You’ll NEVER hear an 80 year old man or woman say “You know, I just really wish I just had less lean muscle mass."

Why we should care:

  1. Stability
  2. Glucose Metabolism
  3. Inflammation Control
  4. Cognition
I’ve told some of you about meeting Dion Friedland at a medical conference.  His energy and vitality were contagious, he was happily married & in excellent physical condition.  I thought he was around 60-65 years of age, and was shocked when he told me he was 80.  I interrogated him to get all his secrets, discussed his training regimen, dietary/lifestyle habits, etc. (He also said he didn’t need viagra & with a wink “and I don’t have any trouble there”)..
Lean muscle is simply the currency of longevity.  It’s more than aesthetics, or strength (though that one’s important), it also plays a huge role in maintaining metabolic health.  
Skeletal muscle mass loss occurs with time, as we age. (I refuse to standby and accept this). Sarcopenia (muscle wasting) does us no favors. If you're interested in living longer and better, you'll do everything you can to avoid loss of lean muscle.
Stability -an obvious necessity, but often not managed early enough.  That fall that happens later in life, sending you down a trajectory of long hospital stays, which are compounded by their own inherent risks, post-operative complications, impairing mobility, contributing to depression, shortening life.  
But poor lean muscle mass is also associated with poor cognition & dementia.  Whether that's correlation or causality, I frankly want to avoid that mess altogether, & that's what I want for all of you as well.  If we maintain robust physical health, yet don’t have our mental faculties to interact appropriately with our loved ones, recognize our grand/great grandchildren, what's the use?
A recent article from Gerontology (linked below), goes into depth on this subject.  Adequate skeletal muscle mass, physically active muscle, has been shown to increase myokine secretion, releasing BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor).  Lean muscle mass improves insulin sensitivity.
During my time in the Emergency Department, I was struck with something that is all the time so obvious, but most don’t back up to see the big picture.  It’s not new, I’ve noticed it for years.  All individuals, with chronic illness, or in poor health, have a poor lean muscle structure.  Every. Single. One.
Glucose Metabolism-  Centenarians have something in common, they metabolize glucose well.   The APOE gene ( tested on all of our patients), has multiple functions, cholesterol metabolism, glucose metabolism, Alzheimer's risks)  Those with the APOE 2 gene have been shown to metabolize glucose more efficiently. I’ve always been interested in those who have long, healthy lives, those who live in blue zones, etc. and learn from them, to glean information and reverse engineer and apply as much to my own life as possible, and pass that on to our clients.  

While building and maintaining a good lean muscle won’t guarantee you a life free of chronic disease (it’ll catch up to us all at some point, ….) but it’ll certainly build resilience & stack the odds in your favor for delaying the inevitable, allowing you to enjoy a longer, more vital life, like my friend Dion.

Build & maintain lean muscle- it’s something you can control & a must if you want to slow aging, enhance healthspan and lifespan.


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