Older adults with more muscle mass can live longer

According to the new UCLA research adults who have more muscle mass live longer and are less likely to die prematurely. With findings they also conclude that it’s the overall body composition which causes mortality rate and not the BMI. The UCLA research which was actually led by Dr. Preethi Srikanthan who is an assistant profession at the endocrinology division at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA was published in American Journal of Medicine. According to their findings, the best way to decrease metabolic risk is through building muscle mass. There is no particular standard measurement to check the body composition and this is the reason why various studies have addressed it using different measurement techniques and got different results. Srikanthan is of the opinion that people need to focus on improving the body composition than mere BMI in order to prevent various health issues. 

A survey was conducted by National Health and nutrition examination survey III from 1988 to 1994 where they mainly focused on 3659 people out of which men were around 55 years old while women were 65 and above during the survey time. Later they have checked how many individuals had died naturally and followed up the experiment in the year 2004. The body composition in this study was measured using the bioelectrical impedance where in an electrical current was passed through an individual’s body.

The muscle allows current to pass easily than the fat as it contains a lot of water. This is how muscle mass index was determined and the amount of muscle has been compared to their height. They have observed that people who have higher muscle mass were at lower risk of death while those with low muscle mass were at higher risk. So, one should work on improving the muscle mass rather than trying to lose weight or the body mass index. 

Dr. Arun karlamangla who is an Associate Professor at geriatrics division at Geffen school and who is the study’s co author said that the greater amount of muscle mass a person has, the lower would be the risk of death for that particular individual. It was also found that all-cause mortality was low for the fourth quartile muscle mass index even to that of first quartile.  The study also has certain limitations and cannot derive a cause and effect relation between survival and muscle mass using NHANES III studies. But we can consider muscle mass to be an important predictor to check the risk of death. Bioelectrical impedance isn’t an advanced technique to measure, while NHANES III measurements have been conducted rigorously and practically. Though there are certain limitations for this study, it establishes independent survival prediction ability of a muscle mass to measure bioelectrical impedance in the old people. So, it’s important to add the measurement of muscle mass that is relative to an individual’s body that has to be considered while caring for the older adults. Make sure to maintain a better muscle mass throughout in order to live longer.