Nutritional Approaches for Sarcopenia

Ailsa Welch (Lead Author), Richard Hayhoe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Sarcopenia is associated with the conditions of frailty, falls, osteoporosis and risk of fracture, as well as with malnutrition. The metabolic consequences of loss of skeletal muscle mass during aging include reduced energy expenditure, thus influencing obesity as well as glucose dysregulation, and the onset of type-2 diabetes. The loss of, and changes to, skeletal muscle mass with aging also contribute to reduced utilisation of dietary protein and fat. Nutritional approaches to the prevention or treatment of sarcopenia have previously focused on protein. However, several micronutrient vitamins and minerals including the B group of vitamins, vitamins C, E and the carotenoids and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and selenium, may exert effects on sarcopenia or sarcopenic factors (skeletal muscle mass, function or strength). These may be indirect through effects on protein synthesis or direct through effects on mechanisms of aging for skeletal muscle such as inflammaging, counteracting reactive oxygen species, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Other direct mechanisms also exist including the involvement of vitamin C in formation of collagen, a structural component of skeletal muscle, and of carnitine, required for muscle contraction. Better quality dietary intakes, as found with the Mediterranean Dietary pattern and other healthy eating patterns, may also be beneficial to prevention or treatment of sarcopenia though effects on skeletal muscle mass or function during aging. However, current research into the influence of micronutrient vitamins and minerals and optimal dietary patterns for the prevention or treatment of sarcopenia and loss of skeletal muscle mass and function with age is limited, and further research is required.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSARCOPENIA: Research and Clinical Implications
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Apr 2021

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