Physical activity, inflammation, and muscle loss

Nutr Rev. 2007 Dec;65(12 Pt 2):S208-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2007.tb00364.x.


Sarcopenia is the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle that occurs naturally in individuals as they age. Although many factors underlie sarcopenia, epidemiological and experimental evidence suggests that low-grade chronic inflammation is an important contributor to its progression. Still, few healthcare professionals have a clear understanding of the profound effects of cytokines on sarcopenia, or how these effects may be counteracted. Interestingly, mounting evidence suggests that along with good diet and vitamin supplementation, this muscle damage can be mitigated with regular physical activity. Without a doubt, exercise is an intervention that reliably counteracts the loss of muscle mass, strength, and power common in our increasingly aged, and pervasively sedentary, population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Atrophy / etiology
  • Muscular Atrophy / prevention & control*


  • Cytokines