Maintenance of skeletal muscle mass is of great clinical relevance in both health and disease. Having a low muscle mass at an older age increases the risk for hospitalization, impairs physical function, and results in a longer length of hospital stay, a worsened prognosis of disease, and higher mortality rates during hospitalization. A blunted response to the main anabolic stimuli of muscle mass regulation (coined anabolic resistance), i.e., dietary protein ingestion and physical activity, has been postulated to represent one of the driving factors explaining the generalized age-related muscle loss.
Particularly in older and compromised clinical populations, acute changes in habitual physical activity level and food intake – often resulting from the development of various health issues – are likely the main cause of the accelerated skeletal muscle mass loss. Intervention strategies to maintain skeletal muscle mass are warranted to attenuate muscle loss with aging and during acute and chronic disease. The studies described in the present thesis aimed to gain further insight in the different factors that regulate muscle mass maintenance in older individuals, with a focus on nutritional aspects and clinical populations.
Defence date: 05/12/18