Mg Magnesium

Importance of Proper Magnesium Intake For Exercise Performance and Healthy Functioning

Mg Magnesium


Whether you’re a regular at the gym or interested in supplement talk, you may have been recommended to increase your magnesium intake. Are you getting enough? Why does is matter? There are many benefits of having a healthy amount of magnesium in our diets since it is believed to be involved in muscle relaxation, regular neural firing, energy production, and other systems throughout the body that keep you performing and feeling well. One specific phenomenon popular in research right now is the potential ability of enhanced magnesium intake to reduce the occurrence of muscle cramps. This is of interest to both the exercise science and sleep communities since cramping can disrupt either activity significantly. So, how much magnesium should you be getting regularly anyways? National intake recommendations vary by age, sex, and events of pregnancy, but tend to range between 310 and 420 mg daily for most adult individuals. For the most efficient absorption and usage by the body, it is also recommended that magnesium intake be balanced with Vitamin D and calcium. We have put together a quick reference for different foods that are pretty rich in magnesium content to make reaching this goal easier, but visit the National Institute of Health’s page for more.

Mg Magnesium

By: Marily Oppezzo, PhD & Carly Smith, BS

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What Exactly Does Quality Sleep Mean?

What is Quality Sleep?

What Exactly Does Quality Sleep Mean?

Many understand that nutrition and physical activity are important for maintaining good health. However, the significance of sleep is often overlooked, even though it is vital for our heart and overall health.

A new study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session emphasizes the importance of good sleep for heart health, overall well-being, and life expectancy. With data from 172,321 participants, the study examines the impact of poor sleep quality.

The researchers defined quality sleep relative to insomnia: 1) ideal sleep duration of seven to eight hours a night; 2) difficulty falling asleep no more than two times a week; 3) trouble staying asleep no more than two times a week; 4) not using any sleep medication; and 5) feeling well rested after waking up at least five days a week.

The results showed that individuals with all five favorable sleep factors were 30% less likely to die for any reason, 21% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, 19% less likely to die from cancer, and 40% less likely to die from other causes. Moreover, among men and women with all five quality sleep measures, life expectancy was 4.7 years greater for men and 2.4 years greater for women, compared to those with none or only one favorable sleep factor.

While further research is needed to explore the reasons for the observed sex differences, Frank Qian urges, “even from a young age, if people can develop these good sleep habits of getting enough sleep, making sure they are sleeping without too many distractions and have good sleep hygiene overall, it can greatly benefit their overall long-term health.”

Sleep quality can mean many different things. According to Stanford Lifestyle Medicine expert, Dr. Jamie M. Zeitzer, who is also Co-Director at the Stanford Center for Sleep and Circadian Sciences, a newer conceptualization is the RU-SATED model developed by Pittsburgh’s Dr. Daniel Buysse. RU-SATED incorporates six conceptual sleep areas: sleep regularity, subjective satisfaction, daytime alertness, timing, sleep efficiency, and sleep duration. Instead of dichotomizing sleep into “good” and “pathological”, Zeitzer explains that the RU-SATED model allows for us to understand sleep as a continuum.

Like many health behaviors, sleeping well is cumulative over time. Whether you already me the sleep factors mentinoed, or are working towards healthier sleep habits, it is time we prioritize and understand the role of quality sleep for a longer and healthier life with quality sleep.

By: Jamie Zeitzer, MDHelena Zhang, BS

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Stop the Clock

Stop The Clock: The Shocking Truth About Age-Related Muscle Loss and Steps to Fight Back


By: Sarita Khemani, MD

As a physician specializing in peri-operative medicine, I have witnessed firsthand the detrimental impact of muscle loss on patients. Whether it is individuals presenting with hip or spine fractures, or those who have suffered from bleeding in their brain following a fall, many of these acute conditions have a hidden underlying cause: the loss of muscle mass.

Although losing muscle may not seem like a significant concern, it can be a silent yet deadly issue that progressively drains our vitality and strength, leading us to become frail and dependent.

In this blog, we will explore the latest scientific research on the trajectory of muscle loss as we age and discuss practical steps that we can take to prevent or alleviate its effects.

Understanding Skeletal Muscle: Composition and Function

Skeletal muscle is the type of muscle tissue that we can control voluntarily, such as when we intentionally flex our biceps or perform other movements. It is composed of many smaller bundles of muscle fibers, each containing hundreds to thousands of individual fibers. These fibers are primarily made up of two proteins: myosin and actin, which work together to facilitate muscle contraction.

The muscle fibers themselves are arranged in a specific pattern, extending the muscle’s length between the tendinous ends, and are bundled together and wrapped in connective tissue. This arrangement allows the muscle to generate force and produce movement when it contracts.

In terms of composition, muscle tissue is approximately 70% water and 30% protein. The body synthesizes muscle protein from the amino acids that are present in the protein we consume through our diet.

Image credit: University of Miami:


As we age, the gradual decline in muscle mass and strength worsens with each passing decade. This decline can be attributed to several factors, including reduced dietary protein intake, decreased physical activity, a decline in hormone levels, chronic inflammation, muscle denervation, mitochondrial dysfunction, infiltration of fat into muscle, and insulin resistance.

Research suggests that the rate of loss of muscle strength is greater than the loss of muscle mass and plays a crucial role in healthy aging. When low muscle mass and function, including strength and physical performance, occur with aging, it is known as sarcopenia. The term “sarcopenia” originates from the Greek words “sarx,” meaning flesh, and “penia,” meaning loss.

Sarcopenia can be classified into two categories: primary sarcopenia, which is the cumulative result of various factors leading to muscle loss with aging, and secondary sarcopenia, which is caused by a specific insult, such as surgery, hospitalization, or injury. By understanding these categories, we can better diagnose and manage sarcopenia in older adults.

