Muscle Mass and Aging

None of us like the thought of the loss of muscle strength that may come with aging. Is there something we can do to keep that issue at bay? Many seniors in the U.S. tend to eat most of their protein for lunch and dinner, but adding protein to breakfast may be a simple diet change that results in the added benefit of increased muscle strength!

A recent study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that spreading protein equally among the three daily meals could be linked to greater muscle mass and strength in the elderly. Since every tissue in the body is made up of protein, it would make sense that an increase in protein consumption would also then cause an increase in muscle mass and vice versa, as muscles are also composed of proteins. With this in mind, the team of researchers studied the effect of protein consumption on the strength, muscle mass and mobility of 1,800 people from Quebec ages 6-84 over a 3 year period.

“We observed that participants of both sexes who consumed protein in a balanced way during the day had more muscle strength than those who consumed more during the evening meal and less at breakfast. However, the distribution of protein throughout the day was not associated with their mobility,” explains an author of the study, Dr. Samaneh Farsijani.

Although the results demonstrated an increase in muscle strength, but no improvement in mobility, more investigation needs to be done to show whether physical function is improved by the increase of protein in the diet. In the meantime, it sure sounds like added muscle strength is another really good reason to consume protein throughout the day and to not skip it at breakfast.