[Home] [Philosophy] [What's New] [Products] [FAQ] [Feedback] [Order]

From The Desk Of Clarence Bass

If you enjoy and benefit from our website and products, tell your friends.

horizontal rule

Weight Training Reverses Almost 40 years of Aging—in Six Months

Restores Youthful Genetic Footprint to Mitochondria

It’s no secret that muscles become smaller and weaker with age—and that resistance training restores size and function to aging muscles. Evidence suggests that a key portion of the decline occurs in a component of muscle cells called the mitochondria, the principle engine of energy production. (Mitochondria use oxygen to convert carbohydrate, fat and protein into energy.) If the mitochondria aren’t working well, overall strength and endurance suffer. What happens to aging mitochondria at the molecular level, however, has not been adequately delineated. To fill this gap in knowledge, scientists at McMaster University in Canada and Buck Institute for Age Research in California compared gene expression profiles of mitochondria in healthy younger (26) and older (25) adult men and women. They then looked at the relationship between the gene profiles and muscle strength. Finally, the gene profiles of older adults were compared before and after six months of weight training. The results, published online May 23, 2007 in PLoS One, a journal of the Public Library of Science, were an eye-opening look at the underlying process of muscle aging and a dramatic validation of the rejuvenating power of resistance training.

The older group was active and healthy with an average age of 70.  The younger group was 35-50 years younger and relatively inactive.

Biopsies taken from the thigh of all subjects showed a significantly different gene expression pattern in the mitochondria of the two groups. “We identified 596 genes that were differentially expressed between the two age groups,” the researchers reported. They also found that the difference was correlated to muscle strength. “We found that strength was 59% lower for older as compared to younger individuals.”  

Fourteen of the older participants then performed resistance training twice a week for six months under direct supervision of a research assistant. After a general warm-up, they did 3 sets of 10 reps in 11 traditional exercises covering all body parts. Strength was evaluated every two weeks and poundages were adjusted upward as strength increased. Workouts lasted about an hour.

“The older individuals were able to improve strength by approximately 50%, to levels that were only 38% less than that of young individuals,” the researchers wrote. In other words, weight training closed the strength gap from 59% to 38%, an improvement of almost 36% in only six months. Even more impressive, however, was the change in gene expression profiles.

Biopsies showed “a remarkable reversal of the expression profile of 179 genes associated with age and exercise training,” the researchers wrote. “Genes that were down-regulated with age were correspondingly up-regulated with exercise, while genes that were up-regulated with age, were down-regulated with exercise.”

The researchers summarized their findings: “We report here that healthy older adults show a gene expression profile in skeletal muscle consistent with mitochondrial dysfunction and associated processes such as cell death, as compared with young individuals. Moreover, following a period of resistance exercise training in older adults, we found that age-associated transcriptome expression changes were reversed, implying a restoration of a youthful expression profile.” (Emphasis added.)

“The main, novel finding,” Co-author Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky told CS (Canadian Press) writer Sheryl Ubelacker, “is that we could bring that aging mitochondria pattern back towards a younger person, almost reversing the aging signature, pretty much by 40, 45 years with six months of weight training.”

The other co-author, Dr. Simon Melov told CS that the scientists were “very surprised by the results.”

Yes, it’s a big deal.

As usual, I have summarized and simplified this study, so it would make sense to me—and you. The bottom-line is that it’s very good news for people who believe they can control their destiny to a marked degree with regular exercise and healthy eating. Gluttons for punishment who want more details can read the study online: Google “PLoS ONE: Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle

horizontal rule

Ripped Enterprises, P.O. Box 51236, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87181-1236 or street address: 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail:  cncbass@aol.com, FAX:  (505) 266-9123.  Office hours:  Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time.  FAX for international orders: Please check with your local phone book and add the following: 505 266-9123

[Home] [Philosophy] [What's New] [Products] [FAQ] [Feedback] [Order]

Copyright © 2007 Clarence and Carol Bass.  All rights reserved.