Sarcopenia: Top Supplements And Strategies for Low Muscle Mass

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Along with providing information on whether sarcopenia supplements might be right for you, this article also links to Fullscript where you can buy supplements for muscle building through Fullscript’s secure healthcare formulary and get free shipping and 20% off the retail price of professional-grade supplements.

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass and function, related to age, nutrition, and lack of exercise. It affects many people as they grow older. In this article, we’ll explore the potential benefits of nutritional supplements and other strategies in combating sarcopenia and maintaining muscle strength and function as we age.

What Is Sarcopenia?

Sarcopenia is characterized by a loss of muscle mass, strength, and function. It leads to noticeable symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, and a decline in physical performance. These symptoms can make routine activities like walking, climbing stairs, or carrying groceries especially challenging.

The development of sarcopenia is influenced by aging and other factors. Hormonal changes naturally occur as people age, affecting muscle maintenance. Diet plays a crucial role as well; poor nutritional habits, especially inadequate protein intake, are key contributors. Additionally, lifestyle factors like prolonged bed rest or lack of physical activity can accelerate muscle loss. Even dieting, particularly when it leads to significant calorie restriction without adequate protein, can contribute to muscle degradation.

Chronic diseases and some medications might further worsen muscle loss. Early recognition of these causes is vital for intervening effectively. Managing sarcopenia involves more than addressing aging; it includes comprehensive lifestyle adjustments such as improving nutrition, engaging in regular strength training, and reducing periods of inactivity. These strategies help preserve muscle health, enabling a more active, independent lifestyle and enhancing overall well-being.

What Food and Lifestyle Factors Are Important For Managing Sarcopenia?

Both food and physical activity are critical for building and maintaining muscle mass. Without the right nutrition, muscle cannot be synthesized when you exercise. Without exercise, there’s no stimulus for the muscle to build, no matter how much nutrition is provided. You need both physical activity and the right nutrition.

  • Opt for Protein-Rich Foods: Incorporate sources of high-quality protein such as lean meats, fish, eggs, legumes, and non-GMO tofu into your diet to support muscle maintenance and repair.
  • Maintain a Balanced Diet: Ensure your meals include a variety of nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats to support overall health and muscle function.
  • Hydrate Wisely: Stay adequately hydrated throughout the day to optimize muscle performance and recovery.
  • Consider Vitamin D: Monitor your vitamin D levels and consider supplementation if necessary to promote muscle health and strength, especially if sunlight exposure is limited. Vitamin D dosages should be adjusted based on your blood level with many clinicians recommending an optimal Vitamin D level of 50-80 ng/ml. Vitamin D Labs (affiliate link) can be ordered in the NutriScape Lab Shop.
  • Limit Alcohol Intake: Limit alcohol consumption to avoid negative impacts on muscle function and nutrient absorption.
  • Engage in Strength Training: Integrate resistance exercises like weightlifting or resistance band workouts into your routine to preserve and build muscle mass effectively.
  • Refrain from Smoking: Avoid smoking or quit if you currently smoke to safeguard your muscle health and overall well-being.
  • Stay Active: Engage in regular physical activity, including activities like walking, swimming, or cycling, to enhance muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Prioritize Sleep Quality: Ensure you get sufficient quality sleep each night to support muscle repair and recovery processes.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Consult with experts such as dietitians and physical therapists for tailored advice on effectively managing sarcopenia and optimizing muscle health.
  • Manage Chronic Conditions: Work closely with healthcare providers to manage any chronic illnesses you may have, as they can affect muscle health and function.

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article aims to offer valuable insights into which nutritional supplements have undergone scientific study and shown promise in supporting specific health conditions. We break down the research, so you can work with your medical providers to make informed decisions about adding supplements to your health regimen. For personalized advice tailored to your needs, we recommend consulting with a registered dietitian in addition to your primary care provider.

Check with your physician when adding supplements. While supplements are generally safe for most people, do not add nutritional supplements without your physician’s specific approval if you are pregnant or nursing, are undergoing cancer treatment, have a history of organ transplant, liver or kidney disease, or take medications that interact with supplements.

