Researchers from Victoria University in Victoria, Australia, investigated exercise and nutrition-based strategies designed to build a reservoir of muscle mass as early as possible. Elderly individuals are still able to respond to both resistance training and the anabolic signals produced after protein ingestion, provided specific amino acids, such as leucine, are present. Whey proteins are a rich source of these essential amino acids and rapidly elevate plasma amino acids, thus providing the foundations for preservation of muscle mass. Several studies involving supplementation with whey protein have been shown to be effective in augmenting the effects of resistance exercise, particularly when supplementation occurs in the hours surrounding the exercise training.
While further work is required, simple dietary and exercise strategies that may improve the maintenance of muscle mass will decrease the overall burden of a number of diseases and improve the quality of life as we age.