If you only read this one sentence you will at least get the point that more protein is needed for older active adults to build and maintain muscle for the best of health.
Two weeks ago at one of our Chiropractic Conventions, I ran into Dr. Catherine from Burtchville MI. We had a good conversation about protein needs for older adults and the inconsistent information available. Older and especially active folks need more protein than their younger counterparts, period. Some time ago, that may have been considered controversial, but now many experts consider it a fact. I recall reading that a high protein intake resulted in bone loss and put a strain on the kidneys, both are risky for older people. Now it’s been shown that more protein is a benefit for bone health, and getting enough protein is as important as getting enough calcium and vitamin D-3. Higher protein intakes, of up to 35% of daily calories, could be a risk to older people only when they already suffer from some type of kidney function problem.
There is no question that not only do older people progressively lose muscle as they age but also their body resists building new muscle. Starting around age 50, adult muscle loss known as sarcopenia, ranges anywhere from 0.5% to 2% of total muscle mass each year,
Now the best news is that after age 50, if you get enough high-quality protein (click here) in the diet, along with physical activity, can help overcome muscle loss and promote muscle gain. However, research shows that for people who are inactive, muscle loss can begin much earlier in age. And, inactivity along with low protein intake, means continued muscle loss with age is a sure thing.
Protein is a Nutrient
Protein is a nutrient that the body needs to grow and maintain itself. Next to water, protein is the most plentiful substance in our bodies. Just about everyone knows that muscles are made of protein. Actually, every single cell in the body has some protein. In addition, other important parts of the body like hair, skin, eyes, and body organs are all made from protein.
Many substances that control body functions, such as enzymes and hormones, also are made from protein. Other important functions of protein include forming blood cells and making antibodies to protect us from illness and infections.
Seniors who suffer from osteoporosis, cancer, and an impaired immune system could benefit from taking whey protein supplements, says the University of Michigan Health System. Whey could help support cancer treatment, as well as treat cataracts, diabetes, and viral hepatitis, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Elderly individuals who have impaired mental function could experience improvements from taking whey protein.
If you combine resistance exercise, such as lifting weights, push-ups, or doing planks getting proper protein intake appears to protect muscle and strength, even during weight loss. Whey Protein Isolate has the most essential amino acid leucine to promote muscle tissue synthesis.
Research shows that protein requirements increase with age. Recommendations for how much protein is enough for older people vary, but it is suggested that most people over age 65 should take in about 1 g to 1.3 g of protein/kg of body weight per day to both gain and maintain muscle mass and function. There are no separate recommendations for people between ages 50 and 65, but getting enough protein during that time would make good nutrition sense. Note: Exercise increases the efficiency of muscle protein synthesis in older adults.
Older vegetarians can achieve a higher recommended protein intake, but it requires more planning. Vegetarians should get protein from soy products, such as tofu, soymilk, soy yogurt; lentils; beans; nuts; and seeds.
Why Start Now?
The average senior is consuming less than 16% of daily calories as protein, compared with the current recommended range of 10% to 35% of daily calories for optimal health. It’s best to focus on maintaining intake of high-quality proteins throughout life and not waiting until you’re older. If you are older then start today… Seniors should work towards 30g of Protein at each meal and include protein snacks as well. Whey protein (click here) has the highest absorption rate of any protein food source. This is known as the Biological Value or BV, which is an indication of how much protein in each food is available to the body to utilize. Whole eggs have a BV of 93.7 and whey protein has a BV of 100 (the higher the BV, the better.)
As always, I wish you the best of health. And yes, we too say this with Passion…
Amazing things happen when we give our body what it needs.
And not-so-amazing things happen when we don’t.