We already know that our muscles shrink as we grow older. But it has remained to be a mystery why our muscles shrink-until now.
According to a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, muscle breakdown is said to be rooted from the reduced blood flow in the muscles as one grows older, leading to loss of muscle mass and strength.
In the said study conducted by the researchers at the University of Nottingham in England, it has been discovered that since amino acid and proteins are delivered to the muscle tissues through the bloodstream, the reduced manner of the said process greatly affects muscle build up as one grows older. Because of this, not only does one lose his strength, but as well as increase the likelihood of injury, such as falling.
The subjects in the said study included a group of people who are in their late 60s and a group of people ranging around the age of 25. The main category taken into consideration is the effects of insulin for each group, as it is the hormone released to retard muscle breakdown after eating.
The participants were examined before they had breakfast, and after they were given a small amount of insulin to raise the hormone to a certain level. The researchers then performed blood analysis to see how much of the amino acid was delivered to the leg and how much was leaving it behind.
The results showed that younger people’s muscles were more equipped to use the insulin to stop muscle breakdown, as compared to those of older people. The results also showed that the blood flow in the leg was greater in younger people than in older people, suggesting that the supply rate of nutrients and hormones is way lower in those who have aged.
In another study, the same research team discovered that three exercise sessions per week for over 20 weeks is enough to reverse the muscle wastage among older people, as they increase the blood flow to the legs of older people to a similar level as that in younger people.