Skeleton Pirate

Skeleton Pirate
Artist: LindaB


Have you experienced, or read about, negative, and even dangerous, side effects from Fosamax (alendronate), Boniva (ibandronate), Actonel (risedronate), and other bisphosphonates prescribed for osteoporosis? If you have, then rest assured there is a safe, effective treatment for this condition. Strontium, primarily in the form of strontium citrate, is taken orally once a day.

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Treating Sarcopenia

Sarcopenia is, in its most literal sense, the loss of muscle mass, strength and function related to aging.  Most commonly seen in inactive people, sarcopenia also affects those who remain physically active throughout their lives. This indicates although a sedentary lifestyle contributes to this disease, it's not the only factor. In addition, as we age:
  • hormone levels change
  • protein requirements alter
  • motor neurons die
  • and we tend to become more sedentary 

These factors in combination are thought to cause sarcopenia. The figure shows normal muscle mass on left, muscle wasting on right.

There are currently no approved drug treatments for sarcopenia. Research is now focusing on the role of physical activity, nutrition, supplements, and potential future medications that may be used to treat or prevent sarcopenia.

In a review of literature, worsening sarcopenia followed trends in losses of muscle strength as well as impairment of daily functioning. In one study, the prevalence of sarcopenia increased dramatically with age from 4 % of men and 3 % of women aged 70-75 to 16 % of men and 13 % of women aged 85 or older.

More importantly, when sarcopenia is coupled with other diseases associated with aging, its effects can be even more pronounced. Loss of muscle mass and strength is a significant risk factor for disability in the aging population. When patients suffer from both sarcopenia and osteoporosis, the risk of falling and subsequent fracture incidence is higher. Therefore, treating sarcopenia will in turn help to lessen its burden on co-existing diseases.

After a program of resistance training is introduced, research shows that motor neuron firing and protein synthesis (both of which are needed in building muscle mass) increase even in the elderly. These changes indicate it is possible to rebuild muscle strength even at an advanced age.

Aerobic exercise also appears to aid in the fight against sarcopenia.

Adequate nutrition plays a major role in treating sarcopenia. Research has shown older adults may need more protein per kilogram than their younger counterparts to maintain proper levels that reinforce muscle mass. Protein intake of 1.0-1.2 g/kg of body weight per day is probably optimum for older adults. This theory, coupled with the fact that older adults tend to take in fewer calories in general, may lead to pronounced protein deficiency as well as deficiency of other important nutrients. Therefore, maintaining adequate protein intake as well as adequate caloric intake is an important facet of the treatment of this disease.

Diets rich in acid producing foods (meat and cereal grains) and low in non-acid producing foods (fruits and vegetables) have been shown to have negative effects on muscle mass. As mentioned above, protein is important, but a diet high in meat and cereal grains should be balanced with a diet high in fruits and vegetable (nonacid-producing foods) in order to be effective in treating sarcopenia.

There is some evidence to support that creatine supplements can also aid in muscle development for older adults that are following a resistance training program.

Maintaining appropriate blood levels of vitamin D may also aid in maintaining muscle strength and physical performance.

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Wandering Skeleton

Wandering Skeleton
Artist: Joel Hoekstra

Osteoporotic Bone

Osteoporotic Bone

How Strontium Builds Bones

Strontium is a mineral that tends to accumulate in bone. Studies have shown that oral doses of strontium are a safe and effective way to prevent and reverse osteoporosis. Doses of 680 mg per day appear to be optimal. See my "For More Information About Strontium" links section.

Osteoporosis is caused by changes in bone production. In healthy young bones there is a constant cycle of new bone growth and bone removal. With age, more bone is removed and less new bone is produced. The bones become less dense and thus more fragile.

Scientists believe that strontium works in two ways. It may stimulate the replication of pre-osteoblasts, leading to an increase in osteoblasts (cells that build bone). Strontium also directly inhibits the activity of osteoclasts (cells that break down bone). The result is stronger bones.

When taking strontium, be sure to take 1200 mg calcium, 1000 IU vitamin D3, and 500 mg magnesium daily. It is best to take strontium late at night on an empty stomach. Calcium and strontium may compete with each other for absorption if taken together.