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Healthy blood vessels, strong muscles

A bad and unhealthy shape of your blood vessels will weaken your muscles. South Korean researchers from the University of Gyeongsang discovered the link between vascular health and muscle strength in a study involving 236 women.

The researchers determined the flexibility of their blood vessels in the women, who were all over 60 years of age. Then determined the hand grip strength of the women by letting them squeeze a spring with all their strength.

Healthy blood vessels are flexible. The greater the flexibility of the blood vessels, the greater the strength in the hands of the study participants.

Healthy blood vessels, strong muscles

As the blood vessels are in a better condition, the muscles receive more oxygen and nutrients, the researchers suspect.

"Endothelial dysfunction [...] leads to decreased secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), thus facilitating functional muscle ischaemia", write the Koreans. "In an animal study, the expression of VEGF is down-regulated in aged animals. This might lead to impaired VEGF-induced angiogenesis in the ischaemic limb of old mice."

"This impairment of angiogenesis may lead to a reduction in capillary number and subsequent blood flow reduction. Consequently, decreased VEGF related to endothelial dysfunction might lead to negative muscular protein balance and sarcopenia."

"In conclusion, we demonstrate the correlation between endothelial function and skeletal muscle strength in elderly women", the reserachers summarize. "Our finding provides additional support for a relevant role of vascular system in sarcopenia."

J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2018 Aug 6. doi: 10.1002/jcsm.12340. [Epub ahead of print].

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