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Optimum Nutrition may Boost Muscle & Bone Health

Following Personal Body Composition Assessments I often work with clients to help improve their muscle and bone mass with the best nutrition. There are currently over 12 million elderly people living in the UK, with over 20% of our population predicted to be elderly by 2030. Alas falls are the largest cause of accident and emergency hospital admissions for this age group resulting in injury, distress, pain and sometimes loss of independence. Hip fracture is the most common serious injury, reason to need emergency surgery, and cause of accidental death, with only 31% of the elderly reporting the same standard of life as before their hip fracture. Therefore, good musculoskeletal health is vital for our elderly generation. As well as weight bearing exercise optimum nutrition may help to keep them on their feet.

Nutritionally, dietary protein is important in the prevention of sarcopenia (loss of muscle) and vitamin D and calcium in muscle and bone health and osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones).

Proteins are the building blocks of life and an important part of our diet being key to building and maintaining all types of body tissue, including muscle. Great sources of these muscle building and maintaining essential amino acids are eggs, dairy, lean meat, fish, beans and pulses.

Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble vitamins essential for calcium and phosphate gut absorption and homeostasis and, therefore, musculoskeletal health. The recommended 10 µg/day in the UK should be achieved via the diet, supplementation or exposure to sunlight. Dietary sources include fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks, fortified cereals & spreads and some mushrooms. Due to its major role in calcium absorption in the gut and bone deposition, deficiency can lead to osteoporosis and osteomalacia in adults. In the UK it recommends we all take a 10 µg/day supplement during winter months. Special groups, including those with little exposure to sunlight such as the frail, housebound or confined are advised to supplement all year round.

Calcium increases bone mass and plays a role in preventing osteoporosis, though as bone mass is laid down as an adolescent calcium intake as an individual nutrient maybe less important to the elderly with regards to musculoskeletal health. Of greater importance may be the relationship between calcium and vitamin D when it comes to bone health, especially risk of fracture. A potential vitamin D deficiency, leading to poor calcium absorption, may lead to calcium deficiency and hence reduced musculoskeletal health. The current advice of 700mg/day is the same for all adults regardless of age. Calcium is found in good supply in dairy, bread, many green leafy vegetables and salad.

We all have an elderly relative, neighbour or friend in our lives that we watch out for in one way or another. To look after their musculoskeletal health a diet rich in lean protein, calcium and Vitamin D may help to keep them on their feet.

If you would like help with boosting muscle or bone health please contact me for a discovery chat or consultation.

Happy eating,

Nina Thomas

Registered Associate Nutritionist

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