Age-Related Muscle Loss:
Seniors, Listen Up—There Is Help!

Age-related muscle loss is a very subtle condition. It slowly creeps up like a thief in the night, and suddenly it’s harder to walk up those three steps to the back door. Unlike last year, you tire more quickly when you go for a walk or out shopping. No, you rarely feel any pain, but your calf muscles feel heavy and weak, and your arms can’t carry those heavy groceries out of the car like they used to. This is when a helping hand feels like a godsend to us!

Because of the lack of serious pain, we may remain in a state of denial. After all, most of us don’t think anything is wrong if we don’t feel some real discomfort.

Nevertheless, your brain does recognize a difference in your strength. But that heavy, weak feeling is chalked up to the fact that “Well, I’m just getting older.” Without further ado, you go on to the many other tasks that await your busy day. Meanwhile, your muscles continue to get weaker and weaker.

How old are we when we actually get older? Well, generally it seems that most of us will begin to notice the effects of aging at about the age of 55. But, depending on how much care you’ve taken to nourish and exercise your body, it may be a few years more or less. Unfortunately, even if you eat a nourishing diet and get plenty of exercise, dear Mother Nature always comes along, and your body begins to deteriorate. (Sad, but true. Sigh). Dr. Royal Lee pointed out that to slow the deterioration of the human body, we must slow the loss of endogenous protomorphogen activity, the blueprints that our cells use to repair and grow new tissue. This is only possible with an extremely healthy diet. To apply exogenous protomorphogen (PMG) therapy to restore the body’s ability to heal and repair properly, Standard Process offers a line of PMG products.

We are almost automatically driven to search incessantly for remedies that will extend our strength and life. This, my dear reader, is what I hope to impart to you regarding the loss of muscle that happens naturally as we age. I hope you will find in the lines of this blog post some of the best suggestions to stave off any further deterioration of your aging muscles.

But first, I want to discuss one such recommendation that is frequently found online:

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA), or HMB

Personal note: I am not recommending BCAA powder or HMB supplements. Since you’ll be sure to find this information should you do your own research on muscle loss or muscle wasting, I want to reference it only as a caution. I will of course suggest whole food alternatives below.

Branched chain amino acids are (BCAA) are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. As the website News Medical Life Sciences explains:

“Branched chain amino acids (BCAA), such as leucine, isoleucine, and valine, make up one-third of muscle protein. However, among these three, leucine has been given the most extensive focus due to its broad role in metabolism, homeostasis, exercise recovery, and insulin action. Leucine has the ability to metabolize into a-ketoisocaproate (KIC), or beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), the latter of which is believed to induce anti-catabolic, anabolic, and lipolytic effects.”

My suggestion is that you explore my two recommendations for whole food sources of nutrition and repair from Standard Process:

Cataplex B-Core: Contains the whole B vitamin components that bring nerve conductivity (electrical energy) to the muscle.

  • Myotrophin PMG: As noted above, this a protomorphogen non-nutritive supplement that allows repair of muscle tissue. Take on an empty stomach.

Best Foods Sources of Natural Leucine

To be sure that you’re getting enough of this vital amino acid, these are the best foods to include in your diet:

  • Meat, poultry, and fish.
  • Dairy products such as yogurt, milk and cheese (milk and cheese should preferably be raw, but otherwise organic).
  • Legumes such as white beans.
  • Dried spirulina.
  • Pumpkin seeds.
  • Nutritional yeast flakes such as KAL, which is unfortified and unsweetened. (Nutritional Yeast also provides all the amino acids.)

Weight Lifting to Produce Your Own Growth Hormone

According to an article published on the website Cathe, weight-lifting may help boost the release of growth hormone:

“Growth hormone levels decrease with age and this decline contributes to muscle and bone loss. Low levels of growth hormone are also linked with depression, fatigue, hair loss, and cognitive changes, all problems that become more common with age. High-intensity exercise and heavy strength training, along with a diet that contains sufficient protein and adequate sleep, may help offset some of the age-related decline in the release of growth hormone and IGF-1. So, keep on pushing yourself when you train!”

(Personal note: Never take synthetic growth hormones.)

Inspiration Is 50% of Getting What You Want

I sincerely hope that this blog post has inspired you to take the next step and you’ll follow these recommendations. It’s a special gift we have as seniors to teach the next generation of children what it means to grow old gracefully, stay strong, and continue to value our God-given right to be the best we can be. If you’re overweight, choose to lose some of those extra pounds with a healthy exercise program so you don’t tax your bones and muscles any more than is necessary. Those sweet muscles will love you and carry you on through those otherwise scary senior years. I know, because I’m there with you. (Smile)

Afterthoughts from the Traditional Cook

Muscle Essay by Hannah Loback

The muscular system is a network of tissues that controls movement of the human body. Attached to the skeletal system are a multitude of muscles consisting of tissues, blood vessels, tendons, and nerves. Muscles are a bundle of fibrous tissue in the body that have the ability to contract, thus producing movement and maintenance of contract, thus producing movement and maintenance of body parts. Without this system the ability to function and maintain a healthy lifestyle would be impossible.

Correct posture, locomotion, and movement of internal organs are reliant. Although this system is composed of hundreds of muscles, each has various parts that provide a specific function. The muscular system is composed of approximately 700 muscles. These in turn contain fibers, which are the basic functional units of muscles. Within these fibers are cylinder shaped bundles called myofibrils. These contain sarcomeres, which are made up of thick protein filaments known as actin and myosin. All of these components make up the two types of fibers, slow-twitch and fast-twitch. The muscles also contain 3 distinct tissues known as cardiac, skeletal, and smooth. Both cardiac and smooth muscle cells are under involuntary control and are located in the walls of organs; however, the skeletal fibers occur in muscles which are attached to the skeleton and are under voluntary control.

Muscles are specialized tissues whose purpose is served primarily by contracting. Their complex structure carries out a depreciated skill, movement. Its numerous components carry out independent functions; however, they work uniformly to perform the fundamental task.
—“The Muscular System and Its Functions,” by Hannah Loback

Disclaimer from Maria Atwood, CNHP: I am a Certified Natural Health Professional, CNHP, not a medical doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate, or cure any human diseases. Please see your medical doctor or health practitioner prior to following any recommendations I make in my blog posts or on my website.

Images from iStock/Deagreez (main), imtmphoto (senior couple), grinvalds (food).

Maria Atwood, CNHP

Maria Atwood is a semiretired Certified Natural Health Professional and Weston A. Price Chapter Leader in Colorado Springs, CO. Visit her website at TraditionalCook.com. Also check out Maria’s Cook Your Way to Wellness DVD (also available as an e-learning course) and be sure to follow her Tips from the Traditional Cook blog.
Products by Maria Atwood

Related Topics

holistic nutrition

Leave a Reply