Toast2 wrote:You're right; that was rather sketchy.
What I'm looking for is research on or even anecdotal evidence of how exercise and nutrition "rules" might change for post-menopausal women.
Since my original post, I've found an interesting paper on the topic which notes the obvious factors (such as lower levels of hormones) but also the "conflicting results among studies" on whether low concentrations of estrogen are clearly related to muscle mass and strength declines. It's given me some answers, and for those interested, here's more:
The paper notes that older women have less contractile protein (the force generators of muscle contraction ... I had to look that up!) in fast-twitch muscle fibers; and that because estrogen receptors apparently play a role in the repair process after strength training and are more numerous on fast-twitch fibers, it could be that the loss of fast-twitch fibers after menopause "might amplify muscle protein breakdown and could lead to a reduction of the response to muscle adaptation response after exercise."
As for me, even though I've been on HRT for years, it's the lowest-possible dose, and it does not manage all of my symptoms -- just enough to keep my husband from justifiably leaving me. :)
Interesting information on estrogen. I'll look up the paper on it that you posted and read it.
An interesting study on testosterone is Building muscles without testosterone
[ http://www.ergo-log.com/building-muscle ... erone.html
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"Contrary to the commonly accepted role of testosterone in strength training-induced muscle hypertrophy and within the limitations of this study, we present preliminary evidence that near optimal muscle adaptations can occur in older hypogonadal men"...
Extrapolation of Information
While testosterone helps with increasing strength and muscle mass, it appears are still obtainable.
Extrapolation of Research
Based on the testosterone research, it appears that you should be able to make gains while on estrogen. However, extrapolating information comes down to guessing.
Protein Intake Per Meal
I don't want to increase that dosage just for the sake of some visible muscle definition since I don't think the risks balance that out, but do wonder what else I might be able to do. Up my intake of protein? (I've only just started to track every bite; yesterday, I took in about 70 grams. I don't know if that's good or bad.) Take more rest days away from the gym? (Typical: I've missed one day out of the last 10; cardio each time and weights every other time.) Tweak my diet? (I have a really varied diet; lots of different vegetables throughout the day, a little fruit, fish or chicken, eggs, nuts ... I really try to pack in the nutrition every day. My one tracked day showed 1600 calories.) I sleep like a baby for 8.5 to 9 hours every night, so that's good.
Research by Dr. Layne Norton shows that the amino acid Leucine triggers the anabolic "muscle building" effect.
The minimal amount per meal/serving of Leucine is 2.5 grams to elicit this effect.
The minimum of 2.5 grams of Leucine is a definitive number. That meaning that no matter what a person weight is, 2.5 grams is needed to obtain the effect.
Here more information on...
Getting older? Extra leucine boosts anabolic stimulus of proteins
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Research shows that older individual need to consume more protein per serving than younger individuals to obtain the same effect.
For a younger individual, 25 gram per serving works. For older individuals, around 35 gram per serving is necessary to obtain the same effect.
Thus, the recommendation is those over 50 years old need to bump their protein intake.
The amount of Leucine in protein varies.
Meats, dariy, and eggs contain approximately 8% Leucine. (31.25 grams of meat = 2.5 grams of Leucine. 31.25 X 8%)
About 10% of whey protein is composed of Leucine. (25 grams of whey protein = 2.5 grams of Leucine. 25 X 10%)
So, the choice of your protein matters.
For individuals who have a hard time consuming more protein, another solution is to combine Leucine with your present protein meal.
Research show this method works...
Added leucine makes wheat protein as anabolic as whey
http://www.ergo-log.com/added-leucine-m ... -whey.html
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"Research is what I am doing, when I don't know what I am doing."
I don't really expect any definitive answers here, but thought I'd throw this out to the experienced group for your thoughts/opinions. Not sure that there's a lot I can do to combat Father Time's ass-kicking when it comes to muscle definition, but at least I'm doing what I can to stay upright and functional.
Doing your research, as you have, is one of the keys to improving things.
The second part of that requires some experimentation on your part via Einstein's method of "Taking an educated guess and seeing if it works.
Your Exercise Program
You may find tweaking your exercise program may help. It hard to say without known exactly what your program is.
Since you have a bodybuilder in the family, he would be a good source.
"Changes in Muscle Mass and Strength After Menopause,"
The paper I referred to is "Changes in Muscle Mass and Strength After Menopause," published by the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, for anyone interested.
I found the abstract. One of the interesting comments is...
"Among modifiable factors, low physical activity and protein intakes
are the best contributors to sarcopenia and the loss of strength in postmenopausal women."
Consuming 70 grams of protein a day indicates that you increasing it might help.
If that 70 grams is broken down into three meals, that would mean you are obtaining about 1.92 gram of Leucine per meal.
Take Home Message
1) 2.5 gram of Leucine is the definitive minimum needed per meal/serving.
2) Older individual need more to elicit the same effect as younger individuals do.
3) 1.92 grams (my guess) per meal/serving is below the level needed to keep you in an anabolic "muscle building" state.
4) Increase your Leucine intake in some manner.