can tell that much lower levels of blood sugar than the very high levels seen in diabetics are ALSO bad for the nervous system. The BEST level of blood glucose is the OPTIMUM level, which is between 70 and 90 mg/dl BEFORE EATING and between 70 and 105 mg/dl thirty minutes AFTER EATING.

http://www.rajeun.net/glucose.html The Glucose Theory of Aging

2. Do aerobic and weight training exercise. This is so basic and so logical that it doesn't even have to be explained in detail, or proven...

Don't wait for it to be proven... just go ahead and do exercise!

Any exercise... as much as you like... aerobic and weight lifting...

Exercise, of course, will help build muscles, as every body builder in the world already knows without it having to be "proven".

3. Take all the good vitamins: A, C, E, which are the anti-oxidants, which will help to keep the circulatory system healthy; Vitamin B-complex, which is KNOWN TO BE GOOD for the NERVOUS SYSTEM; and vitamins D and K which help prevent osteoporosis.

Creatine is a safe, natural supplement that will help to prevent sarcopenia. Creatine improves fat free mass. Creatine increases the amount of ATP available to skeletal muscle cells during exercise, which results in more speed and power. ATP can be likened to gasoline for a car engine, so creatine can be thought of as an octane booster for skeletal muscle cells.

Glutamine is another important nutrient that has been shown to lessen muscle wasting. Glutamine is the most abundant free amino acid in the human body. In catabolic stress situations, such as after surgical operations or trauma and during sepsis, glutamine is rapidly transported to organs and to blood cells. This results in an intracellular depletion of glutamine in the muscles and the ensuing catabolic wasting effect.

Glutamine has many important metabolic roles that protect or promote muscle mass and enhance the immune system. Glutamine depletion decreases the proliferation of lymphocytes, which weakens the immune system. It influences the cellular water content has a multiple effects on the immune system, intestinal function, and protein metabolism. Glutamine is a precursor for the synthesis of glutathione, a powerful natural anti-oxidant enzyme found in the body, and stimulates the formation of heat-shock proteins. Catabolic wasting patients should consider supplementing with 2000 mg of glutamine a day.

Other nutrients such as acetyl-l-carnitine, Co-Q10, carnosine, CLA, selenium, and others are also important to reinforce the action of the vitamins.

A person at risk for sarcopenia or who is already suffering from sarcopenia should consider the following supplements:

Glutamine, 2000 mg a day, available in capsule or powder form.
Super GLA/DHA oil, 8 capsules a day (provides optimal potencies of GLA from
borage oil and DHA/EPA from fish oil concentrate).
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), (76%) 2000 mg 2 times a day.
Biologically active whey protein concentrate, 30-60 grams a day.
Arginine, 10-20 grams a day in divided doses.
L-carnitine, 2400 mg a day in divided doses.
A very good high dose multi-vitamin mix with Vitamin A, C, E, B, K, etc.
Branched Chain Amino Acid Formula, 1200-2400 mg a day.

4. EDTA Chelation therapy to remove lead from the circulatory system. Lead is BAD for the nervous system, obviously. EDTA chelation will help remove some lead and it will also help to clear up some of the excess baggage, such as calcium deposits on the sides of the circulatory system. This will allow blood to flow more freely. This, in turn, will prevent sarcopenia by permitting blood to bring water, nutrients, and oxygen to the nerves and muscles, and every other cell in the body.

5. Hormone Replacement Therapy. Until I wrote this article, I was of the opinion that hormone replacement should not begin until after age 30 or 35. But now I realize that sarcopenia starts with the LOSS OF THE FAST TWITCH NERVOUS SYSTEM, and this process manifests itself in top athletes, such as world boxing champions in their mid and late twenties, and it is practically FINISHED AND DONE WITH by age 35.

For this reason, I now change my opinion, to be that growth hormone and perhaps testosterone and other hormone replacement therapy should be started under the supervision of an anti-aging doctor or sports medicine doctor as early as age 20! (yes, I said "twenty"...)

NOTE: It is sad that sports federations forbid athletes to use injectible growth hormone, testosterone, DHEA, and other excellent and natural hormones... This condemns athletes to lose their brain and nervous system. My recommendation to athletes is: if it is illegal for you to participate in competitive sports, then DO NOT TO PARTICIPATE in competitive sports. Your brain and nervous system are more important than winning a medal.

Replace all hormones, starting as soon as you can... that means: at least 1 iu of injectible growth hormone per day after age 25 (perhaps even .5 iu starting at age 20...) and preferably your optimum dose, whatever that turns out to be... Growth hormone is the master hormone and is known to increase muscles, decrease fat, extend the circulatory system, and perhaps to improve the nervous system.