Several nutritional supplements can be beneficial for individuals with sarcopenia:

  • Protein Supplements: Read the linked article to find food sources of protein and to figure out how much you need. If you are finding it difficult to meet your protein needs with food alone, there are many protein supplements. These are available in various forms like powders or shakes and can provide extra protein to support muscle maintenance and repair. Whey protein is a popular choice due to its high quality and quick absorption. PMC11013298
  • Essential Amino Acids: These amino acids, particularly leucine, play a crucial role in stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Supplementing with essential amino acids can support muscle maintenance and repair, especially if dietary protein intake is inadequate. PMID: 16507602
  • Creatine: This supplement has been found to increase muscle mass and strength, especially when combined with resistance training. It’s particularly helpful for older adults looking to enhance muscle performance. PMC6921011
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in supplements like fish oil capsules, omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce muscle inflammation and improve overall muscle function in individuals with sarcopenia. PMC10381755
  • Vitamin D: Many older adults have low levels of vitamin D, which is associated with weakened muscles and reduced muscle mass. Supplementing with vitamin D can help improve muscle strength and function, especially in those with deficiencies. PMID: 32219739, PMC7603112
  • HMB (β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate): This compound, a metabolite of the amino acid leucine, stimulates muscle protein synthesis and decreases muscle protein breakdown. It’s beneficial for preserving muscle mass, especially when combined with resistance training. PMID: 37248756
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): CoQ10 is an antioxidant that aids in cellular energy production. Some research suggests it may benefit muscle function in individuals with sarcopenia. PMC5132250
  • L-carnitine: L-carnitine helps transport fatty acids into mitochondria for energy production. Studies have investigated its potential to improve muscle function and reduce fatigue in older adults. /PMID: 37310107 /PMC6396356
  • Beta-alanine: This amino acid combines with histidine to form carnosine, which buffers muscle acidity during exercise. Research has explored its effects on muscle function in older adults with sarcopenia. /PMC3257613 /PMC3374124
  • Antioxidants: Supplements like vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which are linked to muscle aging and sarcopenia. /PMID: 36099667 /PMC7353446 /PMC7151174

Vibration Plate Exercise Machines for Sarcopenia

Vibration plate exercise machines are gaining attention as a useful tool for managing sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass, strength, and function. These plates work by generating vibrations that cause muscles to contract reflexively. This offers a low-impact form of strength training. Studies suggest that regular use of vibration plates can lead to improvements in muscle mass and strength, though results can vary based on the frequency and duration of use.

Accessibility for All Abilities: One of the significant advantages of vibration plates is their accessibility. People who have mobility issues, even those who use walkers, can benefit from these machines. Standing or sitting on the vibration plate can help to activate muscle fibers, which is crucial for those who might find traditional exercise challenging.

Strength and Balance Improvement: For people with sarcopenia and osteoporosis, maintaining or improving muscle strength and balance is vital for preventing a potentially catastrophic fall. Vibration plates can stimulate muscle growth and enhance neuromuscular performance. This stimulation is particularly critical for improving lower body strength and balance to reduce the risk of falls.

Adaptability and Safety: It is important for users, especially those with severe mobility restrictions, to consult healthcare providers before starting to use a vibration plate. Adjustments in the frequency and amplitude of the vibrations can make the use of these machines safe and effective for people with varying degrees of sarcopenia and mobility. Ensuring proper posture and alignment while using the machine is crucial to maximize benefits and minimize the risk of injury.

When you purchase linked products presented on this page, Supplement Sciences, LLC receives affiliate fees so that our dietitians can continue to create great content.

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Exercise Vibration Plates on Amazon

A vibration plate exercise machine allows a person with low muscle mass to simply stand or even sit on the plate. The price of vibration plates ranges from about $130 to $200.

Order Supplements For Managing Sarcopenia

Why Professionals Choose the Fullscript Formulary

Your health is on the line. Health professionals know that many other online and retail options set a very low bar for quality–sometimes amazingly low. The Fullscript formulary is the most secure online source for the highest quality brands securely sourced to assure freshness and purity. Here’s what makes Fullscript the best:

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  • Free shipping over $50 and best prices when you order through Supplement Sciences.
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  • How It Works:
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Supplement Safety Information

When used responsibly, nutritional supplements like protein supplements, creatine, and vitamin D are generally safe for individuals managing sarcopenia. These supplements undergo rigorous testing and quality control measures to ensure their safety and efficacy. However, it’s crucial to follow recommended dosage guidelines and seek guidance from a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation regimen, especially for older adults or those with underlying health conditions. By incorporating these supplements into a comprehensive management plan under the supervision of a healthcare provider, individuals can safely harness their potential benefits to support muscle health and overall well-being.

