Five Supplements For Reversing Muscle Loss As We Age

Steve Kroening, ND
August 1, 2018


Most people suffer from some muscle atrophy as we age. But significant muscle loss can lead to falls and other major health issues. That’s why it’s vital we do as much as we can to stay strong as we age. So what can you do – other than just exercise?

The good news is that supplements will help stop muscle loss and even help you build it back. In fact, there are two devastating muscle-wasting diseases – muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease (or ALS) – that can benefit from these supplements. And if people with these serious illnesses can benefit, so can you.

The first treatment doesn’t come from major studies or any significant clinical evidence. It's just a simple story of a man who beat ALS without the help of any doctors.

If you know anything about Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), you know it's a devastating disease that has no known cure. So this story seems too good to be true.

This story comes from a man who swears he reversed his own ALS. Butch Machlan received his ALS diagnosis on March 9, 2008. Butch writes on a blog: “In late 2009, I started taking coconut oil and magnesium chloride to see if they would have any effect on my symptoms. After a little over one year of taking these two things, and having some positive changes, I decided I needed to do a better job of tracking my symptoms. So in February 2011, I started tracking my symptoms each month on a special form created from several ALS web-pages and related sources.”

Butch kept detailed records of his battle with ALS to compare his progression with his mom’s. She had died of ALS in 1986 after eight years. Butch writes: “At the time of her death, the doctors were adamant ALS could not be inherited. Now we know they were wrong!”

The positive effects Butch experienced with the coconut oil and magnesium chloride “confused the doctors,” says Butch, “because they, like many others, ‘know’ there is currently nothing available anywhere to help people with ALS. This includes approved medicines, supplements, voodoo medicines, etc.”

The doctors even changed his diagnosis to a “form” of ALS called Benign Monomelic Amyotrophy. This is a much less severe form of the disease. But it’s extremely rare. It affects only one area or muscle group. And it normally hits younger people. Butch didn’t agree with the change in diagnosis. For one, he was 64 years old. Then, after doing some research, he had some questions for the doctors. He asked, “What about my muscles' increased size and strength?” and “What about my age, race, etc.?” They didn't have any answers.

Amazingly, Butch continues to improve

It's important to read his warnings about taking too much at once, as it can cause some side effects. But starting slowly can help you avoid any problems.

This story is very similar to a story Frank Shallenberger, MD reported several years ago on coconut oil and Alzheimer's. Today, we're getting reports of this combination helping people with Parkinson's as well.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any research on this combination, just anecdotal evidence. But there's a lot of it. So it’s getting easier and easier to believe it works. We’ve seen some reports that it hasn't worked for everyone. But since it's safe and good for many other ailments, there's no reason not to try it.

Then there’s muscular dystrophy (MD)

If you’ve heard of MD, it’s likely because of Jerry Lewis, who did the all night telethons every year from 1966 until 2010. MD causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. It eventually leads to severe breathing and heart problems. One form of the disease – Duchenne MD – puts children in a wheelchair by their teens and is usually fatal by their late teens or early 20s.

You would think that any treatment that can help Duchenne MD would be gladly accepted by the medical profession. But one treatment – a supplement called N-acetylglucosamine – is being ignored by most docs. However, there’s ample reason they shouldn’t ignore it – and you shouldn’t either.

If you take a close look at the name of N-acetylglucosamine, you’ll notice a similarity to a very popular joint supplement – glucosamine. And the root word of both words is “glucose.” So, if you think this supplement is a sugar, you’d be right on track. In fact, it’s a simple sugar with a structure that’s very similar to glucosamine, but has some differences. These differences cause it to function differently in the body.

Increased muscle strength by 50% in 10 days!

While glucosamine has tremendous benefits for the joints, N-acetylglucosamine has benefits for both your joints and your muscles. Just how strong are these benefits?

According to one study, the benefits are incredibly strong. In the study, researchers gave N-acetylglucosamine to mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. They found that it increased their muscle strength by 50% in just 10 days!

The researchers said, “We don't know yet whether the molecule increases the production of muscular fiber or improves its survival rate, but we found that the mice’s muscular strength was better preserved.” This is big news. Anything that can strengthen the muscles of Duchenne MD patients is big news. And yet this study has been largely ignored.

