Increasing Muscle Mass in the Elderly

Increasing Muscle Mass in the Elderly
“This study provides evidence that DHEA replacement has the beneficial effect of enhancing the increases in muscle mass and strength induced by heavy resistance exercise in elderly individuals.”

Because your body produces less and less DHEA as you age, I started DHEA supplementation and had a test after 4 months of taking 300mg daily. The results were disappointing, so I am going to increase my daily dose.

"DHEA is an important precursor hormone and is the most abundant circulating steroid present in the human body. Learn more about DHEA at You & Your Hormones, the public information website of the Society for Endocrinology.

Of course, we know we need some steroids to increase muscle mass. :laughing:

This leads to the question of rapamycin dosing and mTORC1 inhibition. In the elderly keeping muscle mass is more important than in youth because it becomes increasingly harder to increase muscle mass as we age.
Now that I know that I am very DHEA deficient I am going to up my dose of DHEA and increase my heavy resistance training. So far I have been successful in slowing or stopping sarcopenia at least as far as not losing any strength. Taking rapamycin seems to help with it and also helps with weight reduction. It is very hard to measure muscle mass when you are losing weight. I have a “Smart Scale” that pretends to tell me my total muscle mass, but who knows? Taking bicep measurements is not that helpful while you are losing weight because you are losing some of the surrounding body fat.

I don’t know if an 82-year-old can gain muscle mass, but I am on a new quest to try.


Good luck. I’ve been taking 50mg of DHEA 1x/day 4-5 days per week for 12 years (61 yo now) with a few interruptions. (Tip came from Coach Joel Friel in his Fast After 50 book; he also recommended DIMM to combat conversion of T to estrogen). I’m convinced it helped me improve my middle aged ability to gain muscle mass without a long-term calorie surplus (i’ve traded body fat for visible muscle). I’ve tended to have low-ish T…I’m guessing due to stress/poor sleep.


I think I have some DIMM stored somewhere. I will add it to my stack. There is such a rampant amount of BS promoting supplements for muscle growth by various supplement suppliers it is hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Even the so-called scholarly papers on the subject tend to be of marginal help.

Perhaps the best place to look is on the banned supplement list:
And find some that are not illegal for non-competing athletes and are not harmful

It is a quest of mine to find out what works and what doesn’t, short of taking steroids. The only constant on my list is creatine, which I take daily.

Do you take any supplements that you personally feel have helped you to gain muscle mass?


A powerful research article - “We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study” Can’t do much better than that. Published in 2006, I am surprised dhea isn’t considered as standard care for those who weight train after 65 years of age as the results are profound. I am looking around to see if there is any push-back to the findings but haven’t seen any as of yet.

  • They used 50 mg of dhea. This contrasted with a study reporting 100mg of dhea not having an impact on muscle. So doing more than 50 mg probably isn’t wise

  • Nothing in the article on when to take it. Morning vs evening. Many sources say morning as that is the time dhea rises normally in the body. But I did see someone arguing for evening as dhea lowers cortisol and could help sleep.

  • Another plus to the research using both sexes: female/male

I have taken 25mg for the past 5 years. Approaching the end of my 6th decade, I’ll consider raising to 50mg. I am keeping muscle atrophy at bay - still making gains


This might not be what you are looking for but maybe it is useful. Its a one-goal answer with no consideration given to any other goals beside muscle gain:

Get as much time under tension as possible: more reps, more sets, more days per week. Go to near failure on at least the last set per muscle group (leave a rep or two in the tank to allow for faster recovery).

Fast tempo or motivational music to get the adrenaline going. After lifting immediately shift to calming music. Focus on parasympathetic activation. Smile, sing, laugh, deep breathing.

Use full range of motion. Build up range of motion slowly.

Try to build reps then increase weight. Err on the side of too many reps rather than too much weight. Going to failure is the goal.

Use machines to avoid injury but modify the settings (seat height etc) to get some variation.

Stress the key muscle groups in different ways in a session and over time to keep the muscle adaptation ongoing. Don’t do the same things all the time.

When you feel a tweak coming, back off for the day. A lost workout is one day. An injury might be a lost month. Maybe more. Never push through injury. After an injury, ramp back up slowly. If injured, consider blood flow restriction. For health, the biggest muscles matter the most: legs and back. For ego, it’s arms, chest, and shoulders. Ego after health.

Use a 4 week cycle to ramp up intensity over 3 weeks followed by an easier recovery week. If you feel stale, or unmotivated, take a week off.

Eat 30-40g of protein 3-4 x/ day with more than 5g of leucine. Use whey if real food isn’t possible. Eat big protein at next 3 meals after lifting plus right before sleep after a lifting day. No need to load protein before lifting.

Fish oil and eggs after lifting (I do this within an hour)
Tuna after lifting (timing isn’t important)
Calorie surplus for 12 hours after lifting; deficit later to manage weight
Collagen with vit c 1 hour before stressing tendons
Beta Alanine can help with recovery between sets
Have muscles full of glucose before workouts
Creatine everyday (in AM to get some antisleepiness help after poor sleep)
Stimulants before lifting: caffeine, cacao, taurine, citrulline (NO). But don’t mess with sleep….the most important thing to get ready for the next workout.
Don’t drink alcohol (interferes with recovery)
Use NIR lamp to heal joints fast.

A healthy body is the foundation of a strong body. Healthy mitochondria come from cardio fat burning endurance exercise which does not build muscle. You have to be clever to fit in some cardio with the least disruption to the muscle stressing and recovery efforts.

I what did I miss?


