Low muscle mass linked to diabetes

Being overweight is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes; however, a new study shows losing weight alone may not be enough to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes in people with low muscle mass and strength, particularly if they are over the age of 60.

These are the findings of new research from Dr. Preethi Srikanthan of University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues who performed a cross-sectional analysis of 14,528 people from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III.

Dr. Srikanthan and colleagues concluded that age-related muscle loss, or sarcopenia, was associated with greater insulin resistance; and, sarcopenia, independent of obesity, may be an early predictor of diabetes. This association of sarcopenia and insulin resistance was strongest in those who were 60 years and older, the researchers warn.

Apart from these poor health outcomes, sarcopenia in older adults is also clearly associated with other health outcomes such as increased risk of falls, hip fractures, bone loss (osteopenia) and physical disability.
Several earlier studies suggest similarly that a direct correlation exists between sarcopenia in people ages 60 and older and greater risk of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, regardless of body weight.

Study Reference: Srikanthan P, Hevener AL, Karlamangla AS, 2010 Sarcopenia Exacerbates Obesity-Associated Insulin Resistance and Dysglycemia: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III. PLoS ONE 5(5): e10805. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010805

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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