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Muscle Health and Vitality - Chapter 2 - Nutrition

As mentioned in our previous post - if you missed it click here - a proper protein intake is crucial for the construction and maintenance of muscle mass. If insufficient, the body will lack enough amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) to keep up with the continuous breakdown and reconstruction (metabolism) of various cells (muscles, blood, hormones, etc.).

If an adequate amount of protein is not obtained from the diet, the body must draw from muscle reserves to obtain the necessary amino acids to sustain other cells and tissues, resulting in muscle loss.

So what is nutrition and why is it so important?

Understanding Amino Acids: Building Blocks for Your Body

Let's us with understanding what Amino Acids are and why they are so important.

For those unfamiliar, amino acids are the fundamental building blocks that constitute proteins, playing a pivotal role in the intricate dance of life within our bodies. These compounds are essential for various physiological functions, acting as the foundation for the construction and repair of tissues, including muscles, blood, and hormones.

Amino acids are often likened to the bricks in a construction project, where proteins serve as the completed structures. There are twenty different amino acids, each possessing unique characteristics and functions. However, our bodies can produce only some of them, termed non-essential amino acids. The remaining amino acids, known as essential amino acids, must be obtained through our diet.

These essential amino acids are crucial for the synthesis of proteins, supporting the continuous breakdown and reconstruction (metabolism) of cells. In the context of muscle health, ensuring an adequate intake of these essential amino acids is vital to prevent the body from tapping into muscle reserves, a process that can lead to muscle loss.

In essence, amino acids are the molecular architects that shape the proteins necessary for the proper functioning and maintenance of our bodies. Whether obtained from animal or plant sources, understanding and ensuring a balanced intake of these building blocks is key to supporting overall health and well-being.


For instance, in a study, sedentary or moderately active elderly women following a diet with a low protein content (1.47 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day) lost approximately 14% of their muscle mass after nine weeks.

It is crucial to educate oneself and take control of one's diet, understanding the constituents of what we consume. Essentially, food is composed of carbohydrates (various types of sugars), fats (saturated and unsaturated), and proteins (animal or vegetable, with animal proteins generally being of higher quality, requiring a smaller volume).

For those following a vegan lifestyle, ensuring a proper intake of alternative proteins is essential. Plant-based protein sources such as legumes (beans, lentils), tofu, tempeh, quinoa, and soy products offer viable alternatives. These proteins provide essential amino acids and contribute to muscle health.

In summary, regardless of dietary preferences, it is essential to ensure an adequate protein intake to prevent the loss of muscle tissue, a challenge often associated with advancing age. For those adopting a vegan lifestyle, incorporating diverse plant-based proteins ensures a well-rounded and balanced approach to maintaining muscle health.


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