In this episode we talk about the importance of muscle. We discuss why muscle should be a vital sign, just like your temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.
We talk about studies showing…
- Strong muscle means better cancer survival.
- Strong muscle means better COPD survival.
- Strong muscle means stronger brain.
- Strong muscle means better ICU survival.
- We also talk about the importance of doing more resistance exercises.
TRANSCRIPT OF TODAY'S EPISODE
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 00:03 You’re listening to the Doctor’s In Podcast from martinclinic.com. Although we share a lot of practical and, in our opinion, awesome information, what you hear on this podcast is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease, it’s strictly for informational purposes, so enjoy. Hello, I’m Dr. Martin Jr.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 00:26 I’m Dr. Martin Sr.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 00:27 And this is the Doctor’s In Podcast, and this is Episode 160. Today we want to talk about an interesting paper that was done and it kind of reviewed a lot of the other studies that were previously done. The title of the paper basically is saying that we should consider muscle as a vital sign. When it comes to vital signs we think of pulse and …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 00:51 Blood pressure.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 00:52 … Blood pressure, temperature, and all these kinds of things. This paper’s making the argument that muscle mass should be considered a vital sign because, and it’s true, there’s so much research out there showing the direct correlation between muscle and health and so we’re going to talk about that, should muscle be considered …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 01:13 The new vital sign.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 01:15 … A vital sign. Before we get going into the research, there’s a few things about muscle that make it difficult to talk about. It’s because muscle, aside from when you’re younger, the aesthetic look of muscle, aside from that, muscle is like saving for retirement. It’s like putting money away and there’s nothing fun or glamorous or appealing about retirement. When you’re in your 20s and 30s …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 01:48 You’re not thinking about that.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 01:49 … You’re not thinking about that. You’re not thinking about your retirement, at least the average person isn’t. Well, muscle mass is the equivalent of saving for retirement. When you’re younger it gives you the look but looks fade. It’s more the muscle mass, the consistent muscle mass pays off on the backend of your life so that’s why it’s very tough to talk about. A lot of times, aside from weight loss or changing the appearance of somebody, it’s hard to talk about the advantages of muscle because it is a retirement issue, it is something, but make no mistake, the number one cause of disability in seniors is sarcopenia which is abnormal amount of muscle wasting. If you want to get up out of a chair when you’re older, if you want to get up out of your bed, off the floor, if you fall … Well, you’re going to fall more often if you don’t have it anyways, they’ve shown that.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 02:43 Balance, and oh yeah.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 02:45 All those things. If you want to be able to do that when you’re older, muscle is the most important deciding factor if you could or if you can’t.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 02:54 Yeah.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 02:55 Right?
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 02:55 Well, they’re saying even about grip strength, right?
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 02:58 Well, and that’s … All cause mortality. Grip strength and the ability to get off the floor beat a lot of other tests when it comes to how long you’re going to live. When you can’t grip anymore, when you can’t hold on or open up something, that should be a scary thing in your head because studies have shown that’s a bad indication. When you can’t do those things anymore, that should wake you up. Now here’s the thing, what we’re talking about today is we’re talking retirement. It’s hard to do that. It’s hard to get excited about retirement.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 03:32 Here’s how we’re going to sell it. It will help you now aesthetically. You’ll feel better now but we’re also tricking you because this is the stuff … We’re more concerned about how you’re going to … This is anti-aging, this is real anti-aging. We talked about our beef with the anti-aging industry because it’s all creams. The skin is the largest organ in the body and if you could fool people because they think you look young or your skin looks young then you’re healthy. But the skin, because it’s an organ, organs is only as healthy as the system that’s there so true anti-aging is making sure your body’s healthy, making sure your cells are healthy, your mitochondria specifically, the little battery packs in your cells are healthy, and that’s how you age properly so we’re going to talk about muscle.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 04:24 Now, you and I in presentations before have talked about what we call the anorexia of aging or the normal effects of aging so as you age it’s normal for certain things to happen. Your brain shrinks as you age. Your brain volume decreases as you age, that’s normal, but it’s not normal if it goes too fast or too much. That’s when you start getting dementia, Alzheimer’s, all these cognitive issues. Your lung function decreases as you age. However, it can’t do it too much because another marker for health is VO2 max, your lung capacity. If you can maintain lung capacity, you’re going to do better on the backend of your life because we naturally lose lung capacity as we age.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 05:13 Think of that too, just if you look at your lungs, right? I mean, you think of breathing, a lot of muscles involved in that, right?
