Muscle loss with age (sarcopenia) may be caused by a reduction of muscle protein synthetic response to food intake, along with inactivity of muscles.
A group of researchers set out to find which milk protein was the best for muscle protein accretion, and would therefore help stave off sarcopenia.
Three groups of older men were fed a meal-like amount of whey protein, casein, and casein hydrolysate proteins. Their protein ingestion was combined with an intravenous tracer which was used to assess digestion and absorption kinetics, and their muscle synthesis rates were also calculated from the ingested tracer.
According to the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
“Whey protein stimulates postprandial muscle protein accretion more effectively than do casein and casein hydrolysate in older men. This effect is attributed to a combination of whey’s faster digestion and absorption kinetics and higher leucine content.”
It may seem like common sense that if you don’t use your muscles, you will get muscle loss and they’ll eventually atrophy away, yet so many people fail to apply this information.
The older you get, the faster your muscles atrophy (muscle loss) if you’re not regularly engaging in appropriate exercise like weight training. Additionally, older muscles do not respond well to sudden or intense bouts of exercise, so the key to avoiding sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) is to challenge your muscles with intense exercise on a regular basis throughout your life—although it’s never too late to start, you just need to start out more gradually.
Protein is essential to help prevent muscle loss and for healthy muscle growth and maintenance when exercising, but as you age, your body becomes increasingly less able to utilise the protein in your food for building muscle, making whey protein a great choice to include in your daily diet.
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You can read the full article here.