Muscle, Bone, Protein and the Multiple Myeloma Survivor

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And the answer was a resounding yes. Men and women who ate more protein while weight training did develop larger, stronger muscles than those who did not.

I am a long-term survivor of an incurable blood cancer called multiple myeloma. Though myeloma is a blood cancer, it is sometimes referred to as a bone disease because more than 80% of MM patients will experience bone damage at some point during their disease. Bone health therefore, is a priority all MMers must have for the rest of their lives. Protein is needed for muscle health and muscle health is needed for bone health. 
The studies linked and excerpted below all talk about protein, muscles and lifting weights. When I read articles and studies like these, all I can think about is the effect protein, muscles and lifting weights have on my bone health.  Weight-bearing exercise enhances bone health at all ages. To be fair however, I posted an article below that talks about the possible harms of getting too much protein. 
 
So what is a MM patient/survivor to do? 
 
Combining my personal MM survivor experience with the two articles below I view the protein/muscle/bone debate two ways. As a long-term MM survivor who views bone health as a priority I exercise frequently but moderately. I do this to maintain muscle and bone strength. To be clear I do what I do nutritionally for my health. I am a 58 year old man with a BMI of 22 and a Smart Body Mass Index of 32/70
I follow a diet shown to be balanced to support my health to focus on fruits, veggies and whole grains. I do supplement with protein every morning before my frequent but moderate exercise in an effort to consume the higher protein amounts discussed below. 
 
On the flip-side, consuming higher amounts daily of protein can have negative side effects. MMers with kidney involvement must think twice before supplementing with protein. I risk possible long-term side effects from increased protein consumption only because I exercise six times weekly. If you are a MMer who does not exercise frequently but moderately you should consider consuming a lower daily protein consumption. 
 
David Emerson
  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Articles of Interest:

Multiple Myeloma Bone Health Therapies- both Conventional and Non-Conventional

David Emerson: Multiple Myeloma Survivor Since 3/94

Does Surviving Multiple Myeloma Make You Stronger?

Lift Weights, Eat More Protein, Especially if You’re Over 40

 “People who would like to become physically stronger should start with weight training and add protein to their diets, according to a comprehensive scientific review of research.
 
The review finds that eating more protein, well past the amounts currently recommended, can significantly augment the effects of lifting weights, especially for people past the age of 40. But there is an upper limit to the benefits of protein, the review cautions.
 
On the other hand, any form of protein is likely to be effective, it concludes, not merely high-protein shakes and supplements. Beef, chicken, yogurt and even protein from peas or quinoa could help us to build larger and stronger muscles.
 
It makes intuitive sense that protein in our diets should aid in bulking up muscles in our bodies, since muscles consist mostly of protein. When we lift weights, we stress the muscles and cause minute damage to muscle tissue, which then makes new proteins to heal. But muscles also will readily turn to and slurp up any bonus proteins floating around in the bloodstream
 
Using databases of published research, they looked for experiments that had lasted at least six weeks, included a control group and carefully tracked participants’ protein intake as well as the eventual impacts on their muscle size and strength.
 
They wound up with 49 high-quality past experiments that had studied a total of 1,863 people, including men and women, young and old, and experienced weight trainers as well as novices. The sources of the protein in the different studies had varied, as had the amounts and the times of day when people had downed them.To answer the simplest question of whether taking in more protein during weight training led to larger increases in muscle size and strength, the researchers added all of the results together. 
 
And the answer was a resounding yes. Men and women who ate more protein while weight training did develop larger, stronger muscles than those who did not
 
The impacts of this extra protein were not enormous. Almost everyone who started or continued weight training became stronger in these studies, whether they ate more protein or not.But those who did ramp up their protein gained an extra 10 percent or so in strength and about 25 percent in muscle mass compared to the control groups. The researchers also looked for the sweet spot for protein intake, which turned out to be about 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. In practical terms, that would amount to about 130 grams of protein a day for a 175-pound man. (A chicken breast has about 45 grams of protein.)
 
That number is considerably higher, however, than the protein levels called for in the current federal recommendations, which suggest about 56 grams of protein a day for men and 46 grams a day for women
 
We think that, for the purposes of maximizing muscular strength and mass with resistance training, most people need more protein” than is advised in the recommendations, says Rob Morton, a doctoral student at McMaster who led the study.
 
That advice holds especially true for middle-aged and older weight trainers, he says, almost none of whom were getting the ideal amount of protein in these studies and who, presumably in consequence, tended to show much smaller gains in strength and muscle size than younger people.
 
On the other hand and conveniently, any type of and time for protein was fine. The gains were similar if people downed their protein immediately after a workout or in the hours earlier or later, and it made no difference if the protein was solid or liquid, soy, beef, vegan or any other….

Can You Get Too Much Protein?

Protein has achieved a venerated status in the dietary world for everything from building muscle to preventing weight gain. But can you get too much of a good thing…?
 
But while some nutritionists have encouraged the protein craze, a number of experts are urging caution. They point out that protein powders and supplements, which come from animal products like whey and casein (byproducts of cheese manufacturing) or from plants like soy, rice, pea or hemp, are a relatively new invention. The vast majority of Americans already get more than the recommended daily amounts of protein from food, they say, and there are no rigorous long-term studies to tell us how much protein is too much
 
 “No one can tell you the long-term effects, and that’s what worries me as a physician. No one can tell you what the results are going to be in people’s bodies 10 or 15 years later…”
 
People need sufficient protein in the diet because it supplies indispensable amino acids that our bodies cannot synthesize on their own. Together they provide the essential building blocks used to make and maintain muscle, bone, skin and other tissues and an array of vital hormones and enzymes.
 
But the average adult can achieve the recommended intake — 46 grams of protein a day for women, and 56 grams for men — by eating moderate amounts of protein-rich foods like meat, fish, dairy products, beans or nuts every day
 
American men already consume much greater amounts, averaging nearly 100 grams of protein a day, according to a 2015 analysis of the 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released in January, cautioned that some people, especially teenage boys and adult men, should “reduce overall intake of protein foods” and eat more vegetables
 
Among the groups that fall short on protein intake are teenage girls, who may not eat properly, and elderly people, who are at risk of losing muscle mass and whose appetites often slacken with age
 
Doctors also have concerns about the long-term effects of maintaining a high protein diet. Studies show that protein-rich diets do not preserve muscle mass over the long term, and doctors have long cautioned that a high-protein diet can lead to kidney damage in those who harbor silent kidney disease by putting extra strain on the kidneys. Up to one in three Americans are at risk for kidney impairment because of high blood pressure or diabetes, according to the National Kidney Foundation
 
Furthermore, some researchers worry that the muscle building properties that consumers seek in protein may be a double-edged sword, perhaps even leading to an increased risk of cancer
 
Skeptics dismiss these concerns as speculative, saying they are not supported by adequate evidence. And some nutritionists advise adults to consume twice as much protein as currently recommended.
 
“There is a distinction between what is absolutely minimally required and a more optimal intake level,” said Stuart M. Phillips, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, whose research has been supported by trade groups like the National Dairy Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. He advises adults to eat 30 to 40 grams of protein at every meal to help alleviate the loss of muscle that can occur with aging

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