Q: Do seniors need to use whey protein powder or other supplements to maintain muscle mass over the years?
Protein is a major nutrient of particular importance to the elderly. Studies show that, on average, people begin to lose muscle gradually between the ages of 30 and 40, with the loss accelerating after age 60.
When it becomes severe enough, this age-related loss of muscle mass, known as sarcopenia, can lead to serious health problems. Studies show that sarcopenia can increase the risk of falls, fractures, and disabilities. All this can hinder mobility, independence and quality of life for older people. Sarcopenia can also lead to insulin resistance, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
However, eating enough protein can help delay or minimize age-related muscle loss. According to experts, whey protein powder helps meet your protein needs, but it’s not necessary if you want to make sure you get enough protein from your daily diet.
Federal guidelines recommend that most healthy adults consume at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, this is the minimum amount needed to avoid malnutrition, and many experts say you should set your goal slightly higher for optimal health. As we age, we need to consume more than the recommended dietary intake standards to maintain muscle, says Cathy Dodd, registered dietitian and founder of the Geriatric Dietitian blog. ..
“Studies show that older people need a little more protein than younger people,” she said. “Many of them have to do with sarcopenia. They need it to protect their muscle mass. I talk about protein a lot because you need protein to get the most out of the golden age.”
Dodd recommends that, in general, healthy adults over the age of 65 consume at least 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For a 150-pound person, this means eating 68 to 82 grams of protein per day. However, Ms. Dodd cautioned that protein requirements can vary from situation to situation. She said older people with cuts and injuries may need a little more protein to help heal, but people with kidney disease may be advised to reduce their protein intake.
Different levels of physical activity can also change the estimate. It’s a good idea to consult your health care provider before making any major dietary changes.
Whether you get protein from supplements or whole foods, you’ll get most of your protein throughout the day, rather than in one meal, so your body has time to absorb it. It is best to increase the quantity. According to Dodd, you should focus on getting protein from all foods, including fish, dairy, meat, eggs, and chicken. It is also available in plant-based foods like nuts, beans, and lentils. According to Dodd, if you can’t get all the protein you need from all foods, you can increase your intake with protein supplements.
Whey protein is a particularly good source of protein because it is rich in the amino acids that make up protein and is well absorbed by the body. Studies have also shown that when combined with exercise, it is particularly beneficial
for muscle health. However, it may also work for people on vegan, soy, pea, or hemp protein supplements.