COVID-19 Update : Sarcopenia and Covid-19, Not Good Together

Hello everyone:

So, what the heck is sarcopenia? It is defined as the loss of muscle tissue as a part of aging or lifestyles with inadequate physical activity. Why is this a bad thing? Because people who have decreased muscle mass are missing certain signaling components needed for a healthy immune response. In other words, loss of muscle mass is a comorbidity that may result in more severe Covid-19. Here are some quotes from the link below:

“The role of skeletal muscle mass in modulating immune response and supporting metabolic stress has been increasingly confirmed. Patients with sarcopenia, characterized by reduced muscle mass and muscle strength, were reported to have poor immune response and metabolic stress when facing acute infection, major surgeries, and other attacks. Based on empirical data, patients with sarcopenia are speculated to have increased infection rates and dismal prognoses amid the current 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic. COVID-19 infection also aggravates sarcopenia because of the increased muscle wasting caused by systematic inflammation and the reduced physical activity and inadequate nutrient intake caused by social isolation. Notably, the interventions targeting skeletal muscle are anticipated to break the vicious circle and benefit the treatment of both conditions. 

 A balanced nutritional formula including adequate protein intake with regular physical exercise (aerobic and resistance) should be achieved to prevent the development of sarcopenia and promote the community prevention of COVID-19.”

Bottom Line:

As part of a prevention strategy, it seems like an excellent idea to keep your muscle mass up to par. Sarcopenia is a modifiable risk factor for many conditions besides resiliency against infection, but can also include issues such as blood sugar, weight control, cognition, depression, anxiety, bone density, heart and vascular health and more. Taking care of your muscles has tremendous potential for increasing your overall health in multiple dimensions, and now is an especially important time to make sure your health is optimal…so get moving and keep your muscles healthy. Join a gym, workout at home, go to yoga classes (my personal favorite as it is low impact but high benefit) but do something at least 3 x per week.

PS: Notice in this paper that they lump together both physical activities and nutritional support…a wise way to go!

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