Robust Aging With National Exercise, Supplementation and Treatment Programs

People over age 55 accounted for nearly half of total health spending in the U.S., despite representing over a quarter of the population. Those who have ever been diagnosed with diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancer and emphysema, also had higher-than-average spending. Spending is concentrated even within populations with relatively high average health costs. Half of people reporting fair or poor health accounted for 94% of total health spending by all people in fair or poor health. Half of those over age 65 accounted for 91% of total health spending by all elderly people.

This is poor health tend to be those who are frail or have sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is excessive muscle loss. Although, two out of three people who are over the age of 80 have Sarcopenia, it does not have to happen and can be reversed in some cases with exercise and nutrition.

If we can have most people avoid muscle loss, osteoporosis (weakening of bones) and arthritis, then mobility and robustness can be more easily maintained. This could also save hundreds of billions of dollars per year in medical system costs.

Sarcopenia is caused by many factors, such as physical inactivity, bad nutrition, cellular changes related to the age; nevertheless, more research is needed to understand these influences. It has been demonstrated that progressive strength training is an excellent intervention for delaying the onset of muscle mass loss and sarcopenia. In addition, good nutrition can have a positive effect in sarcopenic patients and stimulate the increase of muscle mass, especially for older people.

It would worthwhile to create a larger system of gyms, pools and other health and sports facilities for the entire population. Making it easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle would be more cost-effective than letting more people become frail.

The entire US fitness industry is a $30 billion per year business. It has been growing by at least 3 – 4% annually for the last ten years. Supplementing 90% of the entire industry and even doubling it size could pay back $1 to $4 in lowered medical system costs.

Some studies that estimate the direct healthcare costs for Sarcopenia are in the $20-30 billion range.

There are gene therapies and other medical technological interventions in the clinical trial pipeline.

Safer protocols involving creatine and other supplements can also make it easier to effectively increase muscle mass. A healthy young person has about double the muscle mass of someone with Sarcopenia.

Healthy Aging With Vastly Reduced Chronic Disease

The seven major chronic diseases cost the US health system about $1.3 trillion.

Fixing most of the obesity, arthritis and lack of exercise problem would be about half of the chronic disease cost.

Even spending $500 to 2000 per year for aggressive fitness and training interventions can come out ahead versus hospitalization and other medical treatment for frail elderly.

Increase Protein, Amino Acids and Other Supplements for the Elderly

Protein requirements for the elderly population may even be higher than a younger population. This is due to age-related changes in the metabolism of protein, including a decreased response to protein intake. This means that an older population needs to consume more protein to get the same anabolic effect.

Leucine, an essential branched chain amino acid (BCAA) has been shown to preserve lean body mass. Leucine seems to stimulate muscle protein synthesis in a similar way in both young and elderly populations.

SOURCES- Peterson Kaiser, Kaiser, CDC, Journal of Muscle Health – Advances in the Treatment
of Muscle Mass Loss and Sarcopenia

Written By Brian Wang

12 thoughts on “Robust Aging With National Exercise, Supplementation and Treatment Programs”

  1. I hope you are exaggerating. 5 pounds in one day? That is 17,500 calories. Even “strongest man” competitors don’t eat that much.

    We can handle some AGEs…enzymes and the kidneys process it…up to some level. Much less for diabetics.

    Just don’t binge on bacon, pork rinds and butter…if you want to stay on this world.

    And there are some things you might not guess are high in AGEs: pine nuts and sesame seed oil. And some ostensibly healthy oils: canola, and olive. The best oils for AGEs are: corn, sunflower, safflower and almost certainly: Avocado and Pistachio as Avocados and Pistachios themselves are very low.

  2. Ah, but I love the taste of popcorn made with olive oil, and sometimes with a bit of garlic in the oil (and sometimes with some chili powder sprinkled over the kernels and oil before popping).

    Ah, and about one day a month I just binge. Cornnuts, chips, ice cream, mac and cheese, whatever. It usually costs me about 5 pounds that will then require at least 2 or 3 fasting days in the following week (never consecutively).

  3. I have a big pot I use for making popcorn. I have a strainer I put on top like a hat and a cardboard box I put loosely over that so no oil is splattered all over the stove.

    Great stuff popcorn. Much more nutrition than regular corn, because most of the nutrition is in the skin (pericarp) and the skin is far thicker on a popcorn kernel.

  4. There are genes involved in this…it is not just a matter of exercise. Supplements or drugs might be able to counter some of those genes though.

  5. “If we can have most people avoid muscle loss, osteoporosis (weakening of bones) and arthritis, then mobility and robustness can be more easily maintained.”
    You also need good vision, reasonable reaction time, and reasonable balance. All of these decline with age as well. Coordination is also required…not sure what, if anything, happens there.
    Vision and balance are biggies. Most people over 100 have considerable vision loss.
    “perceptual speed” is probably just a fancy way of terming reaction time. Perceptual speed declines fairly precipitously after 80.

  6. Yeah Mark, I’m old enough that the gal on the lead in page has my attention. About the only thing that will get people to the gym is mirrors on the wall that alter the looks of people looking at them. Make me look thirty years younger and some of the other patrons thirty pounds lighter…

  7. I was thinking of ways to get people to the gym more often. Maybe free or supplemented gym membership. Get there doctors to write them a prescription. Maybe a gym partnership dating like services. I think if people exercised a bit more they would live longer and be healthier.

  8. Yep. After my kids left their mother to come live with me, I was away from most forms of organized exercise for nearly ten years. Even the life cycle and the elliptical in my spare room got very little use. I could have done more but . . .

    Right now my gym membership is $50 a month and I prob take about $15 of supplements each day.

    The real cost is paid through self-discipline. I have to make myself go to the gym, I have to make myself order my supplements and organize them and take them, I have to force myself to cut out snacks (except for popcorn occasionally, microwave popped with a just a tiny bit of olive oil), I have to eschew junk food completely, and I have to fast 1 to 3 days a week to maintain my weight.

    It’s so very unfair that, at a time in life when your piggybank can support eating whatever you want, even to the point of eating out all the time . . . you can’t allow yourself to even eat nearly as much as you used to eat.

    First world problems, I know.

  9. I would think medicare would pay for anyone over 70 for the silver sneakers program. But only if they use it by visiting the gym 3 times a week.

  10. seems to me there are plenty of gyms and sport courts out there. It’s a matter of getting the old folks out there. But that won’t work either unless the old people started getting out there before they were old. Basically I see it as comfort food or exercise, for stressed out living. Comfort food you have in your house, exercise means (for the most part) getting outside the home. What looks more appealing to a tired parent? Not right but it is what it is.
    So, how do you beat it?, meaningful cost reductions for healthcare when you can demonstrate you are active. Punitive costs for healthcare for those who chose comfort food. Relate those costs to the individual themselves not “support”.
    Maybe even meaningful phys ed classes in all levels of school.

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