Purpose of review
To highlight the recent evicence for optimal protein intake and protein supplementation in older adults. A special focus has been placed on the effects on muscle protein synthesis, strength and overall performance in this population.
Although for older adults, some additional evidence on the benefits of a higher protein intake than 0.8 g/kg body weight per day has been provided, the results of studies focusing on the timing of protein intake over the day have been contradictory. Supplementation with so-called ‘fast’ proteins, which are also rich in leucine, for example whey protein, proved superior with regard to muscle protein synthesis. First studies in frail older persons showed increased strength after supplementation with milk protein, whereas the combination with physical exercise increased muscle mass without additional benefit for strength or functionality.
Recent evidence suggests positive effects of protein supplementation on muscle protein synthesis, muscle mass and muscle strength. However, as most studies included only small numbers of participants for short treatment periods, larger studies with longer duration are necessary to support the clinical relevance of these observations.