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 05:24 Oh, a ton of muscles.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 05:26 Ton of muscles are involved in that, and a lot of people, they’re frail, they lose their ability, the strength in their muscles and that, and the lungs don’t expand like they used to, they don’t … Yeah, they lose connection.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 05:41 The lungs, I find, are a lot of times kind of like you go to the doctor and you’ve got something wrong with you and he takes your temperature and he says, “Oh, there’s something going on.” Lungs is like the thermometer of the body when you age and a lot of times that’s how it ends for people. It’s not … When they fall a break a hip, it isn’t the fall that does the damage, it’s lying in bed after and the inability and they end up with pneumonia, they catch pneumonia so the lungs … Lung health, VO2 max, and all that stuff is crucial. Plus, there’s a direct connection between the mucus in the lungs, and the coughing, and the digestive health, and food allergies and sensitivities, and we can go on forever just on lungs. We should do an episode on lung health.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 06:27 Yeah, we should.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 06:28 Then, another thing that happens as you age, and this is a big one, is muscle wasting. It’s much harder … You lose muscle as you age. It’s hard to maintain muscle, you’re going to lose some as you age. It’s hard to keep it as you get older.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 06:43 You lose a certain percentage every decade.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 06:46 8% every decade you can lose muscle mass so you want to build muscle when you’re younger and you want to work hard to maintain it as you age. If you do not put any money in the bank for retirement it’s going to go fast after, and that’s what we want to talk about. We want to talk about why you have to look at your health as well. When you talk about health you have to include the health of your muscles because not only will more muscle help your metabolism, help you with your glycogen storage, you can store more glycogen, not only does it help all those things, there’s also a lot of indicators. That’s what we’ll talk about here, about a couple of … We’ll highlight some of the bigger studies that show just how important muscle health is for everything, so that’s what we’ll talk about.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 07:34 All right, so here’s the thing. Breast cancer. A study done, and we talked about this one I think maybe earlier this year. Research has shown that women with breast cancer who had more muscle mass had a nearly 60% better chance of survival, alone. A woman that has more muscle mass when they get breast cancer has a 60% better chance of survival, all things being equal. That’s incredible. That’s incredible. The time that a person puts into building muscle prior to getting sick, specifically cancer …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 08:09 Pays a dividend.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 08:10 … Pays a dividend. When people talk about, we talk a lot about cancer prevention but the reality is there are so many factors in the world that we live in … With the plastics, and the chemicals, and the toxins, and all the war on our mitochondria and our cells, that a lot of people will end up with cancer. We believe that cancer’s a metabolic disorder, it’s a metabolic disease, and there are so many different ways to get cancer because cancer is a disease of the mitochondria at the end so there’s so many ways that that can happen.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 08:43 You could do your best, you can eat less chemicals by eating more organic foods, eat more whole foods. You could eat less vegetable crappy oils, you could do all the things …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 08:52 Less sugar.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 08:53 Less sugar, all the things you’re supposed to do. However, we’re breathing plastics, we know that. Studies have shown we are literally breathing plastic particles. We’re drinking plastic. Some people can do … Everybody has the uncle who smoked three packs a day and died at 95, smoked, drank, and everybody uses that example of why they’re going to be the exception to the rule because everybody can point to that one person. “Wow, Uncle Jim lived ’til he was 97 and he smoke and drank so therefore I’m that chance.”
