New research suggests whey protein, is most effective for seniors struggling to rebuild muscle
The study, published online in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, compared the impact of different forms of protein supplements on older adults, a growing population challenged by the loss of muscle and strength, or sarcopenia, which in turn can affect balance, gait and the ability to perform the simple tasks of everyday life.
Researchers found that protein did not stop lean muscle loss caused by inactivity, however, whey supplements helped to rebuild muscle once the participants activities resumed.
“The important message here is that not all proteins are created equal. Whey is one of the highest quality proteins and is ideal for older persons,” says Stuart Phillips, senior author on the paper and a professor of kinesiology at McMaster.
Researchers set out to compare the impact of whey versus collagen protein on muscle loss during periods of inactivity and then recovery. Sarcopenia is a condition in seniors that results in a loss of muscle mass and hence reduces the individuals ability to perform basic simple every day tasks that once were performed without thinking about them.. The study utilized a drink formulation that contained whey protein as well as Vitamin D, Creatine monohydrate, calcium , and fish oil. The important takeaway from the study was that instead of ingesting lower levels of protein such as that found in Ensure®, the individuals were consuming 30g of protein per serving. The study also included programmed exercise in the group in a phase 2 of the study. In phase 1 there was no programmed training. In both cases , the men had significant gains in strength and muscle mass.