Is Muscle Weakness the New Smoking? (Study)

Researchers at Michigan Medicine modeled the relationship between biological age and grip strength of 1,274 middle aged and older adults using three “age acceleration clocks” based on DNA methylation, a process that provides a molecular biomarker and estimator of the pace of aging. The clocks were originally modeled from various studies examining diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, physical disability, Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation and early mortality.

Results reveal that both older men and women showed an association between lower grip strength and biological age acceleration across the DNA methylation clocks.

“We’ve known that muscular strength is a predictor of longevity, and that weakness is a powerful indicator of disease and mortality, but, for the first time, we have found strong evidence of a biological link between muscle weakness and actual acceleration in biological age,” said Mark Peterson, Ph.D., M.S., lead author of the study and associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at University of Michigan. “This suggests that if you maintain your muscle strength across the lifespan, you may be able to protect against many common age-related diseases.

Research Paper:

“Grip strength is inversely associated with DNA methylation age acceleration,” The Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle . DOI: 10.1002/jcsm.13110

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jcsm.13110

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HOWEVER, the posting re New Smoking, has it backwards:

“if you maintain your muscle strength across the lifespan, you may be able to protect against many common age-related diseases.”

That conclusion is reversed, and should be: If you protect against many common age-related diseases, you will maintain your muscle strength.

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Yes, doing resistance training burns glycogen making you more insulin sensitive as well as increasing the muscle glycogen stores over time protecting against insulin insensitivity. Although bar bell curls only probably wouldn’t suffice, you’d need to train all major muscles with large compound movements

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The issue is not whether exercise is beneficial, but rather that exercise to increase hand grip strength is the key to health.

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