Medication Interactions:

  • Warfarin (Coumadin): Vitamin K supplements can interfere with the anticoagulant effects of warfarin, possibly affecting blood clotting levels. Close monitoring of INR levels is advised to prevent clotting abnormalities.
  • Diuretics (e.g., Hydrochlorothiazide): Creatine supplements may cause water retention, which can exacerbate the effects of diuretics, leading to fluid imbalance or electrolyte disturbances. Regular monitoring of fluid status and electrolyte levels is recommended.
  • Lithium (Lithobid): Creatine supplements may elevate lithium levels in the body, increasing the risk of lithium toxicity. Monitoring of lithium levels and adjustment of dosage may be necessary.
  • Calcium Channel Blockers (e.g., Amlodipine): High doses of calcium supplements may reduce the effectiveness of calcium channel blockers, may lead to inadequate blood pressure control. Regular blood pressure monitoring and adjustment of medication dosage may be required.
  • Thyroid Hormone Medications (e.g., Levothyroxine): High doses of iodine supplements, found in some multivitamins, can interfere with thyroid hormone absorption, affecting the effectiveness of thyroid medication. Monitoring of thyroid hormone levels and adjustment of dosage may be necessary.
  • Orlistat (Xenical, Alli): Fat-soluble vitamin supplements, like vitamin D, may have reduced absorption when taken with orlistat, might lead to vitamin deficiencies. Adjusting supplemental vitamin intake may be necessary.
  • ACE Inhibitors (e.g., Lisinopril): Potassium supplements can increase serum potassium levels, may lead to hyperkalemia when combined with ACE inhibitors. Regular monitoring of potassium levels is advised.
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin): High doses of calcium supplements may elevate digoxin levels, increasing the risk of digoxin toxicity. Monitoring of digoxin levels and dosage adjustment may be necessary.
  • Methotrexate (Rheumatrex): Folic acid supplements may interfere with the effectiveness of methotrexate, reducing its therapeutic effects in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis. Monitoring of disease activity and medication dosage adjustment may be required.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Long-term NSAID use can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, which may be compounded by concurrent use of glucosamine or chondroitin supplements due to their antiplatelet effects. Monitoring for signs of gastrointestinal bleeding is recommended.

Supplement Interactions:

  • Calcium Supplements: Taking calcium supplements alongside iron supplements may reduce the absorption of iron in the body, could lead to iron deficiency anemia. It’s advisable to take these supplements at different times to maximize absorption.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D supplements can enhance the absorption of calcium in the body, making it important to ensure adequate calcium intake to maximize the benefits of vitamin D.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids may enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin D, possibly synergizing to support muscle health and function.
  • Protein Supplements: Combining protein supplements with creatine may enhance muscle protein synthesis and promote muscle strength and recovery. This combination can be particularly beneficial for individuals with sarcopenia.
  • Creatine: Creatine supplements may complement the effects of protein supplements in supporting muscle growth and strength, making them a valuable combination for managing sarcopenia.
  • Magnesium Supplements: Magnesium supplements may enhance the absorption of calcium in the body, possibly synergizing with calcium supplements to support bone and muscle health.
  • B-vitamin Complex: B-vitamin complex supplements, particularly B12 and folic acid, may work synergistically with protein supplements to support muscle repair and energy metabolism, aiding in the management of sarcopenia.
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements may have anti-inflammatory effects that complement the muscle-supporting properties of omega-3 fatty acids, may benefit individuals with sarcopenia.
  • Antioxidant Supplements: Antioxidant supplements such as vitamin C and vitamin E may work synergistically with omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, supporting muscle health and function in individuals with sarcopenia.
  • Coenzyme Q10: Coenzyme Q10 supplements may enhance the antioxidant effects of vitamin E, may provide additional support for muscle health and function in individuals with sarcopenia.
  • Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB): Combining HMB supplements with protein supplements may have synergistic effects on muscle protein synthesis, supporting muscle growth and strength in individuals with sarcopenia.
  • Arginine: Arginine supplements may complement the effects of creatine in enhancing muscle performance and recovery, could benefit individuals with sarcopenia.

Food First!

Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.

Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.

To Sum It Up

Sarcopenia is linked to increased mortality rates, mainly due to its association with greater physical frailty and a higher likelihood of falls and injuries. Along with physical activity to create the stimulus for muscle development, nutrition is critical. Protein, omega-3 fatty acids, creatine, vitamin D, and other nutritional interventions offer significant benefits for managing sarcopenia. These supplements support muscle maintenance, repair, and function, helping to counteract age-related muscle loss and improve overall quality of life. To make the most of these benefits, it’s important to seek guidance from a Registered Dietitian. They can provide personalized advice and ensure safe and effective use of supplements as part of a comprehensive management plan for sarcopenia.

This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.

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