December 1, 2022, Chennai: Muscles are the largest component of our total lean body mass (or LBM). Muscles matter as they are well-known for their role in movement, and muscle preservation is vital for maintaining strength and function as we age. However, adults and healthcare professionals often struggle to diagnose muscle loss – as symptoms are very common like fatigue or easy to confuse with general ageing. Poor muscle health not only impacts our mobility and strength to do daily activities but also has an impact on critical functions of the body like immunity, blood glucose control and can also lead to metabolic disorders.
One can take careful measures to slow down muscle loss to help support a healthy lifestyle. This can be achieved through a combination of strength exercises and a complete, balanced diet with sufficient protein and nutrients. Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B3 are some key nutrients that can maintain muscle health. In addition, several studies have also demonstrated the benefits of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation, alone or in combination with exercise for maintaining and restoring lean body mass, muscle strength and function in adults.
HMB [Hydroxymethylbutyrate] is an active metabolite of amino acid leucine that occurs naturally in the body and can be found in very small amounts in foods like avocado, grapefruit, and cauliflower. HMB helps increase lean mass and handgrip strength. In addition, it also helps in the preservation of muscle mass and improves muscle strength in older adults.
“4 out of 10 Indians suffer from poor muscle health, says Dr. Ganesh Kadhe, Associate Director, Medical & Scientific Affairs at Abbott’s Nutrition business. “Muscles are dynamic and vital tissues for the functioning of the body telling us how we are going to age, stay active and independent. Both muscle protein breakdown and muscle protein synthesis, or building, are happening in the body throughout the day. However, breakdown can accelerate with age, illness and immobility. Hence, maintaining muscle mass with proper nutrition including HMB, which helps counteract muscle loss and restore strength and exercise as we age, is essential.”
“Starting at age 40, adults can lose up to 8% of their muscle mass per decade, and this rate can double after the age of 70. Muscle health should not be overlooked, and it should also not be something to take care of only after it starts deteriorating with age. Getting in the practice of incorporating HMB supplements into your diet along with exercise will surely help improve muscle health. HMB acts as a gateway to help keep your muscles in balance by slowing muscle breakdown or loss. HMB has been shown t0 stabilize the muscle cell tissue, regulate protein synthesis, increase lean mass, increase hand grip strength, preserve muscle mass thereby improving overall muscle strength. Says- Dr. Paul Weischmeyer, M.D. E.D.I.C, Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI)
However, the quantity of HMB found naturally in these foods is difficult to support muscle health just by diet alone and is often found in nutrition supplements
Not only are muscles important for everyday physical tasks like picking things up, reaching for something, opening a jar, or getting up off a chair, but healthy muscles are essential for organ function, skin health, immunity, and your metabolism.
Dr Jayashree Gopal, Senior Endocrinologist says, “In a recently published (2021) study from south India, it was found that the prevalence of primary sarcopenia or age-related muscle loss was 39.2% where men were more prone to muscle loss than women. As one ages, it is important that we look after their body to maximize on quality of life. In fact, necessary steps should be taken as soon as one hits his or her 30s. One needs to eat nutritious food, sleep well and exercise to manage their muscle loss, which is critical for overall well-being”
Muscle is constantly turning over, breaking down, and building back up. Ageing is inevitable, and adults must pay attention to maintaining muscle health for their overall wellbeing. Right nutrition along with HMB, the little-known compound can help adults across age groups to maintain good muscle health and in turn help people live stronger, healthier, and fuller lives.