Muscle

The Role of Dairy in Maintaining Adult Bone and Skeletal Muscle Health

Food.MilkUnderstanding that diets are often built around food groups rather than specific nutrients, researchers from Switzerland, France, and North America decided to examine interactions between four nutrients found in dairy products and their role in preserving bone and skeletal muscle.

Calcium (Ca), inorganic phosphate (Pi), vitamin D, and protein are nutrients that impact bone and skeletal muscle integrity. Deficiency in the supply of these nutrients increases with aging. Dairy foods are rich in Ca, Pi, and proteins and in many countries are fortified with vitamin D. Dairy foods are important sources of these nutrients and go a long way to meeting the recommendations, which increase with aging.

While bone health is often associated with calcium alone, Calcium’s interactions with inorganic phosphate, vitamin D, and protein are important components of beneficial dairy consumption. Combined vitamin D and calcium supplementation has been shown to reduce the incidence of hip and other non-vertebral fractures among older populations, with some studies suggesting that vitamin D actually leads to lower rates of falling in subjects. Dietary protein, while often associated solely with muscle recovery, also promotes bone formation by stimulating both Ca and Pi intestinal absorption and the production of a bone growth factor.

Combining the four above-mentioned nutrients with physical activity decreases the likelihood of bone and muscle degeneration-related injury in older adults. Dairy products are a convenient way to work them into a diet, as they contain Ca, Pi, and protein at levels comparable to recommended intakes, and are fortified with vitamin D.

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Source: Taylor & Francis. “The role of dairy in maintaining adult bone and skeletal muscle health.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2014.

Older Adults: Build Muscle and You Will Live Longer

Body.MusclesThe more muscle mass older people have, the less likely they are to die prematurely, new research shows. The findings add to the growing evidence that overall body composition – and not the widely used body mass index, or BMI – is a better predictor of all-cause mortality. “In other words, the greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death,” said the study’s co-author. “Thus, rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.”

The body composition of the study subjects was measured using bioelectrical impedance, which involves running an electrical current through the body. Muscle allows the current to pass more easily than fat does, due to muscle’s water content. In this way, the researchers could determine a muscle mass index – the amount of muscle relative to height – similar to a body mass index. They looked at how this muscle mass index was related to the risk of death. They found that all-cause mortality was significantly lower in the fourth quartile of muscle mass index compared with the first quartile.

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Source: University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences. “Older adults: Build muscle and you’ll live longer.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2014.