By the time most people turn 80, they’ve lost up to 40% of their muscle mass.1
And many will wind up in nursing homes. Not because they’re sick. But because they are weak from muscle loss and lack of strength – called sarcopenia.
They become completely dependent on others.
I’ve seen many of my own patients struggle to maintain their independence. But I tell them that despite what they’ve been told… this is NOT a normal part of aging.
The good news is not only can sarcopenia be stopped — it can be reversed. And research proves it.
In a moment, I’ll share the top three nutrients that can help you regain lost muscle.
First let me tell you about a nutrient that allows you to retain the muscle and strength you have… It’s vitamin C – one of the most important, but often overlooked supplements you can take.
A new study from researchers at the University of East Anglia Medical school analyzed data from more than 13,000 people between 42 to 82 years old. They calculated their skeletal muscle mass and analyzed their vitamin C intakes from a seven-day food diary. They also examined the amount of vitamin C in their blood.
They determined that people with the highest amounts of vitamin C in their diet or blood had the greatest estimated skeletal muscle mass, compared to those with the lowest amounts.2
It’s not common knowledge, but as a reader of mine you already know that almost every person on the planet is deficient in vitamin C. Once upon a time, our bodies used to make this nutrient. But we lost that ability 60 million years ago.
And, our food source today … including fruits and vegetables… have been stripped of nutrients, including vitamin C.
A recent study found that nearly half of Americans are vitamin C deficient. And up to 17% show the most extreme form of deficiency – scurvy!3
The government’s recommended daily allowance of 60 mg a day is barely enough to protect you against a common cold, let alone retain your body’s skeletal muscle.
I suggest taking a liposomal-encapsulated supplement – anywhere between 3,000 and 8,000 mg daily.
But the easiest way to ensure you’re getting what you need is with IV therapy. You can infuse vitamin C at 100 times the concentration of oral supplements. IV therapy works fast… providing 15,000 mg in under an hour. It allows the nutrient to bypass your digestive system and go directly into your cells. And bioavailability is 100%.
If you’re interested in IV therapy, please call the Sears Institute at 561-784-7852.
2 easy ways to increase and protect muscle mass
Here’s the advice I give to my patients – and that I follow myself:
- Get more protein from your diet. Protein is the food of our ancestors, and its muscle-building benefits are backed up by multiple scientific studies. A study from Tufts University found that older people who consumed low levels of protein lost muscle mass in just eight weeks. But the opposite happened when they increased their protein consumption.4
The best sources of protein come from animals — eggs, beef, fish and whole milk. Grass-fed red meat is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. You can also supplement with protein, but be careful: Not all proteins are created equally. If it’s not grass-fed, chances are you’re consuming protein from pesticide-treated, grain-fed animals.
- Stop muscle loss with ursolic acid and tomatidine. Muscle loss is triggered by the protein ATF4. This reduces protein synthesis and causes tissue break down. As a result, you have less muscle mass.
Research reveals ursolic acid can block ATF4 activity in the skeletal muscle. The study also found that ursolic acid and tomatidine together dramatically reduced muscle weakness and atrophy. And they found that both compounds increased muscle mass by 10%, and increased muscle strength by 30%.5
You can find tomatidine in green tomatoes. You can find ursolic acid naturally in apple peel, cherries, holy basil, oregano, sage and thyme. And look for a supplement that contains both ursolic acid and tomatidine. Work your way up to a limit of 300 mg per day.
- Build muscle with these nutrients. It’s not easy to get all the protein-building nutrients your muscles need from diet alone. I suggest supplementing with:
• Carnosine: Naturally present in muscle cells, carnosine protects the
integrity of the muscle you have, and ensures the muscle you’re building will
be healthy. I recommend 500 mg, twice a day.
• Glutamine: This amino acid boosts the natural growth hormone in your
body. Growth hormone tells your body build muscle. I take glutamine to
prevent muscle breakdown. For maximum muscle growth, take 5 grams per
•Creatine: This supplement increases muscle mass and strength. It also
boosts the amount of muscle you add during resistance training. I
recommend 5 grams daily until you build the muscle you need.
• L-arginine: Twenty-two men on a strength-training program took either
L-arginine or a placebo. The L-arginine takers showed a significant increase
in muscle strength and lean muscle mass after five weeks.6 Take 500 mg to
1 gram of L-arginine to support muscle growth.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Newman A, et al. “Strength and muscle quality in a well-functioning cohort of older adults: the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study.” J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003 Mar;51(3):323-30
2. Lewis L, et al. Lower dietary and circulating vitamin c in middle- and older-aged men and women are associated with lower estimated skeletal muscle mass. J Nutr. 2020;DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxaa221
3. Schleicher R, at al. “Serum vitamin C and the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency in the United States.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2009:90(5);1252-63.
4. Fielding RA. “Protein nutrition mediates lean body mass homeostasis in the aging warfighter.” J Nutr. 2013 Nov;143(11):1857S-1861S.
5. Ebert SM, et al. “Identification and small molecule inhibition of an atf4-dependent pathway to age-related skeletal muscle weakness and atrophy.” J Biol Chem. 2015. Oct 16;290(42):25497-511.
6. Pahlavani N, et al. “The effect of l-arginine supplementation on body composition and performance in male athletes: a double-blinded randomized clinical trial.” January 2017. Eur J Clin Nutr. 71(4).