COMING TOWARD THE END OF THE YEAR when the festive season is in full swing and the warmer weather will require that our clients will take a closer look at their waistline, the issue of weight loss, gains momentum and while you may not be involved with your clients’ weight loss activities there are some valuable tips that you can give them to ensure their efforts don’t undo some of the wonderful work you are doing on their skin.  This is because weight loss can contribute to ageing of the face.  So, why is that?

The loss of muscle mass that occurs with weight loss and ageing is known as sarcopenia.  This can occur through inactivity, or poor weight loss methods. Sarcopenia can progress at a rate of approximately 0.8% skeletal muscle loss per year from the fifth decade in adult life. It has an estimated prevalence of 10% in adults older than 60 years, rising to more than 50% in adults older than 80 years. However, if weight loss is achieved just through calorie restriction and insufficient protein, it can also contribute to muscle deterioration that can age the face at a rapid rate.  This is because muscles need sufficient amounts of protein to stay viable, as does your ability to digest and absorb protein. As noted in a 2011 paper in the American Journal of Nutrition:

“Sarcopenia has been attributed to diminished muscle protein synthetic response to food intake. Differences in digestion and absorption kinetics of dietary protein, its amino acid composition, or both have been suggested to modulate postprandial muscle protein accretion.”

In other words, while you need protein to build and maintain muscle, some protein is more easily digested and absorbed than others, so eating the right kind of protein can make a difference in your risk for sarcopenia.

Whey protein, a by-product of cheese production, has long been acknowledged as an excellent source of protein. In this 2011 study, in which whey protein was compared to casein and casein hydrolysate, whey protein was found to stimulate muscle protein accretion (and hence stave off sarcopenia) the best — in part due to its higher leucine content.

Leucine Regulates Protein Turnover in Muscle

One of the reasons why leucine is so important for the prevention of sarcopenia is because it helps regulate the turnover of protein in your muscle. According to a 1975 paper in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, leucine may also “play a pivotal role in the protein-sparing effect of amino acids. As explained in a more recent study, published in 2017:

“Protein ingestion produces a strong anabolic stimulus that elevates muscle protein synthesis. The ability of a serving of protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is dependent on absorption and blood kinetics of amino acids, amount of protein ingested, and the amino acid composition of the protein source.

Only the essential amino acids (EAA), especially leucine, initiate an immediate increase in MPS. Being a rapidly digested protein with a high leucine content, whey has been shown to stimulate MPS more than equal amounts of casein and soy in the first hours after exercise.

Today, there are many protein drinks available in supermarkets, as well as health shops and pharmacies. You can also purchase whey powder and create your own smoothie combining it with your favourite fruit, however, in doing this, it is important that you monitor the sugar content of the fruit you add.

Is whey protein isolate better than whey concentrate?

The answer to this question is yes.  The key difference between whey isolate and whey concentrate is what occurs during the manufacturing process. Put simply, whey isolate goes through a more intense processing phase than its counterpart, whey concentrate.

In the case of whey isolate protein, many of the carbs and fats are removed, leaving primarily protein content. With whey concentrate, most of the carbs and fats remain.

For people who are actively counting macros and are conscious about maintaining an aesthetic physique, whey protein isolate may be the best of the two options simply because it allows a person to consume higher protein content in a shake and save their carbs and fats for whole food meals.

The Importance of Glutathione for Prevention of Sarcopenia

Whey protein also contains another really important master antioxidant  – glutathione. While many whole foods contain glutathione or its precursors, organic grass-fed whey protein is one of the richest sources of this “master antioxidant.”

Glutathione is found in every cell of your body. It protects your cells from free radical damage and is especially important for liver health. It differs from other antioxidants in that it’s intracellular and has the unique ability to optimise the activity of all other antioxidants.

It plays a crucial role in detoxification and protects your cells from the damaging effects of radiation, chemicals and environmental pollutants. It’s also an essential factor in energy utilisation and healthy immune function, and glutathione deficiency has been linked to a wide range of health problems, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, heart conditions, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory conditions and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Glutathione is thought to play an important role in sarcopenia specifically, as patients with sarcopenia tend to have higher levels of oxidative stress. 

Other Health Benefits of Whey Protein

Whey protein has undergone extensive study, revealing an impressive array of benefits over and above its ability to support healthy muscle growth. For example, studies show whey consumption may also:

  • Help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function if you’re overweight and/or have high blood pressure
  • Support normal blood sugar levels and boost insulin sensitivity in Type 2 diabetics
  • Reduce inflammation, including inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In the case of IBD, researchers have suggested its protective actions may be due to its ability to stimulate intestinal mucin synthesis and modify the composition of the gut microbiome
  • Help normalise your weight — Not only is whey protein very filling, but thereby reducing hunger pangs it also boosts metabolism (allowing you to burn more calories) and helps maintain lean muscle mass while shedding excess fat stores.

We trust these healthy tips will help you guide your clients through responsible weight loss without any negative skin ageing in the process.