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Healthcare (Basel). 2015 Jul 9;3(3):529-43. doi: 10.3390/healthcare3030529.

The Link between Dietary Protein Intake, Skeletal Muscle Function and Health in Older Adults.

Author information

1
These authors contributed equally to this work.. baum@uark.edu.
2
Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas, 2650 N. Young Ave., Fayetteville, AR 72704, USA. rwolfe2@uams.edu.

Abstract

Skeletal muscle mass and function are progressively lost with age, a condition referred to as sarcopenia. By the age of 60, many older adults begin to be affected by muscle loss. There is a link between decreased muscle mass and strength and adverse health outcomes such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Data suggest that increasing dietary protein intake at meals may counterbalance muscle loss in older individuals due to the increased availability of amino acids, which stimulate muscle protein synthesis by activating the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTORC1). Increased muscle protein synthesis can lead to increased muscle mass, strength and function over time. This review aims to address the current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein and whether or not this value meets the needs for older adults based upon current scientific evidence. The current RDA for protein is 0.8 g/kg body weight/day. However, literature suggests that consuming protein in amounts greater than the RDA can improve muscle mass, strength and function in older adults.

KEYWORDS:

aging; dietary recommendations; essential amino acids; muscle protein synthesis; older adults; protein

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