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 09:27 We’re drinking plastic, we’re breathing plastic. A lot of us …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 09:30 [inaudible 00:09:30] wasn’t.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 09:32 It wasn’t, but a lot of us will go through life and not get cancer because of the plastic but some will. That person who will could be ridiculously disciplined in how they eat but guess what? To say that eating a certain way’s going to prevent, that’s, we can’t, there’s no way.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 09:49 There’s no guarantee in cancer.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 09:50 No guarantee in cancer. There’s so many ways that it can come. When we’re talking about that book, Are You Built for Cancer, you could make your body more receptive to getting cancer but even if you don’t … And that’s the thing that people don’t necessarily like to think about but even then … We live in a toxic world. Knowing that, one of the aspects of prevention of cancer because ultimately you want to prevent it, but if you get it you want to be able to fight it off, and muscle mass is crucial. It plays a massive role in your body’s ability to fight off or survive cancer so that’s another reason why.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 10:31 When you go to the gym, you’re building muscle, keep that in the back of your mind, that’s an important one. Okay, so that’s one study I found interesting but here’s another thing. Another study showed that patients in the Intensive Care Unit who had more muscle, here’s the thing. They spent less time on a ventilator, less time in the ICU, and they had a better chance of survival. First we talked about cancer. You get cancer, you have muscle, you have a 60% better chance of surviving. You end up in the ICU on the ventilator, you have a better chance of survival if you have more muscle mass. Strong muscles, better chance of survival.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 11:09 All cause mortality.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 11:11 It doesn’t end there. We talked about COPD. How big is COPD?
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 11:16 [inaudible 00:11:16].
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 11:15 It’s a massive problem. People who have COPD with more muscle have better respiratory outcomes. Fact. Think about that. Think about, again, the benefit to your heart, to your lungs, that muscle have. That alone should be enough for people to say, “All right, I gotta put on more muscle.” Even if it had no benefits today but, again, it’s hard to talk about saving …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 11:44 For retirement.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 11:46 Here’s another one, what about your brain? We talked in our last episode a lot about brain health, right? Here we go. People with, and these are facts. People with lower muscle mass have more severe Alzheimer’s so if you have less muscle you have more severe Alzheimer’s. We can say this crystal clear, there’s enough studies to show this, stronger muscles will need a stronger brain. They found not only it makes your memory better, it makes your cognition better, on the back end. That’s what’s important because one of the fears people have is their brain will not live as long as their body does.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 12:26 Exactly, yeah.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 12:28 When you’re lifting weights and getting strong, your muscles are also getting a stronger brain, it’s important to understand that, it’s important to understand that. Again, better immune system, stronger muscles, better immune system, better chance of fighting off cancer, better chance of surviving if you get really sick, better chance of surviving COPD with more muscle mass, the list goes on and on.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 12:52 We already know about … I don’t know if you’re going bring this up, you’re reading studies, but we already know one of the factors, one of the big factors in muscle is the ability to store glycogen. Again, where does that help? In diabetes. Think about it, if you have more muscles involved, not only diabetes but we always talk about … Your body will do everything it can not to be a diabetic so if you’re a diabetic, man oh man, that really broke down. The ability of your body to take sugar out of your bloodstream, it’s enormous. We know about one of the areas that your body stores is muscle. The more muscle mass you have the better your insulin resistance is going to be and that’s a huge factor in disease.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 13:42 Muscle makes you more insulin sensitive and you need less of it.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 13:45 Yeah, exactly.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 13:46 The point of the thing is, a lot of people talk about, “Hey, I want a better metabolism, I want to be able to burn more calories, I want to be able to eat more.” Well, the way to do that is have more muscle mass because it’s so funny, right? If people look at their, how many calories in a day they burned because I know a lot of people still talk about calories and whatever, that’s fine. But when they talk about calories, how much energy do you burn in a day?. Well, they have your basal metabolic rate, so then they have what they call TDEE which is just the amount of energy your burn just to live … Breathe, cellular functions, and everything.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 14:26 The funny thing is, is that your activity … If you were to put the energy expenditure on a chart the majority of it is built in before your day even starts, breathing and all that kind of stuff. That’s a majority of your energy there. Activity is just a small part of your actual total daily expenditure so people, and it’s so funny …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 14:48 Eat less, exercise.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 14:50 People focus in on that smallest little thing. It’s like, “Well, I gotta be able to burn more energy in a day.” Well, I understand that but the majority of it is just built in. If you want to build in more energy expenditure machine, build more muscle because more muscle means higher BMR, higher TDEE, you burn more energy in a day. More muscle, better metabolism so that’s why it’s funny and here’s the thing. This is where some people, they get kind of upset when we talk about this but if you had to choose between cardio and muscle building as you age, it isn’t even close. It isn’t even close.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 15:34 If long distance cardio … You can’t consume enough energy to burn so you start to break down muscle for glycogen, you start to break down for amino acids, you need all these things so it’s catabolic. That’s the difference if you look at the winner of the Boston Marathon and you look at the winner of the 100 Meter Dash, and you look at difference in …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 15:58 You look at their body.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 15:59 Completely. One’s sprinting, is muscle building, it builds your muscles, those explosive things. Sprinters have way more muscle mass than a long distance runner, they’ve got almost no muscle mass, they’ve got almost none. When it comes to building muscle versus long distance cardio as anti-aging purposes, one is definitely better than the other. Listen, exercise in general is better … We’re saying that at all, but if you say, Listen, I don’t got a lot of time. I don’t have time to do 30 minutes in the cardio and then do weights.” Well, do weights, not even close.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 16:39 We’re pretty consistent. We’ve been talking about this for several years, over 20 years really, you and I have talked about the importance of doing that. Again, it sort of went against the grain a little bit at first, it’s almost like … If you listen to us, how long have we been talking about how good coffee is for you?
