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Despite our best efforts, we still haven’t cracked the code to cease aging. No matter how well you eat, how active you are or how diligently you prioritize mental health and wellness, the body breaks down more and more with each passing year. Molecular damage leads to reduced cell function, which in turn leads to deterioration of tissue, organs and health. One of the many pitfalls of aging is muscle loss, or trouble maintaining the same lean muscle mass and functional strength capacity. This phenomenon can be attributed, in part, to anabolic resistance.
Anabolic resistance refers to a reduced level of sensitivity to protein ingestion as you get older. Nutrient sensitivity to amino acids is brought on by physical activity, which is reduced in older people due to either lifestyle changes or physical limitations that make exercising difficult. As physical activity is reduced, there is a corresponding reduction in the muscle’s ability to take in amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. In addition to other age-related factors like microvascular preclusion, this is a primary cause of anabolic resistance. Even in aging folks who maintain healthy, active lifestyles, the body is still less able to break down protein into amino acids or absorb amino acids through the muscle than is a younger person of similar fitness levels.
“Skeletomuscle is very plastic—us nerds call it plasticity,” says Alex James Kitson, a Master’s degree candidate in Sports and Exercise Nutrition. “It changes and adapts in accordance of different levels of intensities, frequencies and durations.” During periods of inactivity, “it adapts by having skeletomuscular atrophy.” According to research by sports scientist Dr. Benjamin Wall, in cases of bed rest and immobilization, a person loses up to 0.5% lean body mass per day and 1.5% functional strength capacity per day. Other health implications of inactivity cited by Kitson include reductions in metabolic rate, decreases in insulin sensitivity, increases in fat mass and, as discussed above, lowered amino acid sensitivity.
You can’t stop the march of time, but you can slow its effect on the body by maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle, one that includes a dedicated, regular training regimen that emphasizes whole-body fitness: endurance/aerobic, strength/resistance, flexibility exercises and balance training.
While we can fight muscle loss by boosting our intake of protein adding more protein to the diet isn’t enough. Muscle loss is also linked to a digestive component. Stomach acids levels decrease as we age, which affects the body’s ability to break down and properly utilize dietary protein. As mentioned above, the absorptive process for bioavailable nutrients also dips with age.
When strategizing optimal protein intake, it is important to consider how age and anabolic resistance factor into your situation. For young, healthy subjects, Kitson states that 0.24 grams of protein per kg of body weight is generally ideal to maximally trigger rates of muscle protein synthesis in the body, even while at rest. For older adults, anabolic resistance prevents optimal protein synthesis. As a result, an older person would require a higher amount of protein to trigger target rates of muscle protein synthesis, as high as 2.4 g/kg.
It is hard, if not impossible, to get that amount of protein from your daily diet. An amino acid supplement can help bridge the gap where diet is not enough. PerfectAmino™ is doctor-formulated for maximal utilization by the body. With 99% utilization, no other form of protein comes close. As we age and protein deficiency becomes more of a pressing issue due to factors like anabolic resistance, finding a quality protein source is essential.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
If there is anything society has come to realize over the last century, it is that women are just as powerful, smart, ambitious, and capable as men. And while society as a whole is still catching up as far as true equality, the facts are evident when you look at some of the most incredible and influential people today.
When it comes to fitness, however, men and women are not the same. The natural, physiological differences necessitate unique approaches to achieve optimal results. While the fundamental science behind attaining a shredded, lean physique is basically the same for both sexes, the exact steps and application require careful consideration.
One thing I've learned is that injuries can be great teachers. There are so many lessons to be learned from the injuries we experience. They force us to slow down and evaluate our bodies on a deeper level. Like many, I'm guilty of sometimes taking my healthy days for granted. When we pick up an injury, we're suddenly motivated to learn everything we can about that specific injury. We're also dedicated to the necessary rehab it will take to overcome the injury and strengthen our weak areas.
As with many injuries, I've learned there are no "quick fixes" for my stubborn Achilles. Over the years, I've also learned there are no "get fit quickly" schemes.