Never too late to improve QOL: fighting muscle loss
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Japan’s average life expectancy at birth is 83.7 years—the highest in the world! The main reasons are thought to be a lifestyle that includes more walking and other exercise and a healthy diet with fewer calories and plenty of vegetables. In many families, elderly people live with their children and grandchildren and often share meals together.
Growing old this way may sound wonderful but increased longevity can present challenges for society. While the number of elderly people in Japan continues to increase, the overall population of the nation is actually declining. By the year 2050, 40 percent of the Japanese population will be 65 or older, resulting in soaring healthcare and nursing costs.
That’s why Ajinomoto Group has been investigating ways to enhance the quality of life (QOL) for senior citizens. Indeed, the company considers QOL one of its most important missions.
One of the biggest physical problems that seniors face is sarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength, which leads to frailty. This weakened condition can lead to mobility disorders and an increased risk of falls and fractures, especially for people who live alone. On the other hand, if the effects of sarcopenia can be minimized, we can expect a considerable improvement in QOL. Seniors could enjoy greater mobility, avoid unnecessary injuries, and feel much better over the long term.
One of the fruits of our research is an essential amino acid mix with 40% Leucine, a proprietary blend of nine essential amino acids that are required for muscle protein synthesis. Clinical trials revealed that seniors who combined this supplement with exercise twice a week for at least 60 minutes had significantly greater increase in leg muscle mass, muscle strength, and walking speed compared to those who did not follow the program. Besides offering our essential amino acid mix with 40% Leucine in Ajinomoto brand supplements, the company partners with other firms who employ it in beverages and food products that are marketed separately.
Life expectancies are on the increase not only in Japan but around the world. As a company that is passionate about life, Ajinomoto Group is committed to the development of foods, supplements, and other innovative products that help seniors everywhere live healthy, productive lives.