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 17:02 Yeah, quite a while. We were talking coffee’s good for you when a lot of GI doctors and all that were talking about colon cancer and all these crazy …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 17:11 Yeah, it’s not good for you. It’s acidic, makes your tissue acidic.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 17:14 All of that stuff.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 17:15 We went against the grain, the Martin Clinic started to go against the grain a little bit and said, “You know what? I don’t know, coffee’s an antioxidant, blah, blah, blah.” It’s the same thing when we talked about, “You know what? Your running that you’re doing, it’s not as good as resisting weights. Get your muscles strong frame-wise.” We know this from a standpoint of joints, what the importance of muscles are for those joints. The anchors. They just anchor your spine and your neck, and we’ve proven this to people.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 17:53 Even for bone health. You and I, we talked about this in a podcast a while ago. Listen, you cannot separate bones from muscle.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 18:01 Can’t do it.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 18:03 The bones, you can’t just say, “Well, that person has osteoporosis.” I guarantee it, that person that got diagnosed with osteoporosis also has way below muscle mass. It’s funny because now you’re seeing a thing which is a person is obese and they have osteoporosis which you would think, “Wow, that doesn’t make any sense.” It’s because that obese person doesn’t have a lot of muscle mass.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 18:27 Most people have seen that image on the internet of that MRI of that really obese person …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 18:32 And seen how small their bones are.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 18:34 Yeah, “I’m big bones.” No you’re not. I’ve look at a lot of x-rays over the years and the bones are pretty much the same size. No. Unfortunately, it’s muscle mass. If you don’t have muscle then it’s fat, you’ll put fat everywhere. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re overweight, if you’re underweight …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 18:52 Ladies, ladies, ladies, ladies.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 18:54 Ladies run, they love to jog.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 18:56 They love to jog. Ladies, they love that treadmill. They like the bike.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 19:00 They’re so much better … Honestly, and again, we’re looking at this. If you enjoy running, awesome, good for you.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 19:07 But just make sure you’re doing weights.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 19:08 Yes, that’s right. Make sure you’re doing weights and make sure you’re eating enough protein. One of the problems with muscle, it’s pretty hard to build muscle if you’re not eating enough protein. That’s another thing, studies are clear on this, women generally don’t get near enough protein. They’re scared of protein, they don’t eat enough of it.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 19:27 Chicken, chicken, chicken.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 19:29 Yeah.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 19:29 Chicken and salad.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 19:30 At the end of the day, they don’t get enough of it. They just don’t eat enough protein.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 19:33 We say, “What do you think you are, a rabbit?”
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 19:36 They don’t get enough protein.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 19:37 They don’t.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 19:38 They’re not eating enough protein, they’re running on a treadmill or they’re walking, they’re catabolic. Walking’s awesome, walking’s one of the best thing you can do.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 19:46 I love walking.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 19:47 Study after study shows how good walking is. Even a light walk, how good it is for your brain. Walking …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 19:52 Gets your insulin down.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 19:53 Yeah, it’s awesome. 90 seconds of walking every hour would cut blood glucose levels in half, it’s ridiculous, so walking is so good for you. But there’s a different thing that happens when you get into what they call steady state cardio, once you start running for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and the body gets into that steady state cardio, you start to get catabolic a little bit. Again, if you like it awesome. Make sure, do not sacrifice, and listen. If you don’t have access to weights, start doing some body, there are so many body weight exercises you can do …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 20:28 Without any equipment.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 20:29 Without any equipment. Somebody’s in shape and they’re like, “Well, I need squats.” Yeah? Do 100 body weight squats, see how hard that is. There’s a lot of ways to burn your quads. There’s a lot of ways to burn your hamstrings. Then, there’s a lot of upper body stuff, pushing and pulling. Do weights. Again, one of the reasons … People look at, for example, arms. Triceps is three muscles, biceps two muscles. Triceps makes up the majority of your arm volume but as you age the ability to get out of a chair is triceps strength.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 21:08 If your triceps are weak, you’re going to have a hard time getting out of a chair.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 21:12 When you watch an old person trying to get … I got to be careful because I’m a senior but watch them get out of a car. They have a hard time. It’s hard for them to get out of a car.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 21:22 They can’t do a body weight squat, even. They can’t do a body weight squat, they can’t get up out of a car, they have a hard time getting out of a chair, they have no core strength. Well listen, how many days of the week are you at the gym?
