The loss of muscle tissues is a common sign of aging and can often cause a number of health problems. Decreased muscle mass can lead to everything from limited mobility to frailty, both of which can have a significant impact on healthy aging. Now, however, a team of researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of New South Wales believe they may have found a way for seniors to reverse their muscles' aging process.
The study, which was published recently in the journal Cell, was focused on a chemical known as NAD, which typically drops as adults get older. Scientists found that by boosting NAD levels in two-year-old mice, the subjects soon saw muscles return to resemble those of six-month-old mice. Experts say this is similar to a 60-year-old having similar muscles as a 20-year-old. The results are certainly encouraging, and scientists say they could foresee a future where seniors can better maintain physical function.
"It was shocking how quickly it happened," said co-author Dr Nigel Turner. "If the compound is administered early enough in the ageing process, in just a week, the muscles of the older mice were indistinguishable from the younger animals."
Until then, however, seniors are not without options when it comes to maintaining muscle strength and function as they get older. There are many strength-building activities available to seniors, and in fact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that strength-building exercises become a part of a healthy lifestyle for seniors. Such activities offer numerous benefits ranging from helping mitigate arthritis pain to alleviating symptoms of depression.