21 March 2019

Dominique ten Haaf and colleagues performed a randomized clinical trial to assess the effects of 12-weeks protein supplementation on body characteristics. Daily supplementation of 30 grams of protein increased lean body mass and reduced fat mass. Findings were published in the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia & Muscle.

Sufficient protein intake is important for the maintenance of muscle mass. However, Ten Haaf previously showed that 63% of physically active individuals aged >65 years have insufficient protein consumption. In the present study, the effects of protein supplementation on muscle mass, muscle strength and physical performance were assessed.
 
A total of 116 physically active older adults with insufficient protein intake and preparing for the Nijmegen Marches were recruited and allocated to daily protein supplementation or placebo. Measurements of body composition, muscle strength and physical performance were performed before the start and after 12 weeks of supplementation. Participants receiving proteins demonstrated a larger increase in relative lean body mass and larger reduction in fat mass during the study. No differences in muscle strength or physical performance were observed most likely because both groups already performed extremely well on these parameters at the initiation of the study.
 
Findings from the present study provide important insight in strategies to optimize the health benefits of a physically active lifestyle in older adults. Increasing or maintaining lean body mass is important as 0.5-1% of muscle mass is typically lost per year due to ageing. Preservation of muscle mass and muscle strength are important prerequisites to preserve mobility and independence for daily life activities while ageing.
 
Publication
Protein supplementation improves lean body mass in physically active older adults: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.
Ten Haaf DSM, Eijsvogels TMH, Bongers CCWG, Horstman AMH, Timmers S, de Groot LCPGM, Hopman MTE.

Dominique ten Haaf is member of theme Vascular damage.

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