Once we reach 40 years old, some of us will start to notice changes in our muscle strength and joint mobility. These changes are not simply a figment of our imagination, according to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers in Baltimore, Maryland, but a real phenomenon.
Loss of Muscle Will Damage Our Health
The Johns Hopkins researchers claim that from the age of 40 years old, many of us will start losing lean muscle mass, with up to 50% of muscle mass having been lost by the time we turn 80yrs, and this can have profound consequences for our health and wellbeing as we age.
Our muscle is one of the most metabolically active tissues in our body and uses up and burns the bulk of our circulating blood glucose before the body can turn it into fat.
Additionally, strong and healthy muscles can also help to compensate for joint issues by supporting joint ligaments that can often stretch and slacken with age, causing mobility issues, all of which accelerate a condition known as “age-related frailty”.
While some amount of loss in lean muscle mass is to be expected as we age, for many of us, poor lifestyle choices, lack of regular exercise, reduced mobility due to joint pain, and a reduced protein intake as we age, contribute to accelerating the process, resulting in a condition called sarcopenia. This is the term used by doctors to define an “accelerated loss in skeletal muscle mass with age,” and this is a really big deal for doctors who specialize in helping and treating older adults.
Increase Protein Intake As We Age
Maintaining a healthy diet consisting of high-quality lean protein and consuming around 1.6g of protein per kg of body weight is a good start. Avoid protein sources that also contain a high-fat saturated content, however. Use lean cuts of quality meat or fish, consider adding a reputable and high-quality whey protein powder to your meal routine as this will be a big advantage in meeting your daily protein needs.
Astaxanthin Preserves Muscle
For those who want a more clinically effective way to protect their lean muscle mass (i.e., skeletal muscle) as they age, then a natural compound called astaxanthin might prove to be the best bet.
In 2018, researchers within the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, tested the effect of 12mg of astaxanthin in older healthy subjects for 12 weeks, and the results were impressive.
Astaxanthin significantly improved both muscle strength and size of muscles (as measured in cross-sectional area or CSA) in these healthy older subjects. In addition, astaxanthin improved their endurance and the distance walked, meaning that the stride length increased, and they were able to walk further. The researchers concluded that taking just 12mg of astaxanthin daily, combined with exercise, uniquely improved muscle strength, endurance, and mobility.
Green-Lipped Mussel Oil Protects Joints
But for many, simply improving muscle strength and endurance is useless if joint pain and a lack of joint mobility and flexibility prevent exercise. In fact, it is a progressive, age-related loss of joint mobility and increase in joint pain that speeds up the process of muscle loss and sarcopenia. The two conditions are closely associated and go hand in hand.
For the management of joint pain, the clinical data supports green-lipped mussel oil with a 2021 meta-analysis review of previously published clinical studies concluding the value of New Zealand green-lipped (Perna canaliculus) extract providing meaningful and effective pain relief in those people with osteoarthritis.
The Dynamic Duo of an Active Lifestyle
So if you are over 40 yrs old, and you want to know the ideal combination of supplements to maintain a healthy and physically active lifestyle as you age, then we strongly suggest 12mg of astaxanthin and 120mg of green-lipped mussel oil per day.
Regular use of this “dynamic duo” of supplements will work synergistically to ensure that joints retain optimal flexibility and mobility while you undertake the exercise and physical activity. In turn, this increased physical activity will ensure you are maintaining and promoting proper muscle function and activity, which the astaxanthin can then protect from age-related muscle loss. That is how astaxanthin and green-lipped mussel oil have become known as the “dynamic duo” in age related medicine and healthcare.