Lean body mass is constituted by the muscles, vital organs, bone and bone marrow, connective tissue and body water.
The percentage of lean body mass to fat not only determines the body's aesthetic appearance, but more importantly, it is also an index of physical fitness, health status, susceptibility to disease and premature mortality.
In this context, body mass index (BMI) is a reliable indicator of healthy body composition.
Epidemiological studies indicate that the impact of body composition on health starts early in life.
The association between body mass and mortality in more than 100,000 U.S. women 30 to 55 years of age was evaluated. The lowest mortality rate was observed among women who weighed at least 15 percent less than the U.S. average for women of similar age and among those whose weight had been stable since early adulthood1.
In a separate study, it was found that being overweight in adolescence predicted a broad range of adverse health effects that were independent of adult weight after 55 years of follow-up2.
The biochemical mechanism of maintaining or increasing lean body mass is related to the availability of cyclic AMP.
By facilitating hormonal action, cyclic AMP may regulate the body's thermogenic response to food, increase the body's basal metabolic rate, and increase utilization of body fat (since thermogenesis is preferentially fueled by fatty acids derived from body fat and/or food).
These events also correspond to the buildup of lean body mass.
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