Grip Strength, What Does It Say About You?

15 August 2023

Grip Strength, What Does It Say About You?

Grip Strength

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As the term suggests, ‘grip strength’, also known as hand strength, is a measure of the force that an individual can apply with the muscles of the hand and forearm. It is assessed using a specialised piece of equipment as known as hand grip dynamometer. Although used traditionally as measure of motor function, grip strength is featuring increasingly in scientific studies as a diagnostic tool in the prediction of a variety of health issues, including frailty, age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia), depression and related adverse events (falls, etc.) and to assess the clinical outcome of relevant approaches to treatment. For example, the results of a study on more than 115,000 adults, found there was a significant association between stronger handgrip and lower depression risk (1).

In a separate study (2) examining the link between grip strength and risk of falling, a group of 204 women (median age of 68 years old) were assessed for handgrip strength using a hand grip dynamometer at an initial appointment and then again 18 months later.  During the follow-up period, 27% of participants experienced at least one fall, however, risk for falls was a significant 2.73 times higher in women who had poor handgrip strength than in those who had normal handgrip strength; the risk was even greater in women with impaired balance.

Another interesting consideration is the impact of protein intake and source (animal vs plant protein) on grip strength. In a nationally representative sample of older adults, consuming 25g of protein or more at 2 or more eating occasions was not associated with grip strength (3). However, higher daily protein intake was positively associated with grip strength in women (3).

Higher animal protein intake and higher levels of physical activity were independently associated with lower risks of functional impairment and greater preservation of grip strength in adults over the age of 50 years. Higher dietary intakes of total and animal protein were protective against loss of grip strength in community-dwelling adults aged 60 years and older (4).

Increasing the intake of protein from these sources may help to maintain muscle strength and support prevention of mobility impairment in older adults. Additionally, the intake of specific amino acids is suggested to represent an effective strategy for improving the anabolic response of muscle during aging, amongst them, is taurine. Research shows that it possesses the ability to target genes that trigger the catabolic processes involved at the onset of sarcopenia and muscle trauma (5). In light of evidence such as this, we have included this amino acid, and a number of other exciting new ingredients, in the formulation of Time 4 Whey Protein Professional.