[NewsQuest = Gohebydd Gwyddoniaeth Kim Hyung-geun]From a biological point of view, human beings are never equal. Not everyone ages at the same rate. It is a story that everyone’s biological age is different.
For example, even though they are 50 years old, there are people who are as healthy as those in their 30s, and there are also weak people who are close to 70 years old.
Why? It may be because some people are born healthy thanks to their genes, and it may be because they take good care of their bodies and protect them by giving up smoking and drinking alcohol.
Cells shrink with age… As muscle cells shrink, their strength also weakens.
Indeed, the old saying that to live long and die quickly depends on heaven. Rather, it is a time when the person in control lives longer.
As we age, certain signs of aging are evident in our bodies. Molecular and cellular changes occur. It impairs body functions and increases the risk of age-related diseases.
Meanwhile, there are facts that have been scientifically revealed. These include genomic instability, shortening of telomeres, referred to as the body’s lifespan clock, epigenetic changes, and mitochondrial dysfunction.
There are a number of internal and external factors for this. Therefore, the rate of aging is different, and the risk of disease and death is different.
Different lifestyle choices, such as diet and smoking, along with disease accelerate or slow down biological age.
A research team from the University of Michigan found for the first time that muscle weakness, characterized by grip strength, is associated with accelerated biological age.
To elaborate, the sudden decrease in grip strength, which refers to muscle strength, is in line with the fact that aging has come faster than other people.
Muscle strength is a measure of the rate of ageing, which is biological age.
The university team modeled the relationship between biological age and grip strength using three ‘age-accelerating clocks’ based on DNA methylation in 1274 middle-aged and older adults.
These watches are tools originally designed to provide molecular biomarkers and estimate the rate of aging in a variety of health-related conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, vascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other physical ailments.
As a result of the analysis, older men and women showed a significant association between reduced grip strength and accelerated biological age.
Professor Mark Peterson, who led the study, said: “We knew that muscle strength was a predictor of longevity and that it was also a strong indicator of morbidity and mortality. We found strong evidence.”
And then he added: “This suggests that if we maintain muscle strength throughout our lives, we may be able to protect against common age-related diseases.
“We know that smoking, for example, can be a strong predictor of morbidity and mortality, but now we know that muscle weakness could be the new smoking,” explained Professor Peterson.
Previous studies have shown that reduced grip strength is a very strong predictor of adverse health effects such as cardiovascular disease.
Combining these existing studies with new research from the University of Michigan could help clinicians adopt the use of grip strength as a means of screening individuals for their risk of functional decline, chronic disease and even premature death.
Link between muscle weakness and ‘accelerated ageing’
“Testing grip strength may be an opportunity to delay or prevent the onset or progression of these ‘age-related’ diseases,” said Professor Peterson.
So, why do muscles get weaker with age?
According to a recent study, ceramide, a type of sphingolipid, which is the second largest class of lipids that make up cell membranes, is known to accumulate in aged muscles and deteriorate their function.
A joint research team from the University of Helsinki in Finland and the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland discovered in a recent study and pointed to the accumulation of muscle sphingolipids as a new aging mechanism as the reason.
Ceramide is a commonly used ingredient in various skin care products because it plays a vital role in protecting the skin. However, the effect of this substance on aging has not been clearly identified so far.
As we age, the size of muscle tissue decreases and its function declines. A disease in which the skeletal muscles that make up the limbs decrease with age is called sarcopenia. It is a combination of sarco which means muscle and penia which means reduction.
The joint research team observed an increase in the amount of ceramide and other sphingolipid molecules in muscle tissue during the aging process.
Sphingolipids that cause muscle loss must be addressed through diet and exercise
Then the answer is simple. It is to reduce the ceramide lipid which causes muscle loss.
To do this, the research team administered myriocin, a drug known to inhibit ceramide production, to aged mice.
As a result, the mice slowed down sarcopenia, maintained muscle strength, improved balance and running ability. The mouse stem cells were differentiated into mature muscle fibres, leading to an increase in white muscle fibers which maintain muscle strength and speed.
A non-proteinaceous amino acid derived from certain thermophilic fungi, it has recently gained prominence as an ’emerging new substance’ that prevents aging and related diseases in general, not just muscle.
However, Professor Peterson emphasizes exercise and diet above all else. It is an urgent matter to investigate how lifestyle and behavioral factors, such as food intake and physical activity, can affect the weakening of grip strength and accelerated aging.
“Healthy eating habits are very important, but I believe regular exercise is the most important thing anyone can do to stay healthy throughout their life,” he stressed.
Food is much better than medicine. What you eat is important. And lifestyle habits such as quitting smoking and abstaining from alcohol are important. Adding exercise to this will be the best way to build muscle.