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May, 2005 - Nr. 5


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German Scientist Awarded



by Dr. Paul Jaconello
Doctor Jaconello is the Medical Director of the Jaconello Health Centre for Nutritional and Preventive Medicine

Dr. Bill Evans of the Tufts University School of Medicine, Human Nutrition Centre on Aging proposed a study that was totally against the thoughts of his health colleagues. He proposed that men on walkers who were disabled in the 90 year old age group, go into a strength and conditioning programme with an exercise trainer using body building exercises and resistant training. Dr. Evans did get his study approved and it addressed nonogenerian men who were on walkers and under support by assistance.

These men started an exercise with a trainer and over a period of one year their strength improved by 154% and almost all of them got out of their walkers and became ambulatory without assistance. This was a huge functional improvement.

This study went against the widespread belief that the reason why individuals loose muscle mass and become frail on aging is because they loose the ability to manufacture muscle protein from dietary protein. It was the idea that as we age and become more frail and loose muscle and gain fat, it is because our body is changed by the activation of a hard-wired gene that tells us to loose muscle and there is nothing we can do about it.

Then a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association investigated the truth of the above by looking at muscle amino acid kinetics and protein synthesis in healthy and older men.

Their results showed that the net protein balance in both groups was similar and there was very little difference in the way that the two groups manufactured protein.

The loss of muscle mass has the technical term, sarcopenia (a Greek word sarx for flesh and penia for loss).

Sarcopenia is now considered one of the most important determinants of biological aging, not chronological aging. It is evident that a person can be aged at 70 but have a biological age of 40 and vice versa. Thus, it is not just aging in years that is a factor in our overall health.

It appears that aging muscle fails to respond to anabolic (building up) factors because of the accumulation of hormonal and immunological changes that occur over time which no longer favours anabolism.

In fact small losses of muscle mass overtime reflect the effect of the body’s response to stress and is related to the expression of catabolic (breakdown) genes resulting in later-stage chronic disease.

Jeffrey S. Bland, Ph.D. eloquently stated in his treatise on Nutritional Endocrinology in 2002:

"Maintenance of protein stores is important for two principal reasons. … Proteins make up the body’s structure and function, such as muscle, antibodies, enzymes for metabolic action and mediators such as neurotransmitters. Loss of protein means loss of function of the organism, not just less of energy. Second, during illness, nitrogen from protein must be mobilized to produce antibodies, promote sound wound healing or help white blood cell activity during illness. If the body’s protein reserves are already depleted by sarcopenia, less protein is available for mobilization in time of illness"

Foods can act as molecules of alarm and create adverse changes in neuroendocrine function. Other triggers of distress are personal relationships in the work place or in the family, personal losses, poor exercise habits, low grade chronic infections and environmental exposure to heavy metals and other chemicals and drugs, including not only drugs of abuse but prescription medications. All these can produce adverse changes in our physiological state and cause symptoms of fatigue, depression, muscular and articular pain and digestive disturbances with no diagnostic label that can be assigned.

Scaropenia is a biological marker of the above and indicates the presence of such conditions and it’s detection can lead to the early intervention with dietary changes, proper exercise habits, removal of environmental stressors, detection and handling of suppressive influences, detoxification methods (chelation, sauna programmes, nurtaceuticals, to enhance pathways of toxin release) and appropriate nutritional supplementation.

A new tech way to detect changes in muscle mass and body fat and subtle alterations indicating functional loss is by the use of bioimpedance assessment (BIA) which is a machine that measures the resistance of the body to an electric current.

A group of researchers researched bioelectrical impedance assessment of body composition in thyroid disease and stated that BIA "should complement conventional clinical and biochemical assessment protocols" (European Journal of Endocrinology. 1997; 136(5) : 493 – 498).

To sum up, there are ways to evaluate actively intervene and effectively halt the loss of organ reserve and lower biological age by workable clinical management programs.

Paul Jaconello, M.D.

Doctor Jaconello is the Medical Director of the Jaconello Health Centre for Nutritional and Preventive Medicine


The Jaconello Health Centre and other health letters


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