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Nutrition. 2012 May;28(5):495-503. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2011.12.002.

What is dynapenia?

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Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute (OMNI) and Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA.


Dynapenia (pronounced dahy-nuh-pē-nē-a, Greek translation for poverty of strength, power, or force) is the age-associated loss of muscle strength that is not caused by neurologic or muscular diseases. Dynapenia predisposes older adults to an increased risk for functional limitations and mortality. For the past several decades, the literature has largely focused on muscle size as the primary cause of dynapenia; however, recent findings have clearly demonstrated that muscle size plays a relatively minor role. Conversely, subclinical deficits in the structure and function of the nervous system and/or impairments in the intrinsic force-generating properties of skeletal muscle are potential antecedents to dynapenia. This review highlights in the contributors to dynapenia and the etiology and risk factors that predispose individuals to dynapenia. In addition, we address the role of nutrition in the muscular and neurologic systems for the preservation of muscle strength throughout the life span.

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