Previously we looked at how dietary protein can be good for metabolism. Nevertheless, the article just touched a bit on the problems to maintain a good level of protein. It has to do not only with the food. It is not a secret that when people get older, many changes are happening in their body. The same goes for such not only things as exercise but also muscle protein metabolism and muscle growth.

When we talk about muscle protein and aging, one of the focus points is sarcopenia. It includes “age-associated alterations in muscle protein quantity and quality that adversely affect muscle structure, composition, and function.”[1] Muscle protein is active in a metabolic sense, and with age, there is a natural loss of it with the relation of the decline of physical activity and function. Therefore, it also becomes harder to maintain the necessary level of muscle protein and amino acids. There is anabolic resistance that contributes to the completely adverse process. However, the good news is that there are many research and available treatment options to make the whole situation better including nutrition and hormone replacement. You can also read about hormone influence on metabolism here.

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Why are muscle proteins so important?

Muscle protein breakdown makes amino acids for other metabolic processes. Muscle strength also influences how well bone mineralization is and reduce fracture risk. Aging muscles also might require even more protein (around 40 g per day) because they are less sensitive to amino acids than in younger people (around 20 g of protein per day).

How to maintain the necessary protein level?

  • Even distribution of protein throughout the day
  • Consume sufficient level of leucine
  • Intensify exercises that are high-volume to stimulate muscle protein synthesis
  • Also, low-intensity exercises can be beneficial, especially for more elderly adults
  • Use a dietary plan with “at least 20 g and as high as 30 g of high-quality protein per meal”[2] to provide a sufficient level of amino acids

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Overall, to achieve a better result, there is still a need for further research, especially regarding feeding strategies and augment resistance exercise. Nevertheless, it is clear that as people age, there is a need to draw more attention to their protein and metabolism.

Reference:

[1] Review Article: Exercise, Aging, and Muscle Protein Metabolism. Accessed from: https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article/58/10/M918/534918rel=”nofollow”

[2] Skeletal muscle protein metabolism in the elderly: Interventions to counteract the ‘anabolic resistance’ of aging. Accessed from: https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-8-68rel=”nofollow”

 

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Chen Ben Asher is a Functional Nutrition expert consultant, a leading authority on weight management, women’s health and gluten sensitivity. She is a clinician, public speaker, educator and Amazon Best Seller author of “What If Gluten Free Is Not Enough – The Balanced Diet”