(AscendHealthy.com) – A person’s muscle strength can vary depending on their age, gender, and activity levels, but gradual loss is inevitable. We all age — and the older we get, the more likely we are to see our muscles shrink, especially among those of us who don’t exercise often enough. That may soon change. Research has uncovered a new potential use for a common protein, one that could help people build or maintain muscle mass without the workout.
Age-Related Muscle Changes
A few different factors contribute to muscle loss as we age. Changes in hormones, activity levels, and nutrition all work against a person more aggressively the older they get. By the time a person hits 70, they’re losing an average of 0.5% to 1% of their muscle mass every year — but the loss often begins long before that.
Exercise can help slow the progression, but not everyone is able to hit the gym or handle weights on a regular basis. Because of these limitations and others, some people may feel helpless about preserving what’s left of their strength.
The Role of Sestrins and Muscle Mass
Researchers are taking a closer look at a group of proteins the body produces called Sestrins. An article recently published in Nature shows raised levels of these proteins could offer effects similar to exercise, protecting muscle mass in people who are sedentary due to age, illness, or injury. Higher Sestrin levels can also improve endurance, making exercise feel less strenuous.
Sestrins can mimic the long-term effects of exercise as well, offering health benefits such as improved insulin sensitivity, nervous system protection, and more effective mitochondrial function. Combined with the benefits to muscle tone and endurance, higher Sestrin levels could help people age more gracefully and remain healthier longer.
In theory, a Sestrin supplement could help people gain muscle, even if they aren’t able to exercise regularly. Researchers still have a long way to go in fully understanding Sestrins and their different roles in human health, however, so we may not see anything on the market for some time. More research is likely needed to determine the proteins’ safety and limitations, but early findings are promising.
There may someday be a magic pill that genuinely can replace exercise, but until one comes out that’s both effective and safe, we don’t have many options. While we’re waiting, those of us who are able should practice regular endurance and strength training to keep our bodies as healthy and strong as possible. People suffering from chronic health conditions should seek guidance from a doctor before beginning any kind of exercise regimen.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
Copyright 2022, AscendHealthy.com