The availability of our products and their conditions of sale may differ depending on the country you are in. Please click here to visit your local Nutricia web site and get in touch with a local office.
How can patients with sarcopenia be identified?
Sarcopenic patients can be identified using assessments of physical functioning such as the SPPB score. Recently, The European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People developed an algorithm to identify sarcopenic patients based on gait, or walking speed.
How does nutritional modification help in the management of sarcopenia?
Leucine and other essential amino acids (EAA) play a key role in stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Because aging muscle is less sensitive to anabolic triggers, elderly people need higher amounts of leucine and other EAAs to stimulate muscle protein synthesis to the same degree as younger people. Leucine-enriched balanced amino acid supplementation should be used to slow muscle loss, as it can be difficult to obtain the recommended amounts of leucine and EAAs from a normal diet.
How quickly can this decline in strength and muscle mass occur?
After the age of 50, muscle mass is reported to decline by approximately 1-2% per year, with muscle strength declining at approximately 1.5% per year. These figures can increase to as much as 3% per year after the age of 70.
This means that by the age of 50-65, a person will have lost approximately 20-25% of their muscle strength, increasing to 45-50% at the age of 75-85 and up to 60% by the age of 85.
What is sarcopenia?
Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle mass, strength and function. As people get older, they lose muscle mass and strength, which can cause their physical performance and function to become compromised.
Why does sarcopenia occur?
Sarcopenia has multiple contributing factors. The following can all contribute to the onset and progression of the condition:
- Lifestyle factors such as a lack of physical activity and a sub-optimal diet
- Age related changes in hormones and cytokine levels
- Loss of neuro-muscular function
- Genetic susceptibility
Important contributory factors to sarcopenia that are directly related to nutrition include:
- A low protein intake
- Decreased postprandial (after eating) amino acid availability
- Decreased response to muscle stimuli such as amino acids
- Vitamin D deficiency