Medical Nutrition Therapy

Sports, Fitness and Performance

129. Use It or Lose It: Muscle, Protein, Exercise and Healthy Aging

Sunday, October 21
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
CE: 1.5

Session Level 3 - Advanced

Healthy aging can be described as the pursuit to possess a biological age equal to or younger than your chronological age. Of critical importance to healthy aging is the maintenance of skeletal muscle, as it encompasses a large portion (~40%) of whole-body mass essential for force output and daily functioning (e.g., rising from a chair or climbing stairs). It also contains the largest storage site for glucose disposal and regulates glucose homeostasis. Thus, this organ is vital for not only physical independence but protecting against a host of metabolic diseases such as obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes, cachexia, and cardiovascular disease.

Sarcopenia, first coined by Dr. Irwin Rosenberg in 1988, is the involuntary loss of skeletal muscle mass with age, which has become pronounced in recent times due to an increase in life expectancy. Sarcopenia manifests between the fourth and fifth decades of life, and rapidly increases at the eighth. The changes that occur with sarcopenia are profound; after the age of ~40 years, skeletal muscle loss occurs at a rate of ~1-3% annually, thereafter increasing to ~3-6% per annum at age ~80. The pathophysiological alterations contributing to sarcopenia are multifactorial, including a reduction in neuromuscular drive (loss of muscle motor unit size/number and specific fiber types), net loss of muscle proteins during metabolism, withdrawal of anabolic hormones from the endocrine system, and an increase in intramuscular adipose tissue accompanied by chronic low-grade inflammation. Together, or in some cases singularly, these mechanisms affect muscle strength and power, which are both adversely associated with falls/fractures in older adults.

Thankfully, however, emerging evidence shows exercise and dietary-protein, either combined or independently, may offset the deleterious effects of sarcopenia. This talk will focus on this evidence.

Planned with the Committee for Lifelong Learning

Learning Objectives:

Learning Need Codes:

  • 3020 - Assessment of target groups, populations
  • 2070 - Macronutrients: carbohydrate, fat, protein, fiber, water
  • 4190 - Elderly nutrition

Roberta Anding, MS, RD, LD, CSSD, CDE

Roberta is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and is board certified in sports nutrition (CSSD). Roberta received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Louisiana State University in dietetics and nutrition. She is currently the Performance Dietitian for Baylor College of Medicine. In addition to her work at BCM, she is a sports dietitian for the Houston Astros and Rice University. Roberta has been honored for her work in the field and most recently honored with the SCAN (Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition Dietetic Practice group) Achievement Award in 2011. In addition, Roberta received the Texas Distinguished Dietitian Award in 2008, the Texas Dietetic Association Media Award in 2006. Roberta has served as a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


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Katherine Dodd, MS, RDN, CSG, LD, FAND

Katie M. Dodd is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Board Certified Specailist in Gerontological Nutrition (CSG), and Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She lives in southern Oregon and works for the Veteran's Health Administration. Katie has more than 10 years experience as a Home Based Primary Care dietitian. Katie is the 2018/19 Chair of the Healthy Aging DPG, a past President of the Oregon Academy, and a CDR Specialty Examination Workgroup member invovled in CSG exam development. Katie periodically instructs webinars for Dietitian Centeral and is a content editor and reviewer for Nutrition Dimensions/On Course Learning.


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Ben Kirk, BSc (Hons), MSc

Ben is completing a doctoral research fellowship at the school of Health Sciences, Liverpool Hope University, UK. His research surrounds nutrition, exercise and aging, which comprises running a registered clinical trial to prevent sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass and function) in older populations. Specifically, he has a keen interest in the interaction between exercise modalities and dietary-protein feeding, and how they influence skeletal muscle health.

In addition, Ben has a strong passion for sports nutrition. He has provided nutrition consultancy support to USA Rugby Union, GB track & field athletes, professional boxers and elite Gaelic-footballers where he has applied the science of nutrient timing to optimize body-composition and maximize performance. Ben received his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from University of Abertay in Exercise Science, and University of Northumbria Newcastle in Clinical Exercise Physiology, respectively.

Recent publications:
Pugh, J. N., Kirk, B., Fearn, R., Morton, J. P., & Close, G. L. (2018). Prevalence, Severity and Potential Nutritional Causes of Gastrointestinal Symptoms during a Marathon in Recreational Runners. Nutrients, 10(7), 811.
Kirk B, Mitchell J, Jackson M, Amirabdollahian F, Alizadehkhaiyat O, Clifford T, (2017). A2 Milk Enhances Dynamic Muscle Function Following Repeated Sprint Exercise, a Possible Ergogenic Aid for A1-Protein Intolerant Athletes? Nutrients. 2017;9(2):94. doi:10.3390/nu9020094.
Kirk, B., Pugh, J., Cousins, R., & Phillips, S. (2018). Concussion in university level sport: knowledge and awareness of athletes and coaches. Sports, 6(4), 102. doi: 10.3390/sports6040102.


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129. Use It or Lose It: Muscle, Protein, Exercise and Healthy Aging

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