Nutritional influences on age-related skeletal muscle loss

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Age-related muscle loss impacts on whole-body metabolism and leads to frailty and sarcopenia, which are risk factors for fractures and mortality. Although nutrients are integral to muscle metabolism the relationship between nutrition and muscle loss has only been extensively investigated for protein and amino acids. The objective of the present paper is to describe other aspects of nutrition and their association with skeletal muscle mass. Mechanisms for muscle loss relate to imbalance in protein turnover with a number of anabolic pathways of which the mechanistic TOR pathway and the IGF-1-Akt-FoxO pathways are the most characterised. In terms of catabolism the ubiquitin proteasome system, apoptosis, autophagy, inflammation, oxidation and insulin resistance are among the major mechanisms proposed. The limited research associating vitamin D, alcohol, dietary acid-base load, dietary fat and anti-oxidant nutrients with age-related muscle loss is described. Vitamin D may be protective for muscle loss; a more alkalinogenic diet and diets higher in the anti-oxidant nutrients vitamin C and vitamin E may also prevent muscle loss. Although present recommendations for prevention of sarcopenia focus on protein, and to some extent on vitamin D, other aspects of the diet including fruits and vegetables should be considered. Clearly, more research into other aspects of nutrition and their role in prevention of muscle loss is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-33
Number of pages18
JournalProceedings of the Nutrition Society
Issue number1
Early online date12 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

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