The secret magic potion, that is not a steroid. :grin:


I’m not 80’s yet or male but one really helpful thing I’ve been doing for several years is walking and doing other daily activities (things like housework) while wearing a weighted vest. I started using one due to an osteopenia/osteoporosis scare right before covid hit that turned out to be wrong but in the meantime I noticed it really helped me build muscle I’d lost in menopause. It doesn’t do much for the arms but it really seems to help the legs and core.


DHEA is a controlled substance in Canada. DHEA is not popular among the gym bros, but most of them are younger. Studies have shown a benefit in older women. Here is an overview of TRT and DHEA in men: Testosterone and Dehydroepiandrosterone Treatment in Ageing Men: Are We All Set? - PMC

I have not chosen to use either Trt or dhea yet.


SARM MK 2866 (Enobosarm / Ostarine) has some good studies to back it up for use in elderly.
I think @Walter_Brown is cycling the use of it. Maybe he can give you his feedback.

A number of SARMs have undergone Phase I, II, and III trials. A 12-week Phase II clinical trial demonstrated that Enobosarm (GTx-024) treatment resulted in significant dose-dependent increases in total lean body mass (P < 0.001) and improvements in the Stair Climb Test (P = 0.013) compared with a placebo in 120 healthy elderly subjects.572 Results from a Phase III clinical trial evaluating Enobosarm for the prevention and treatment of muscle wasting in patients with non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) showed a statistically significant increase in lean body mass (LBM) in subjects receiving 1 mg (P = 0.0012) and 3 mg (P = 0.046) of the drugbut not in placebo controls.573


Yes, thank you @scta123. I am cycling MK2866. Works great! I have MS which has gone into remission thanks to a (very/too expensive) drug called MAVENCLAD (approximately £40,000 per year for 2 years.)

The long-term (potentially forever) remission has meant me doing a health overhaul. I’m gyming and have a physiotherapist fixing me up.

As a result of relapses I lost a significant amount of muscle mass. MK2866 has been a very potent (and in my case safe with no side effects) aid to adding muscle.

It’s been like pressing fast-forward on my recovery :blush:


I bought some 2 years ago when the FDA had banned production but still allowed the sale of existing stock but I haven’t dared taking it yet


Sounds good. I read several papers and it appears to actually work in increasing lean muscle mass in a dose-dependent manner. I would like to try it if I can find a source. It doesn’t appear to be a common drug.

“cancer patients were administrated with ostartine showed improvement in muscle performance (measured by stair climb) and insulin resistance without any visible side effect and toxicity. Hence enobosarm possesses a strong efficacy and safety in cancer cachexia conditions to regulate muscle loss”

“Given that ostarine is not approved for human use or consumption in the U.S., or in any other country, there are no legal medications that contain ostarine. It’s also important to note that ostarine is not a permitted ingredient in dietary supplements.Feb 6, 2017”
United States Anti-Doping Agency

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Not difficult to locate, one of many sites that sell

Search using MK2866

Ask member “Walter_Brown” where he purchases

Most of the member on this forum are all in the same race, to extend our lifespan.

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I beleive SARMs are widely used in bodybuilding community, but ostarine has a reputation as the one with most studies and safest profile. I have seen it here in one of @Arhu posts and later @Walter_Brown stack and did research it a bit. As pointed out above there is some possible liver toxicity, but it is really rare (per studies) and reversible but usually some precautions should be taken (testing liver enzymes mid cycle would probably be sufficient and in bodybuilding community people take NAC with it to prevent liver damage). I did not take it, so I have no first hand experience but researched the reddit community and found that Driada or Deus Medical are really good sources for SARMs and I have seen it is available on SARMs by Deus and Driada Medical – BG pharmaceuticals. I am like Arhu, did the research, find them interesting but did not dare to take MK 2866 yet. I am still relatively young and there is some potential still to build some muscles without any help. If I run into dead end MK 2866 is first on my list. It has a safer profile IMO than TRT and more potential increasing muscle mass (and maybe some other benefits).


I don’t understand this point of view fully. I think TRT on the whole might be safer since there is more data, and it’s not orally taken bypassing the liver as far as I know. It might feel better since TRT and steroids is stigmatized, however. If it was a FDA approved drug and used a lot then I might think differently. Regardless, losing muscle mass especially rapidly the risk-reward can become very good. Problem with taking a non-pharma product is that the quality becomes unknown, maybe they mix some oral steroids that are quite toxic to the liver for example.

Bryan Johnson takes a testosterone patch, why wouldn’t this be safer than non-pharma, non-FDA approved, drug?



Well I don’t want to get once again into a fight with you that you are right and the rest (me) is wrong.
I did my research, TRT might be good, but it is a obligation and a hassle. It poses some same risks like AB twitted about anabolic steroids and SARMs as a drug class seems more interesting. I am not taking either so it is a purely hypothetical question. But it always a balance between goals, possible effects and unwanted effects.

Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) differentially bind to androgen receptors depending on each SARM’s chemical structure. As a result, SARMs result in anabolic cellular activity while avoiding many of the side effects of currently available anabolic steroids.

Despite the wide array of medical conditions that potentially could be addressed with the supplementation of steroid hormones, their therapeutic use is often curtailed owing to potential side effects, including erythrocytosis, prostate hypertrophy, hepatotoxicity, aromatization to estrogen, and testicular atrophy.4

fe0eb498e2417d4dc7c54245299a8ed8.pdf (534.9 KB)

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So if you had to pick right now you’d take non-pharma SARM (buy it from the link you gave) over a pharma testosterone patch?

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With low dose ostarine there is much more potential for muscle growth with the risk of permanent suppression of endogenous testosterone production.

But maybe there are other more interesting compounds, like LH-RH analogues. They are used to suppress LH release as long chronic admission wears out the pituitary but maybe intermittent low dosing could help increase T

Which LH-RH analogues are you thinking of?