HOW DOES AGE AFFECT PROTEIN NEEDS?

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Exercise in combination with protein supplementation is a common practice among athletes today. The main goal is to increase muscle mass and strength. Although there are many studies on the subject, there are conflicting results if protein supplementation really is as effective in enhancing muscle mass and strength. This is probably due to the difference in age, training volume, amount of protein intake etc. between the athletes participating in the studies.

49 Studies Analyzed

To further investigate the matter, the author combined data from 49 different studies. In this study, the researchers wanted to see if protein supplementation was beneficial for increasing muscle mass and strength in athletes training >2 a week for at least 6 weeks. Another question they set out to answer was if is there’s a limit of protein intake in which the supplementation ceases to benefit the training?

Adding Protein Improves Strength and Muscle Mass

The results revealed that protein supplementation was considered effective in increasing muscle mass as well as strength. However, the gains in strength were more significant in individuals who exercised more often which suggests that the exercise is probably a more potent stimulus for increasing strength than just the addition of protein.

Older People Need Even More Protein!

Age was a factor that correlated negatively to muscle growth. Older individuals were shown to be more resistant to gaining muscle mass and therefore required higher protein intake. The amount of protein needed to increase muscle mass ranged between 0.9 to 1.6 g/kg/day, an intake higher than that didn’t result in significant muscle growth. However, when taking age into consideration, the author still recommended ~2.2 g protein/kg/d for those seeking to maximize their gains in muscle mass.

Sources:
1.   10.1136/bjsports-2017-097608

2. 10.3945/ajcn.112.037556

Post provided by @maria_ekblom, a member of #teamEBT. Licensed physiotherapist and personal trainer.

 

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