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 21:34 Three to four.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 21:35 Three to four. People always ask, “You do …” Which is you do legs every time you go.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 21:41 Every time.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 21:42 I mean, a lot of people …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 21:44 Legs, brain, that’s what I’m thinking.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 21:46 Well, it’s funny because …
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 21:47 You know that, you put me on the program, even for my low back. It’s strengthened my low back unbelievable by doing my legs, but I do legs every time.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 21:59 People that have chronic low back pain have chronic weak hamstrings. Weak is a relative term because some of these guys are strong but they’re quad dominant, their quads are so much stronger than their hamstrings that their hamstrings are weak in relation to their quads so they end up with low back pain and they tightly sit. You’re at the gym three to four times a week, you do legs every time. Again, when you’re younger, people are younger, they do upper body, they call them the [inaudible 00:22:25] muscles. They do the upper body but you don’t walk on your hands so I think we should be doing legs a lot more. Plus, legs are your biggest muscles, quads are huge. Biggest muscles, so bigger legs, stronger muscles, higher metabolism.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 22:43 More insulin sensitivity.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 22:45 Plus, when you do legs it forces a full range of motion so it puts you right down into that squat motion. So good for your hips, all that kind of stuff, so you do a full body workout three to four times a week.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 22:57 Where do people get disabled really quickly, think about it, hips and knees, right? Hips and knees, hips and knees. What are they replacing today in the [inaudible 00:23:06]? Hips and knees, hips and knees, hips and knees.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 23:09 We have an upcoming training video that we’re doing on joint pain because people have been asking about that so that will be on our website in the next little bit as well. Listen, as we end this episode let’s just talk quickly. On our website, martinclinic.com, we have a ton of videos that are on our main page that if you go there. What we’ve done and we’ve been doing over the last while is we’ve recorded a ton of presentations so that if somebody’s like, “Hey, I got IBS.” Well, we got a video presentation on IBS.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 23:41 We reverse engineer it.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 23:43 Somebody says, “Hey, I’m worried about my brain.” Have that. Somebody’s got, “My hormones are a mess.” Got a whole program on there for them to watch. We’re doing that for everything.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 23:51 Everything we can think of.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 23:53 Everything we can think of, so we got a joint one coming out in the next little bit. We got one for high blood pressure and all that coming out. Again, you can go to our website, you can get these free videos and learn a ton of stuff. We’ve also built out a ton of quizzes on our website that … They’re questions that we ask in our clinic here to help … Basically, they’re educational, we’re not there to diagnose anything but they’re for fun, but they give you a good indication if you have a lot of the symptoms of, for example, high cortisol. We have a leaky gut quiz.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 24:26 Thyroid.
Dr. Martin, Jr.: 24:27 Thyroid quiz, cortisol quiz, B12 quiz. Lot of people wondering about B12 levels. Estrogen quiz. A lot of these things you can go there and learn a little bit more about some of the symptoms you may be having just by going on our website at martinclinic.com. Again, we want to thank you for listening. Have a great day.
Dr. Martin, Sr.: 24:47 Thanks for listening to The Doctor is In Podcast from martinclinic.com. If you have any questions, you can reach us at email@example.com. If you’re not a newsletter subscriber, you can head to our website and sign up for free. We also have private Facebook group that you can join, it’s a community of awesome people. Finally, I do a Facebook Live every Thursday morning at 8:30. Join us again next week for a new episode.