“Today, for the first time in history, most people can expect to live into their sixties and beyond. A longer life represents an important opportunity. Additional years provide the chance to pursue new activities such as further education or a long neglected passion, while continuing to make valuable contributions to family and community. Yet the extent of these opportunities depends heavily on one factor: health”. (WHO, 10 facts on aging and health).
Nutrition is one of the most important factors contributing to people’s health status. It is of specific importance to the elderly as nutritional needs change when getting older. E.g. seniors need to eat more high quality protein to prevent sarcopenia.
Muscle mass builds from birth until the age of 30, but within your thirties muscles mass already starts to decline. The cause is sarcopenia, age related muscle loss.
Sarcopenia is a syndrome characterized by progressive and generalized loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength and it is strictly correlated with functional decline, loss of independence, poor quality of life and death. Risk factors for sarcopenia include age, gender and level of physical activity. A first step in the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia is adequate nutrition with a specific emphasis on total protein intake, quality of protein and equal distribution of protein intake over the course of the day.
Whey protein does not only have a superior amino acid profile and protein digestibility, it also has a naturally high content of branched chain amino acids (BCAA). Specifically leucine triggers muscle protein synthesis in humans.
Whey protein is faster digested than e.g. casein which several studies found being beneficial for muscle protein synthesis in elderly people. *
Of all macronutrients protein is the only one that does not have a reservoir in the body and therefore dietary amino acids are incorporated into functional proteins, like enzymes, hormones, transport carriers, and more. It is important to consume high quality proteins like whey protein. The body can only use those proteins efficiently that have the “correct” amino acid profile – meaning all the essential amino acids and the right amount of each amino acid. Otherwise the amino acids are dumped and excreted via the urine.
Research shows that most people from their thirties onwards will benefit from a higher intake of the right dietary quality protein to maintain health in general and muscle strength. It is of specific importance or seniors to not only consume the right total amount of protein but also to distribute protein intake over the day and eat sufficient protein with each meal. This triggers muscle synthesis.
However, many people find it difficult to incorporate sufficient protein into their daily diet. Moderate protein enrichment throughout many different foods can be a healthy option without sacrificing taste and texture. wheyco protein solutions are ideal to achieve this. Our protein solutions have an excellent taste and we provide products with different functionalities that are suitable for the use in many different food applications.
Branched chain amino acids are the essential amino acids isoleucine, leucine and valine. Especially leucine plays an important role in the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis and prevention of muscle protein breakdown. Whey proteins contains higher amounts of BCAAs than many other proteins and are therefore ideal as a protein source in senior nutrition.
Research has shown that the ingestion rate of proteins can play a role in protein retention. In elderly people it was found that faster digested proteins like whey protein caused a higher retention of protein than slower digested proteins.
* Martial Dangin, Yves Boirie, Christelle Guillet, Bernard Beaufrère, Influence of the Protein Digestion Rate on Protein Turnover in Young and Elderly Subjects, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 132, Issue 10, October 2002, Pages 3228S–3233S, doi.org/10.1093/jn/131.10.3228S
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