The trajectory of age-related muscle loss

The loss of muscle strength with age can be surprising to many people, as it can start as early as age 30. As numerous research studies have shown, the rate of decline for muscle mass with age worsens with each decade.

Age Percent loss of muscle mass/decade
50s 0.5-2%
60s 4-5%
70s 7-8%

The decline in muscle strength is more dramatic and can be 2-5 times greater than decline in muscle mass.

Age Percent loss of muscle strength/decade
50s 3-4%
60s 9-10%
70s 11-12%

A study found that there was muscle loss of between 35% and 40% occurring between the ages of 20 and 80. Additionally, studies of nursing home residents have found that sarcopenia, affects 30-40% of individuals. Mobility aids, such as canes, walkers, or wheelchairs, are commonly used by older adults, with 24% of those aged 65 years and older relying on such aids. Alarmingly, the death rate from falls is projected to rise sharply in the coming years, as shown in the graph below.

Image Credit: CDC:

Skeletal muscle mass is shown to be an independent predictor of death, highlighting its crucial effect on longevity.

These statistics don’t consider the sudden health events that can accelerate muscle loss. A rapid decline in muscle mass and health occurs with hospitalizations and illnesses. In addition to the lack of activity during hospital stays, other factors like increased levels of pro-inflammatory agents and cortisol can have a compounding effect. For older adults, this loss of muscle mass and function can lead to permanent disability or even death.

Connection between muscle health and dementia

Dementia affects more than 55 million people worldwide, and physical inactivity is one of the modifiable risk factors for the condition. There is a well-established link between low muscle mass, low physical activity, and cognitive impairment in old age.

Exercise releases myokines from the muscle, which crosses the blood-brain barrier and helps regulate BDNF, a protein that supports the survival and growth of neurons in the brain. Furthermore, the lower an individual’s muscle mass, the more significant their cognitive decline, suggesting a dose-dependent effect.

Steps to preserving muscle health and function.

Protecting your muscle mass is like increasing your savings: the greater the savings, the more comfortable you will be as you age.. While we might develop pharmacological treatments for muscle loss in the future, currently, the best way to preserve muscle function is to put in work upfront.

1. Strength training, “the medicine”

Resistance training activates our DNA to respond to stress, leading cells to produce increased muscle protein.

Initially, we may see an improvement in strength but not much muscle hypertrophy because of an increase in muscle protein breakdown. However, this slows down after about six weeks, and we start seeing an increase in muscle size.

Strength training can counteract the accumulation of fat in the muscle, improve the health of neuromuscular junctions, improve muscle quality, and reduce inflammatory markers.

People who do regular resistance training have a 20-year advantage. For example, 85-year-old weightlifters showed similar power and muscle features as 65-year-olds who did not engage in regular training in studies.

To achieve optimum improvement in muscle mass and strength, we should engage in resistance training 2-3 times per week per muscle group in addition to any aerobic exercises.

Resistance exercises that involve increasing load and speed should be done under supervision to ensure proper form and avoid injury.

2. Protein intake

Studies have shown that higher protein intake is associated with greater muscle mass and lower risk of developing frailty in older adults.

Protein intake should be individualized based on age, sex, activity level, and health status, but generally range from 1.6-2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2020 found that plant-based protein sources can be just as effective as animal-based sources for improving muscle health. It’s best to mix and match various plant-based sources of protein for optimum effect.

Consuming more than 35-50 grams of protein at one time does not provide any additional benefit for muscle growth, as excess protein is used for energy production. Therefore, it is best to spread protein intake out throughout the day rather than consuming the whole day’s amount in one sitting.

3. Supplements: Please see an excellent blog by Dr. Kaufman on this website to gain more knowledge about the safe use of supplements.

4. We all know to get good sleep and stay hydrated—more on these topics in future blog posts.

What Does Grip Strength Indicate About Your Health?

The Importance of Grip Strength: Exploring its Link to Longevity

What Does Grip Strength Indicate About Your Health?

Your future lies in the palm of your hand… kind of. A popular topic in longevity and exercise science involves the association between grip strength and life span, but what exactly are people talking about? Two recent studies describing the relevance of grip strength in the field have started to analyze what information one’s grip strength actually provides. “Grip strength is inversely associates with DNA methylation age acceleration” covers cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between hand grip strength and three different clock models to describe the pace of one’s aging in American adults over the age of 50 years old. Essentially, these three different clocks take in information from a DNA methylation sample, and output a relative estimate of how quickly someone is aging based on the different health outcome risk biomarkers they are entrained on. As it pertains to grip strength, the three age-acceleration clocks looked at in the study found significant associations to suggest that greater grip strength can help one protect their body from physically aging faster. These clocks could be useful tools in future clinical applications to begin to better understand the needs of different patients later in life. However, there is still work left to be done as the sample of this study may not be representative of the diverse middle and older aged populations in the larger United States or on a global scale. When reading information from the study above, it can also be easy to believe that increasing the amount of grip-strength exercises you’re doing will help you slow down how fast you’re aging and live longer, which is not exactly the case. Another study from the Journal for Clinical Interventions in Aging, reviews the literature to suggest how grip strength’s relevance to aging science may be due to its associations with total body strength, bone density, reduced risk of falls and fractures, etc. Knowing that there is ample research on the protective effects of these measurements on later-in-life life expectancy, grip strength may be a starting place to begin to clinically understand risks the potential mobility and functionality risks for some patients.


To read the full article from the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia, and Muscle, follow this link:

To read the full article from the Journal for Clinical Interventions in Aging, follow this link:


By: Carly Mae Smith

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