The natural process of losing skeletal muscle mass is called sarcopenia, and this process is a common occurrence as we age. Unfortunately, sarcopenia can cause difficulty with everyday movements and activities while also increasing the chances of falling and breaking bones. To live an independent life as long as possible, we must provide our bodies with the exercise and proteins it needs.
Amino Acids and Increase in Muscle Mass
Recent studies have found a solid correlation between the consumption of amino acids and exercise with increased strength and muscle mass. As we are sure you’ve guessed, exercise and good nutrition are vital components for preventing sarcopenia, and amino acids are continually being studied as a nutritional strategy for this disease.
Amino acids are nutrients that consist of muscle proteins. They include BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) commonly found in our muscles. BCAAs help enhance muscle proteins and assist in the prevention of breakdown. Additionally, amino acids also include EAAs (essential amino acids). Essential amino acids are not made in our bodies and must be supplied by an outside food source or supplement. Evidence suggests that making amino acids (BCAAs and EAAs) a part of your diet can significantly reduce the risk of sarcopenia.
Muscle Gain in Older Adults
A study was done on older adults and their ability to gain muscle. This study compared older adults that consumed protein from a whey source and older adults that consumed a formula of nine essential amino acids with the BCAA leucine. The study found that the older adults consuming the leucine-rich amino acid blend experienced increased muscle mass and strength when combined with light exercise (Amino Acids for Healthy Aging, n.d.).
This study also indicates the importance of leucine and its effectiveness in making muscle protein, and how essential it is to integrate this amino acid into our diet as we get older.
How to Enjoy the Benefits of Leucine as We Age
Among the BCAAs, leucine is particularly adequate at increasing muscle mass and overall strength. It’s important to consume high-quality foods rich in BCAAs and maintain a healthy, balanced diet. BCAAs can be found in many animal products we humans consume every day. However, L-leucine can also be found in aminoVITAL supplements.
Amino Acids and Immune Response
In addition to amino acids increasing muscle mass better than whey protein alone, amino acids also help restore our immune response. An excellent example of this is the recent pandemic of COVID-19, where the elderly and older adults were more at risk of developing more severity of symptoms than the younger generation. This is primarily because we lose protection against these conditions as we age. After all, our body’s immune response gets weaker.
A study showed that residents at a nursing home increased immune response when given amino acids after a flu shot than those who were not given amino acids. These results indicate that weakened immune response due to aging can be restored by consuming amino acids (Amino Acids for Healthy Aging, n.d.).
Supplementing amino acids as part of your diet can boost lean body mass, physical functionality, and strength, and we must protect ourselves from skeletal muscle disorders like sarcopenia. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and ensuring we consume an adequate amount of complete protein to maintain our metabolic needs are crucial to living our best life. And aminoVITAL would love to be a part of that process. To learn more about our supplements and the aminoVITAL difference, click here.
Amino Acids for Healthy Aging. (n.d). Ajinomoto.com. Retrieved from Amino Acids for Healthy Aging | Enhancing Life with Amino Acids | About the Ajinomoto Group | Ajinomoto Group Global Website - Eat Well, Live Well.