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Sarcopenia, or the decline of skeletal muscle tissue with age, is one of the most important causes of functional decline and loss of independence in older adults.

Although no consensus diagnosis has been reached, sarcopenia is increasingly defined by both loss of muscle mass and loss of muscle function or strength. Its cause is widely regarded as multifactorial, with neurological decline, hormonal changes, inflammatory pathway activation, declines in activity, chronic illness, fatty infiltration, and poor nutrition, all shown to be contributing factors. Recent molecular findings related to apoptosis, mitochondrial decline, and the angiotensin system in skeletal muscle have highlighted biological mechanisms that may be contributory. Interventions in general continue to target nutrition and exercise.


What is Sarcopenia and the role of Growth Formula Silver in reducing its symptoms

Sarcopenia has been defined as an age related, involuntary loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength. Beginning as early as the 4th decade of life, evidence suggests that skeletal muscle mass and skeletal muscle strength decline in a linear fashion, with up to 50% of mass being lost by the 8th decade of life. Given that muscle mass accounts for up to 60% of body mass, pathological changes to this important metabolically active tissue can have profound consequences on the older adult. The consequences of sarcopenia are often severe in older adults, as the strength and functional declines associated with sarcopenia can in turn contribute to a number of adverse health outcomes, including loss of function, disability, and frailty. Sarcopenia is also associated with acute and chronic disease states, increased insulin resistance, fatigue, falls, and mortality. Of the chronic disease states, sarcopenia has been especially associated with rheumatologic conditions, especially rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in women.


The physiological and morphological changes in skeletal muscle with advancing age are characterized by overall declines in size and number of skeletal muscle fibers, mainly the type 2 or fast-twitch muscle fibers, and a marked infiltration of fibrous and adipose tissue into the skeletal muscle. In addition, satellite cells, the skeletal muscle precursor cells that reside in a quiescent state in association with myofibrils, likely also undergo important aging-related changes. These satellite cells are activated and begin the process of skeletal muscle repair and regeneration in response to the stress of heavy muscle use such as with weight-bearing activities or through traumatic events such as injury. In the skeletal muscle of older adults, the satellite cell content is reduced and most specifically in the type-2 skeletal muscle fibers.


Although aging-related biological changes clearly drive sarcopenia, it is increasingly clear that obesity and fat infiltration into skeletal muscle play an important role in sarcopenia. This phenomenon, termed sarcopenic obesity, is often grouped together with sarcopenia and likely plays an important role in a subset of those older adults thought to have sarcopenia. An analysis in the Framingham Study recently highlighted the functional and mobility limitations in sarcopenic obesity. Investigators with the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study, a longitudinal study of age-related changes in skeletal muscle and body composition in older adults, recently identified that increased fat mass was associated with lower muscle quality and an accelerated loss of lean body mass over 8 years.