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Amino Acids

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 33–47 | Cite as

Dietary protein supplementation in the elderly for limiting muscle mass loss

  • Antonio Herbert Lancha Jr.
  • Rudyard Zanella Jr.
  • Stefan Gleissner Ohara Tanabe
  • Mireille Andriamihaja
  • Francois Blachier
Review Article

Abstract

Supplementation with whey and other dietary protein, mainly associated with exercise training, has been proposed to be beneficial for the elderly to gain and maintain lean body mass and improve health parameters. The main objective of this review is to examine the evidence provided by the scientific literature indicating benefit from such supplementation and to define the likely best strategy of protein uptake for optimal objectified results in the elderly. Overall, it appears that an intake of approximately 0.4 g protein/kg BW per meal thus representing 1.2–1.6 g protein/kg BW/day may be recommended taking into account potential anabolic resistance. The losses of the skeletal muscle mass contribute to lower the capacity to perform activities in daily living, emphasizing that an optimal protein consumption may represent an important parameter to preserve independence and contribute to health status. However, it is worth noting that the maximal intake of protein with no adverse effect is not known, and that high levels of protein intake is associated with increased transfer of protein to the colon with potential deleterious effects. Thus, it is important to examine in each individual case the benefit that can be expected from supplementation with whey protein, taking into account the usual protein dietary intake.

Keywords

Whey protein High protein diet Anabolic resistance Protein turnover Sarcopenia Aging 

Abbreviations

LBM

Lean body mass

MPB

Muscle protein breakdown

mTOR

Mammalian target of rapamycin

MPS

Muscle protein synthesis

IGF-1

Insulin growth factor 1

p70S6k

Protein kinase p70S6

WPI

Whey protein

EAA

Essential amino acids

BCAA

Branched-chain amino acids

FSR

Fractional synthesis rate

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the University of Sao Paulo, AgroParisTech, INRA and Université Paris-Saclay for their support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics statement

The manuscript has not been submitted to other journal for simultaneous consideration. The manuscript, partly or in full, has not been published previously. No data have been fabricated or manipulated (including images) to support our conclusions. No data, text, or theories by others are presented as if they were the author’s own (plagiarism).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Herbert Lancha Jr.
    • 1
  • Rudyard Zanella Jr.
    • 1
  • Stefan Gleissner Ohara Tanabe
    • 1
  • Mireille Andriamihaja
    • 2
  • Francois Blachier
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratório de Nutrição e MetabolismoEscola de Educação Física e Esporte da Universidade de São Paulo, EEFE-USPSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.UMR Physiologie de la Nutrition et du Comportement Alimentaire, AgroParisTech, INRA, Université Paris-SaclayParisFrance

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