Testosterone for men, and a very small dose of testosterone for women... estrogen and progesterone for women... Arimidex for men, to prevent estrogen from building up in male bodies, and to raise free testosterone levels... Testsoterone is an anabolic, that is, it helps to build muscles.

http://www.rajeun.net/testosterone.html My Short and Happy Experience With Testosterone

Erithropoyetin (EPO) for both men and women, to raise red blood cell level AT LEAST to 45% if it is below that, preferably to between 50% and 53%...

http://www.rajeun.net/hb.html Anemia, Hemoglobin, EPO, and Senile Dementia

EPO will raise red blood cell count, which will raise oxygenation to all organs and will also help prevent the loss of neurons, which will prevent the loss of muscle... EPO will raise red blood cells, which raises oxygen supply 24 hours a day... Thus, it is similar or maybe even better than hyperbaric oxygen therapy (below) to keep the nervous system well...

DHEA...

melatonin...

pregnenolone...

And... if you are really daring... 3 iu of insulin before every high protein low carb meal, to control your glucose levels, and 0 or 1 or 2 iu of insulin when blood glucose is above 100 mg/dl. If you can control blood glucose to remain between 70 and 100 mg/dl this will probably result in less loss of neurons. The converse is also true: high blood glucose will probably result in a greater loss of neurons in the long run. Warning: Insulin can be very beneficial (even if you are not a diabetic) and it is very easy to learn how to use insulin correctly, but it can cause hypoglycemia if you don't use it correctly, ie, if you don't use the correct dose at the right moment..

I wish I could recommend you should learn to use insulin under the supervision of a doctor, but most doctors do not know how to take insulin themselves, and they are convinced it is bad for you. It is not bad for you... it is great for you. In my opinion, it is the single best hormone to prevent sarcopenia because it helps you to control blood sugar easily, and perhaps helps to conserve the pancreas in a good working state for a longer time, both of which help to prevent damage to the nervous system.

Check your glucose levels before you eat and inject 3 iu... Check glucose levels again 30 minutes after you eat, and if necessary adjust with 1 or 2 iu of "R" Humulin (insulin). There are non-needle syringes that don't "hurt" even one tiny little bit... it "pushes" the insulin into your body, without a needle.

6. Take care of the Brain and nervous system to avoid loss of neurons. The three ways to take care of the brain are 1) keep the circulatory system clean and well, with EDTA chelation, and with growth hormone which helps to grow and expand the circulatory system at all levels (veins and capillaries).

2) Take Deprenyl to lower MAO-B. MAO-B is an enzyme which begins to rise in the brain and which destroys some neurons in our brain which produce dopamine. Deprenyl is the only medicine known to lower MAO-B selectively in the brain, and not in the rest of the body.

3) Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) therapy to repair or help prevent loss of neurons, and the nervous system, in general...

I already spoke about EPO, which increases red blood cells, which increases oxygenation to the brain and all the nervous system. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) is a related therapy but more powerful in some ways. HBO does not last as long, but it is extremely effective to repair some damage to the nervous system.

Hyperbaric oxygen has been used to help drowning victims recover from severe brain damage, and diabetics with severe nervous system damage to recover from shock caused by severe hypoglycemia. There is NO DOUBT in my mind that HBO also helps repair and prevent slight damage to ALL the nervous system.

These Before and After SPECT scans of the brain of a 3 year old near-drowning victim, show greatly increased blood flow in the brain following Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy:

SPECT Scan of 3 year old near-drowning victim, shortly after, and after 9 months.
Left: SPECT scans of the brain of a three-year-old male near-drowning victim taken shortly after the accident, showing decreased brain activity but potentially recoverable tissue.
Right: SPECT scans of same child taken 9 months later. The red areas indicate increased brain activity and blood flow.

.

.

http://www.oceanhbo.com/ Ocean HBO

SEE THE VIDEOS to see the effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on the nervous system !!!

Bad Habits that must be avoided Of course, besides the positive steps we must take to avoid loss of brain cells, there are also the negative steps that we must avoid. I will not get into the details why these are bad, you must already know they are bad... Smoking cigarettes and heavy drinking are two bad habits that simply cannot go together with an anti-aging (anti-sarcopenia) program. You are in a program to improve your health, you cannot also work against yourself.

If you smoke, stop smoking!

If you drink heavily, stop drinking!

Note: I do not smoke, and I do not drink almost anything... perhaps a sip of wine on very rare occasions. I want to live a long time with my brain and nervous system still functioning well, and I simply cannot drink or smoke and also live a long time with a healthy brain and nervous system!)

- Ellis Toussier, February 27, 2004

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Table of Contents | Consult with Ellis Toussier (re: Good Nutrition, Anti-Aging Therapies) | Diabetes Made Simple | The Glucose Theory of Aging | Assess Your Pancreas... | The Anti-Aging Anti-Diabetes Diet... | The Carbohydrate Thermometer | 10 Typical Glucose Tolerance Test Results | Hb-A1c to Mean Plasma Glucose Conversion Table |
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The information provided on this site is provided for illustration purposes only and does not represent a proposal or specific recommendation. As a word of caution, the information presented cannot possibly substitute for competent medical advice. My treatment of health issues is general and specific to me, and is not intended as a comprehensive discussion of all relevant issues. Your health and mine will vary to some extent, and the applicability of what you decide with your doctor will depend upon your individual circumstances. If you have a particular question about the information presented, you can send me an e-mail and I will try my best to help you.


This page created November, 2011