Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Keeping In Good Shape In Old Age Is Harder For Women, Study Finds

Date:
March 26, 2008
Source:
University of Nottingham
Summary:
Women aged 65-plus find it harder than men of the same age to preserve muscle -- which probably impacts on their ability to stay as strong and fit, according to new research.

Women aged 65-plus find it harder than men of the same age to preserve muscle -- which probably impacts on their ability to stay as strong and fit, according to new research.

Related Articles


For the first time, scientists have shown that it is more difficult for women to replace muscle that is lost naturally as they get older -- because of key differences in the way their bodies react to food.

Experts at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, USA and The University of Nottingham, UK discovered that post-menopausal women were less able to respond to food to build muscle mass whereas men of the same age (65-80 years old) were able to store protein in muscle. The change is probably the result of hormonal changes with the menopause -- a possible culprit being that of the hormone estrogen which is already known to be needed in women and men to help maintain bone mass.

The researchers say their findings fit in with other preliminary results showing that women are less able to respond to build muscle after resistance exercise -- lifting weights in the gym. Younger men and women who have not reached the menopause do not seem to show any differences.

But all is not lost. The new results underline the importance for older women of eating plenty of protein such as eggs, fish, chicken and lean red meat, in conjunction with resistance exercise.

Maintaining muscle is crucial in reducing the risk of falls -- one of the major causes of premature death in elderly people. From the age of 50 onwards, people lose up to 0.4 per cent of muscle mass every year making them less mobile, more prone to fractures and at higher risk of a potentially life-threatening fall.

Half of all elderly people who suffer a serious fall die within two years. But it is thought the number of falls could be reduced if muscle mass could be more effectively maintained so that hips and knees remain strong and well supported.

Up until now, scientists have found no differences between men and women in muscle protein synthesis -- the process by which the body builds muscle. But the latest research has found that in their mid- to late-60s, the female body's response to food and exercise starts to decline. Women are particularly at risk of muscle loss because they tend to have less muscle and more fat than men in early and middle age -- so they are nearer to the 'danger' threshold of becoming frail when they reach their 50s and 60s.

Michael Rennie, Professor of Clinical Physiology at The University of Nottingham, said: "Nobody has ever discovered any mechanistic differences between men and women in muscle loss before. This is a significant finding for the maintenance of better health in old age and reducing demands on the National Health Service.

"Rather than eating more, older people should focus on eating a higher proportion of protein in their everyday diet. In conjunction with resistance exercise, this should help to reduce the loss of muscle mass over time. There is also a case for the beneficial hormonal effect of limited HRT, although this has to be balanced against the other risks associated with such treatment."

The researchers at The University of Nottingham UK and Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, USA, whose work was funded by US National Institutes of Health, studied 29 men and women aged 65-80 who were in good health. The full published article can be viewed in PLoS One at http://www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0001875


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nottingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Nottingham. "Keeping In Good Shape In Old Age Is Harder For Women, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325212834.htm>.
University of Nottingham. (2008, March 26). Keeping In Good Shape In Old Age Is Harder For Women, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325212834.htm
University of Nottingham. "Keeping In Good Shape In Old Age Is Harder For Women, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325212834.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins