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Older people may need twice the level of protein to build and maintain muscle

Muscle mass generally declines as we get into middle- and older age. Some of this muscle loss is natural, but you may be able to hang on to a greater amount if you ensure optimal protein intake.

While it is now well understood that ingesting protein stimulates muscle protein synthesis, only recently has it become known that older individuals are less sensitive to this effect. In younger individuals, approximately 20 grams of whey protein maximizes the increase in muscle protein synthesis. But when older individuals (average 70 years) were fed different amounts of whey protein after a bout of resistance exercise, it was discovered that muscle protein synthesis increased a further 32% with a 40 gram versus a 20-gram dose. 

Thus, younger people are more sensitive to the effects of protein and therefore need less to maintain their muscle. Older individuals are less sensitive to the muscle-building effects of protein and therefore need more to overcome this intolerance. 

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