Research in humans suggests that moderate amounts of high-quality protein may attenuate muscle loss. In this context, whey protein is an available source of high quality protein. It supports skeletal muscle maintenance during normal aging and can also provide anabolic support during periods of illness, injury and recovery. Learn more about practical whey protein applications below.
Protein and muscle mass
Whey protein and other dairy proteins have been widely used to evaluate the effectiveness of protein supplementation in attenuating age-related muscle mass decline.
Dietary protein, in particular, is of interest due to its role as an anabolic stimulus and source of amino acids for muscle protein synthesis. However, strategies to optimize protein intake for muscle health in a healthy and aged population, as well as during periods of catabolism and recovery continue to be investigated.
Several review articles highlight the various approaches researchers have used to understand best practices for protein intake during aging. Although the variability in the duration, time and frequency of protein-based nutritional interventions and age of participants make it difficult to research a consensus, it is likely that current protein recommendations (e.g., RDA for protein intake: 0.8 g protein/kg body weight/day) are sufficient for younger individuals. However, they are not suitable to meet the protein needs of aging and clinical populations.
The inclusion of protein-based nutritional interventions, such as the use of whey, can provide an additive anabolic boost to rehabilitation programs. Supplementation of orthopedic patients before and after surgery is able to preserve muscle mass and favors accelerated recovery of functional mobility. Thus, protein intake/supplementation to complement rehabilitation strategies can accelerate the restoration of muscle mass and function after inactivity.
Study suggestion: Is
Whey protein key to gaining muscle mass?
Watch the video on Science Play with Gabriela Fagundes:
Whey protein and healthy aging: What do current evidence tell us?
Article: Whey Applications
– Arentson-Lantz EJ, Kilroe S. Practical applications of whey protein in supporting muscle maintenance, recovery, and reconditioning. J Sci Anim
. 2021;99(4):skab060. doi:10.1093/jas/skab060