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Increased Protein Intake Recommended For Mature Adults

Consuming protein is essential to building muscle in the human body. As we age, muscle protein synthesis tends to decline.  A recent study suggests that mature adults may want to consume more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein in order to preserve muscle mass.


Participants in the study included 20 adults between the ages of 52 and 75. Over a four-day test period they underwent one of four interventions:




    • the RDA of 0.8 g/kg of protein spread equally across three meals;

    • the RDA of 0.8 g/kg of protein spread unevenly over three meals (15% at breakfast, 20% at lunch, 65% at dinner);

    • double the RDA (1.5 g/kg per day) of protein spread evenly across three meals;

    • double the RDA (1.5 g/kg per day) of protein spread unevenly over three meals (15% at breakfast, 20% at lunch, 65% at dinner)


The double protein groups were given pre-weighed milk protein concentrate that contained equal parts whey and casein in order to ensure that they met the goal of double protein. Throughout the study period, the researchers had the participants record time of meal consumption and percentage of meal consumption, and they photographed the meal prior to and after consumption.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the distribution of protein across meals did not make a significant impact on muscle synthesis, however the amount did. Specifically, the higher protein intake groups showed higher net protein balance and muscle protein synthesis.


Researchers from the Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity at the Donald Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences conducted the study. It was published on January 1, 2015, in the American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism.


Protein functions as a building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It is also a building block for enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. To get the optimal benefit from protein, it’s important to choose the right type. Some good sources of animal protein include fish, poultry, and lean meat. In addition, previous studies have found that proteins from dairy are especially good for building muscle mass.

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