Drinking green tea and taking a cocoa-rich diet may reduce age-related neuromuscular alterations that occur with sarcopenia - the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function, finds a mice study. The study, published in the journal Aging, examined the impact of two flavonoid-enriched diets containing either green tea extract (GTE) catechins or cocoa flavanols on age-associated regressive changes in the neuromuscular system of C57BL/6J mice.
“Sarcopenia is considered the main causative factor of the physical performance decline in the elderly,” said Jordi Caldero from the Universitat de Lleida in Spain. Sarcopenia is one of the main reasons for loss of muscle mass. On an average, it is estimated that 5-13 percent of elderly people aged 60-70 years are affected by sarcopenia. The numbers increase to 11-50 percent for those aged 80 or above. “The compromised muscular function related with sarcopenia has a negative impact on the life quality of older adults and increases the risk for adverse health outcomes including disability, fall-associated injuries, morbidity, and mortality,” Caldero added.
Besides skeletal muscle wasting, sarcopenia entails morphological and molecular changes in distinct components of the neuromuscular system, including spinal cord motoneurons and neuromuscular junctions.