Older Adults May Need More Protein Than Recommended

Protein consumption allows the body to build and maintain muscle mass, which can lead to better overall health and a reduction in body fat when combined with strength-building exercises and a sensible diet.

New research published in the American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that U.S. recommendations for daily protein consumption may be too low for older adults.

The current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, or about 62 grams of protein per day for someone who is 170 pounds.

Doubling up on protein consumption may be the solution

After studying a group of healthy adults between the ages of 52 and 75, the researchers found that doubling up on protein consumption (1.5g/kg of body weight per day) helped to improve muscle protein synthesis.

The study also found that distributing protein consumption throughout the day didn't seem to matter as much as total protein consumed. This suggests that older adults who skip a protein-rich meal at breakfast, for example, can receive the same muscle-building benefits if they make up for it by consuming more protein later in the day.

"Although there was no clear effect of the pattern of protein intake in our study, we observed a definitive effect of a higher amount of protein intake in mixed meals on whole body net protein balance and muscle protein synthesis," the authors wrote. "Whole body net protein balance was greater with protein intake above recommended dietary allowance."

Source: American Physiological Society

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