This is great news. But more people over the age of 40 don’t have to worry about Duchenne MD. But they do have to worry about muscle atrophy. This is where the news gets even better. These same researchers suspected that N-acetylglucosamine also has a function in muscle development. They discovered that when young muscle cells form muscle fibers, they use N-acetylglucosamine as glue to stick together. This could mean that supplementation with N-acetylglucosamine has a muscle-building effect.

Another study found that N-acetylglucosamine is effective for building muscles in multiple sclerosis patients. Still another study found improvement in 75% of children with treatment-resistant autoimmune inflammatory bowel disease after a two year course of N-acetylglucosamine. And many bodybuilders take 1 gram daily of the supplement to help build their muscles.

You can find N-acetylglucosamine online and in most health food stores. It will often have the letters NAG on the label to make it easy to identify.

Chemical found in this common fruit fights atrophy

As you can see, there are ways to fight even severe muscle atrophy. This gives us all great hope as we age. But coconut oil, magnesium chloride, and NAG are not your only options. Another fantastic supplement for protecting your muscles is apple peel. It’s so effective, there are documented cases where it can even help reverse muscle wasting. And it can help reduce body fat and high cholesterol levels as well.

Researchers from the University of Iowa studied the muscle-gene activity in people with atrophy. They used this data to find chemicals that block atrophy. And one of those chemicals is ursolic acid. This chemical is highly concentrated in apple peels.

The team of researchers tested the ursolic acid on mice. What they found was amazing. The ursolic acid actually increased the size and strength of their muscles. How could this chemical have such an impact on muscle size and strength? According to the lead author, Dr. Christopher Adams, “It did this by helping two hormones that build muscle: insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1) and insulin. Because ursolic acid increased muscle, it reduced muscle atrophy.”

But that wasn’t all the ursolic acid did. Dr. Adams said, “Surprisingly, it had some other beneficial effects in mice. For example, it reduced body fat, and lowered blood glucose and cholesterol.” This makes sense, as muscles burn glucose, so adding to your muscle mass should lower your glucose levels. We also know that blocking cholesterol with statins can weaken muscles. We typically attribute this to lower CoQ10 levels, but this study suggests there may be another connection to muscles and cholesterol that we don’t know about yet.

Another study from Northern Ontario School of Medicine confirms this. It found that lower cholesterol levels can lead to muscle atrophy. In fact, a cholesterol level that’s too low can hinder your ability to gain muscle when exercising. So cholesterol appears to have a strong connection to muscles remaining strong.

However, lowering your cholesterol naturally using this chemical from apples allows you to keep your muscles strong and lower your cholesterol at the same time.

If you’re still strong and aren’t worried about falling too much, eating an apple or two a day (along with regular exercise) may be all you need to stay strong. But if you’ve noticed your muscles starting to weaken, then it’s going to be tough to get enough apple peel from your diet. In these cases, you might want to try a supplement like AppleBoost, which you can find online.  This product isolates and concentrates the nutrients of the apple peel into a powerful supplement. Not only will it help your muscles stay strong, it may help lower your weight and cholesterol levels. And its incredible antioxidants can help fight disease.

Eating foods rich in this nutrient helps preserve muscle mass

And, finally, there’s one more nutrient you need to take every day to keep your muscles strong. That nutrient is potassium.

Potassium is an alkaline mineral. When people have an acidic pH, they usually have a potassium deficiency. This can lead to sciatica (back pain), allergies, and muscle wasting. With this in mind, a group of researchers set out to determine if taking potassium could preserve your lean body mass. Here's what they found.

The researchers looked at 384 subjects over the age of 64 who they were already following for vitamin D and calcium intake. They measured their 24-hour elimination of potassium and scientifically measured their lean body mass. Potassium is a marker. If you are eliminating lots of potassium, it means that you're getting plenty in your diet so you don't need to retain it. If you are acidic and need to hold on to potassium, you won't be urinating out so much. And the researchers found that the more potassium excreted in a day, the greater their lean body mass.

During the three years they conducted the study, lean body mass increased an average 2.6%. The authors concluded that “higher intake of foods rich in potassium, such as fruit and vegetables, may favor the preservation of muscle mass in older men and women.”

When eating a really high-quality alkaline diet, you're better able to preserve your muscle and other tissues. That's largely because an alkaline diet preserves your minerals. If you're eating a diet high in grains, processed foods, and carbs, then make sure you're taking enough potassium to keep your muscles strong. Usually, 99 mg daily is enough. But some people may need more.

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