Diet quality in the battle against sarcopenia

The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging recently published ‘Low levels of branched chain amino acids, EPA and micronutrients are associated with low muscle mass, strength and function in community-dwelling older adults.’

Sarcopenia in an ageing population

Sarcopenia is thought to affect 30% of those aged 60 years and older1. As we age, our muscle mass, strength and function tends to diminish. If this is not addressed it can develop into sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass and muscle function, which is recognized as a geriatric syndrome. Sarcopenia may result in detrimental health outcomes including a loss of independence.

As the world’s population ages, there is a need for a strategy to stop or prevent sarcopenia and support active ageing. This is also why dietary strategies are increasingly studied, as nutrition is recognized as an important element in helping to manage sarcopenia. Previous studies have shown associations between nutrient intake and muscle parameters, however, few studies have explored the age-related changes in biochemical nutrient status, nutrient absorption and metabolism.

Objective study

The objective of the present study in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging is to understand whether there is an association between biochemical nutrient status markers and muscle parameters and sarcopenia. In total, 227 community-dwelling participants were included within the age range of 65 – 95 years.


The study shows that muscle parameters are associated with blood values of specific amino acids, fatty acids, vitamin D and homocysteine. Although further research on the cause-effect relationship is needed, this study suggests that diet quality, meaning the quality of the dietary protein and fat sources and micronutrient intake, may affect muscle health and potentially the prevention of sarcopenia.


Baumgartner RN, Koehler KM, Gallagher D, et al. Epidemiology of sarcopenia among the elderly in New Mexico. American Journal of Epidemiology 1998; 147:755–763.