Older Americans Need Protein to Keep Muscles Strong
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 03:17 PM
Quick Brief: Older Americans need to ensure that their diet is adequate in protein.


Older adults need a protein-rich diet to maintain muscle mass and strength, a new study suggests.

Protein should come from animal and plant sources, since each type of protein appears to play different roles in maintaining lean muscle mass and leg strength. Plant protein helps preserve muscle strength, while animal protein is linked to muscle mass, the researchers said.

With aging, there is loss of muscle mass and strength.  Protein is the body's building block that produces muscle. "After 50, people start to lose muscle mass. Between 50 and 60, muscle strength declines by about 1.5 percent a year. After 60, the loss can be 3 percent a year."

Losing muscle mass and strength affects the ability to move and do daily activities. In addition, loss of muscle can affect balance and increase the odds of falling, leading to broken bones and head injuries.  Overall protein intake is important for maintaining muscle mass and muscle strength. You should have protein as part of every meal.

The researchers found that men needed nearly 3 ounces of protein a day to maintain muscle mass and strength, and women needed 2.6 ounces. Lean muscle mass was highest among those who ate the most total protein and the most animal protein.  In the United States, protein is usually listed in grams on labels. One ounce contains 28 grams.

Plant protein -- think nuts and beans -- was not associated with lean mass in men or women, the researchers noted. But those who ate the most protein from plants had more strength in their thigh muscles, compared with those who ate the least plant protein.

Plant protein may help preserve muscle strength in older adults because of its alkaline properties, or it may be a sign of the healthier diet of people who eat a lot of plant protein, the researchers said.

Source: http://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/misc-aging-news-10/older-americans-need-protein-to-keep-muscles-strong-study-says-700233.html