Ground breaking research at the University of California and Los Angeles (UCLA), has shown that low skeletal muscle (sarcopenia) increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
To gauge the effect of sarcopenia on insulin resistance and blood glucose levels in both obese and non-obese people, UCLA researchers performed a cross-sectional analysis of data on 14,528 people from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III.
They found that sarcopenia was associated with insulin resistance in both obese and non-obese individuals. It was also associated with high blood-sugar levels in obese people but not in thin people. These associations were stronger in people under age 60 years, in whom sarcopenia was associated with high levels of blood sugar in both obese and thin people, and with diabetes in obese individuals.
Sarcopenia, independent of obesity is associated with adverse glucose metabolism, and the association is strongest in individuals under the age of 60, suggesting that a low muscle mass may be an early indicator of diabetes susceptibility.
Researchers, concluded that given the prevalence of obesity, further research is urgently needed to develop interventions to prevent sarcopenic obesity and its metabolic consequences.