Keeping Skeletal Muscle Healthy during Aging

Boosting NAD+ levels may one of the keys 

Skeletal muscle is the muscle in the human body that is attached to bone by tendons. These muscles enable one to move, help with posture and breathing. As one ages, they may be thinking about keeping their muscles strong. Aging causes muscle strength and size to diminish, which may cause weakness, fatigue and find it is more difficult to exercise. 

In order to move, skeletal muscle uses a large amount of glucose and fatty acids to produce energy. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is involved in this pathway that manufacturers ATP energy. NAD+ is important for the brain, cardiovascular health, the immune system, sleep, repairing DNA, but also is critically important for muscle growth, muscle cell regeneration and aging. Research shows that low NAD+ levels are detrimental to muscle health and increased levels amplify it (Goody MF, Henry CA, 2018). 

NAD+ is essential to muscle contraction. Research demonstrates that NAD+ has numerous roles in muscle function during aging including the movement of calcium, lysosome function and other functions. Within the cell, there is a nucleus where NAD+ is needed for certain sirtuin activities (Goody MF, Henry CA, 2018). 

Sirtuins function to help control the expression of genes and the function of proteins. Sirtuins are important for the health of muscle as well as other cells. 

NAD+ has been shown to decrease in the body with age, and through research it has been shown that the reduction in skeletal muscle mass and function could be caused by the decrease and possibly the lower bioavailability of NAD+ (Goody MF, Henry CA, 2018). 

Protection during the aging process 

Oxidative stress is involved in the aging process, influencing both physiological and biochemical performance (Masudi 2012). As one ages, there is a rise in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production within muscle tissue increasing oxidative damage (Aoi W, Sakuma K, 2011). Research shows that the oxidative stress influences energy metabolism and the breakdown of protein, which leads to muscle mass reduction and problems with the metabolic pathway (Aoi W, Sakuma K, 2011).

Throughout life, an objective should be to exercise daily and eat a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants to strengthen muscles and reduce oxidative damage. NAD+ plays a major role in reducing oxidative damage in the body. 

Boosting NAD+ 

Nicotinamide is the water-soluble form of vitamin B3, which is involved in the energy production pathway and is used to manufacture NAD+ (Fricker RA et al, 2018). Vitamin B3 is found in foods such as meat, eggs, fish and mushrooms. Tuna, salmon and sardines also help to boost NAD+. In addition, nicotinamide is produced from niacin by forming NAD+. 

Foods containing NAD+ precursors are important, but supplementation may also be beneficial. 

Also, NAD+ is manufactured in the body when the amino acid tryptophan is metabolized. 

If one has a medical condition and/or are on medication, they should check with their health care practitioner prior to taking any supplement. 

In summary, skeletal muscle is important in the body to help one to move, help with posture and breathing. Aging causes a reduction in muscle strength and size and also makes it more difficult to exercise. NAD+ is involved in the metabolic pathway to make ATP energy, important to muscles. To help boost levels one may eat more foods high in vitamin B3 and also take NAD+ supplements. 

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. 

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