It’s not news that exercise is vital to your health and longevity. In fact, it’s the perfect example of the old phrase “use it or lose it.”
When you stop moving your body enough, you end up with weak muscles. And your quality of life can start to suffer. Stay sedentary for TOO long, and you could pay the ultimate price as you end up in an early grave.
But if you feel like exercising is getting harder to do with every passing year, it’s not your imagination. We typically start to lose some muscle tissue as we age. Doctors even have a name for those weak muscles… sarcopenia.
It can make ordinary things you used to do without even thinking about them… such as getting in and out of the car, removing lids from jars, and climbing the stairs… suddenly seem like much more of a challenge.
Eventually, it can increase your risk of falling and rob you of your independence. But a new study has revealed a simple solution that can start with what you fix for dinner.
I’ll explain exactly how in just a moment. But first, let’s take a quick look at why your muscles are becoming weaker in the first place.
Weak muscles become more common with age
There are a few different things which can contribute to those shrinking muscles…
- dropping hormone levels
- getting less exercise
- not getting enough of the right nutrients in your diet
That last one can be a real doozy. Because poor health can be the REASON, you’re not getting enough exercise or eating right.
In fact, one of the biggest causes of muscle wasting is heart failure.
When you have heart failure the left ventricle of your heart, which is responsible for pumping blood out to the rest of your body, becomes damaged. And that leaves your heart unable to circulate your blood as effectively as before.
This leads to what docs like to call “exercise intolerance.” But you and I would probably refer to it as just feeling too pooped to move.
Being too tired to exercise leads to weak muscles
Our old enemy oxidative stress is partially to blame for the inability to exercise and weak muscles. It skyrockets when your heart is struggling.
When you’re healthy, antioxidant enzymes come to the rescue, stopping oxidative stress in its tracks. And mending any damage it’s already done.
But for a reason researchers are still struggling to understand, when you have heart failure the signals from a protein (Nrf2) that manages your antioxidant enzymes start to weaken. The resulting fatigue leaves you too tired to exercise. And eventually, that leads to weakening muscles.
But a new animal study may have just revealed a ridiculously simple way to reactivate your Nrf2. And researchers say it could help ALL of us who are beginning to struggle with exercise as we age… regardless of whether we have heart failure or not.
Are you ready for this? Fix some curry for dinner.
Because it turns out curcumin—a compound found in turmeric the golden root used to give curries their gorgeous rich color—can activate sleepy Nrf2 boosting its signals once again.
No more weak muscles & exercise is a breeze again
For the study, researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center tested the exercise abilities of a group of mice with heart failure. Picture the little guys running on exercise wheels until they’re exhausted, and you’ll get the idea.
They then divided the mice into two smaller groups. Group one got a daily dose of curcumin for 12 weeks. And group two didn’t get the supplement.
At the end the end of the three months, they tested their ability to exercise once again. And compared those results to two healthy groups of mice… one who had received the supplement and one who hadn’t.
Nrf2 levels skyrocketed in the mice with heart failure which had received the curcumin. And their antioxidant enzymes started to bounce back too.
That was exciting enough. But the surprises didn’t end there. The curcumin supercharged the ability to exercise in BOTH groups which had received the supplement.
In other words, no more weak muscles because both the mice with heart failure AND the healthy mice had a jump in their exercise capacity. Which means the muscle building benefits of the curcumin isn’t limited to those who have heart failure. It could help any one of us begin to rebuild the muscles that age is trying to steal from us.
But keep in mind to get anywhere close to the amount of curcumin the mice were receiving in the study (50 mg/kg) you likely can’t rely on diet alone. You will need to add a supplement to your routine as well.