Lack of protein, exercise, and older age can all contribute to muscle loss or atrophy. Research suggests having diabetes is another contributing factor to muscle loss, and many people are not aware of this link.
It’s natural to lose some muscle mass as we age, and as a result, it can negatively impact our ability to carry out everyday activities and tasks. It’s advised that older adults ensure they’re eating enough protein and exercising regularly to reduce their risk of muscle loss, but it may also be wise to monitor your sugar levels as a preventative measure as well.
Researchers now uncovered two proteins that contribute to muscle loss as a result of high blood sugar.
The researchers found that transcription factor KLF15 increased in the skeletal muscle of diabetic mice. Mice who lacked KLF15 in their muscles were resistant to diabetes-induced skeletal muscle mass. This suggests that diabetes-induced muscle loss is triggered by higher amounts of KLF15.
But how can KLF15 levels increase? The researchers found that higher glucose levels slow down the degradation of KLF15 protein, which causes KLF15 levels to become higher. Furthermore, the researchers found that a protein known as WWP1 also plays a key role in the regulation and degradation of KLF15 protein.
This is the first study to not only show that diabetes increases the risk of muscle loss, but it also identifies the proteins behind this.
There is currently no drug treatment for muscle loss, but the researchers speculate, “If we develop a drug that strengthens the function of WWP1 or weakens the function of KLF15, it would lead to a groundbreaking new treatment.”
In the meantime, it’s important to eat adequate levels of protein, exercise regularly, and control your blood sugar levels to reduce your risk of muscle loss.