Skinny Fat – Are You Losing Your Mind?

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Do you fear you will lose your capacity to think quickly, and to remember the facts that have been important to you personally and professionally?

One of my greatest fears is that as I age I will lose my capacity to think quickly and to remember the facts that have been important to me personally and professionally. Dr. Maupin worries about forgetting words that she knows and uses regularly. She identifies this as a common reality and as the first step for the onset of dementia. It is not a standalone indicator of dementia, but it is one of the identifiers we use to decide that an elderly person is beginning to lose some executive function.

This week we are discussing an article published by the Florida Atlantic University Brain Center. They did a study and found that there is a demonstrable impact of what they call sarcopenic obesity as the first marker, followed by sarcopenia alone and then by obesity on the cognitive decline of elderly people.  The condition identified as sarcopenic obesity a condition of losing muscle fiber or muscle mass and the conversion of that tissue to fat tissue. You need this muscle mass as you age to enable you to get around and to be mobile and have balance.

If you have begun to lose muscle and convert it to fat AND have lost your testosterone you will find that you do not have the ability to make more muscle. You will not recover from a loss of muscle mass unless you BOTH replace your testosterone and exercise. You can build muscle mass if you eat properly and exercise. But you need the foundation of testosterone to build upon.

As we age, many of us become more sedentary and isolated. We feed ourselves more and more sugar in part because we lose our taste buds which help us distinguish among tastes. Many elderly people report that they can only taste sweet things, so they tend to eat more of them. Also, we find a lot of people over 50 who drink a great deal of soda, which is primarily a sugar drink. These taste preferences (or addictions) compound their negative effects as you become more sedentary and less mobile. These together, lead to what we are now calling sarcopenic obesity.

Working memory, mental flexibility, self- control and orientation are all negatively impacted by obesity and loss of muscle mass. To fight these realities, we must take testosterone, exercise and eat a proper diet. We have to rebuild our muscle mass when and while we can.

Some of these things are things we have known, but the Florida Atlantic University study has shown us the relationship between obesity and muscle mass, the damage of the inflammation in our bodies and sharpened our thinking about the necessity to fight these conditions as we age. We do not want to become skinny fat, nor do we want to lose mental acuity, recall and executive function.


This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author, with Brett Newcomb, MA., LPC., Family Counselor, Presenter and Author.

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