Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Nutr. 2014 Dec;33(6):929-36. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2014.04.007. Epub 2014 Apr 24.

Protein intake and exercise for optimal muscle function with aging: recommendations from the ESPEN Expert Group.

Author information

Center for Translational Research in Aging & Longevity, Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Geriatric Medicine, Carl von Ossietzky University, Klinikum, Oldenburg, Germany.
Department of Medical, Surgical and Health Sciences, Internal Medicine, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy.
Université d'Auvergne, INRA, CRNH, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Clermont-Ferrand, France.
Institut für Ernährungsmedizin, Universität Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany.
Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden; Department of Geriatric Medicine, Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden.
Servicio de Geriatría, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain.
Department of Clinical Nutrition, University Hospital Center and School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia.
Division of Endocrinology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.
Department of Intensive Care, Institute for Nutrition Research, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Hospital, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Service de Néphrologie, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Health and Exercise Sciences Research Group, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland.
Human Development and Health Academic Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom; NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom.


The aging process is associated with gradual and progressive loss of muscle mass along with lowered strength and physical endurance. This condition, sarcopenia, has been widely observed with aging in sedentary adults. Regular aerobic and resistance exercise programs have been shown to counteract most aspects of sarcopenia. In addition, good nutrition, especially adequate protein and energy intake, can help limit and treat age-related declines in muscle mass, strength, and functional abilities. Protein nutrition in combination with exercise is considered optimal for maintaining muscle function. With the goal of providing recommendations for health care professionals to help older adults sustain muscle strength and function into older age, the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) hosted a Workshop on Protein Requirements in the Elderly, held in Dubrovnik on November 24 and 25, 2013. Based on the evidence presented and discussed, the following recommendations are made (a) for healthy older people, the diet should provide at least 1.0-1.2 g protein/kg body weight/day, (b) for older people who are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition because they have acute or chronic illness, the diet should provide 1.2-1.5 g protein/kg body weight/day, with even higher intake for individuals with severe illness or injury, and (c) daily physical activity or exercise (resistance training, aerobic exercise) should be undertaken by all older people, for as long as possible.


Aging; Amino acids; Exercise; Nutrition; Protein; Sarcopenic obesity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center