The condition of a person’s muscle, especially among the aging population, has an effect to their immune function, a recent study by the German Research Center reveals.
German researchers discovered that strong muscle mass may help in achieving a better immune system. Muscles are said to produce and release compounds which play an important role in the proliferation, activation, and distribution of some immune cells.
Skeletal muscle accounts for about 40 percent of total body weight and contains at least 50 percent of all body proteins. Data suggest that loss of muscle mass is associated with compromised immunity and infections.
Research in older adults reveals that increased markers of inflammation are associated with low muscle mass and muscle function. Immunity is affected if an older adult loses more than 10 percent of their lean body mass, while a decrease of more than 30 percent can make them susceptible to pneumonia.
“Losing muscle can be one of the main drivers for more negative health outcomes, such as physical disabilities and poor quality of life,” Abbott Asia Pacific Nutrition medical director Dr. Jose Rodolfo Dimaano, Jr. said, adding, “while not always immediately apparent, muscle loss can be a drag on overall health.”
Dimaano said properly recovering from diseases such as COVID-19 would require ample nutrition to be incorporated in order to rebuild strength and immunity. However, he added that one symptom of COVID-19 can be the loss of taste, which can lead to loss of appetite.
Additional research shows that a little-known compound, HMB (β-hydroxy β-methylbutyric acid), can be beneficial in reducing inflammation and improving pulmonary function in COPD patients in the ICU, preserving muscle mass in individuals who are immobile, and improving muscle strength with exercise and muscle function in older populations.
Dimaano said that while HMB occurs naturally in food such as avocados, grapefruit, and asparagus, it’s hard to get enough HMB from food sources alone. “It can be beneficial to look for a nutritional supplement that includes HMB.”
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