By Mary Ellen Posthauer RDN, CD, LD, FAND
Recently, I attended a webinar that focused on dietary protein and preserving lean muscle mass. There is a wealth of research on this topic, in particular, as it relates to older adults and protecting muscle health during inactivity. Dr. Robert Demling noted the effect of lean body mass (LBM) loss on wound healing. Healing a wound requires increased calories to prevent the body from breaking down protein (LBM) for energy, thus depleting protein stores required for protein synthesis and healing. Lean body mass is metabolically active, transports protein throughout the body and is essential for survival as it contains all of the skeletal and smooth muscles and immune cells. Healthy adults lose between 3-8% of LBM per decade and after age 70 muscle loss increases to 15% per decade. This loss of LBM or sarcopenia is an age-related, insidious loss of lean muscle mass accelerated by physical inactivity and poor nutrition.