Calvani R, Miccheli A, Landi F, et al.

J Frailty Aging 2013;2:38-53

Publication date: March 1, 2013


Older age is linked with significant changes in body composition, the most notable of which is loss of skeletal muscle, or sarcopenia. Adults over 35 lose muscle mass at a rate of 1-2% per year, a rate which increases to 3% after age 60. Thus, optimal nutrition and dietary strategies are critical in subjects with advancing age since sarcopenia is a determinant of significant mortality and morbidity.

Calvani and colleagues present a comprehensive review that aims to (1) assess the current knowledge base of nutrition as a countermeasure for sarcopenia, (2) discuss the mechanisms of action behind current dietary agents on ageing muscle, and (3) propose novel strategies in nutrition that may preserve muscle mass and function as people grow older.

The authors suggest that for nutritional interventions to be effective against sarcopenia, they should meet several specific criteria such as ensuring adequate caloric intake and nutrients; account for a person’s age, sex, health status, and other criteria; provide the optimal quality and quantity of nutrients; and be implemented long enough to impact muscle health. The roles of several novel nutritional targets are discussed, including amino acid metabolites and precursors; omega-3 fatty acids; nitrate and nitrate-rich foods; ursolic acid; and caloric restriction mimetics, exercise mimetics and gymnomimetics