"The best six doctors anywhere and no one can deny it are sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise and diet." - Wayne Fields
A new study that appeared in the Open Journal of Apoptosis
suggests that the best way to prevent or reduce the loss of skeletal muscle mass due to
aging is a combination of physical exercise, healthy diet, and caloric
. The researchers state that this combination could improve the
structure and function of muscle tissue through multiple mechanisms at the
A major threat to our ability to stay healthy with
advancing age is the gradual loss of muscle mass known as sarcopenia. The
condition affects 30 percent of people over the age of 60 years and more than
50 percent of those over the age of 80 years. Sarcopenia
not only prevents older adults from
performing the most basic daily tasks but also greatly increases their risk of
suffering devastating injuries.
Analysis of Age-related Apoptosis Pathways in Skeletal
Earlier studies have demonstrated that sarcopenia may be
due to a loss in total number of muscle fibers by apoptosis, a form of cell death
in which a programmed sequence of events leads to the elimination of cells. In
this latest study from the University of Catania, Italy, researchers focused on
the age-related apoptosis pathways in skeletal muscle and suggested that an
appropriate lifestyle with exercise and a healthy diet could prevent the muscle
Researchers observed that physical exercise caused an
increase in oxidative stress
which could damage
muscle. However, exercise also stimulates the adaptive response of the body to
oxidative stress. This protective response could be due to changes associated
with gene expression, an increase in cellular protective mechanisms and
remodeling of the muscle structure.
Different Types of Exercises and their Effects in
Skeletal Muscle Loss
The researchers also indicated how different types of
physical exercises differently interfere with the various molecular mechanisms
active in aging skeletal muscle.
Endurance exercises are physical activities like walking
and jogging that increase your breathing and heart rate for an extended period.
These activities can enhance protein synthesis, mitochondrial biogenesis - the
process by which new mitochondria are formed in the cell - and the release of
IL-6 resulting in inhibition of TNF-α production, thereby reducing apoptosis
and causing an anti-inflammatory effect.
The treadmill exercise training and the resistance
training (or strength training) can reduce the effect of both fiber atrophy - a
decrease in the mass of the muscle - and mechanisms associated with apoptosis
in aging skeletal muscle.
Also, strength training increases the activity of
mitochondrial enzymes and decreases skeletal muscle TNF-α in older individuals.
It has been seen that heat shock proteins synthesis is induced in skeletal
muscle by exercise. These proteins protect the muscle from damage due to stress
and promote healing.
Exercise with Healthy Diet
The researchers also feel that exercise should be
supported with a good diet to improve the antioxidant effect
muscle damage due to aging. The diet should not only be restricted in calories
but should also include some natural nutrients that have antioxidant
properties, such as carotenoids and oleic acid, they concluded.
Musumeci G, Imbesi R, Szychlinska MA, Castrogiovanni P.
Apoptosis and Skeletal Muscle in Aging. Open Journal of Apoptosis Vol.04 No.02(2015), Article ID:55867,5 pages 10.4236/ojapo.2015.42004