Dietary protein requirements and recommendations for healthy older adults - a critical narrative review of the scientific evidence

Yusuke Nishimura, Grith Højfeldt, Leigh Breen, Inge Tetens, Lars Holm

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Adequate protein intake is essential for the maintenance of whole-body protein mass. Different methodological approaches are used to substantiate the evidence for the current protein recommendations, and it is continuously debated whether older adults require more protein to counteract the age-dependent loss of muscle mass, sarcopenia. Thus, the purpose of this critical narrative review is to outline and discuss differences in the approaches and methodologies assessing the protein requirements and, hence, resulting in controversies in current protein recommendations for healthy older adults. Through a literature search, this narrative review first summarises the historical development of the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization/United Nations University setting of protein requirements and recommendations for healthy older adults. Hereafter, we describe the various types of studies (epidemiological studies and protein turnover kinetic measurements) and applied methodological approaches founding the basis and the different recommendations with focus on healthy older adults. Finally, we discuss important factors to be considered in future studies to obtain evidence for international agreement on protein requirements and recommendations for healthy older adults. We conclude by proposing future directions to determine 'true' protein requirements and recommendations for healthy older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalNutrition research reviews
Early online date20 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • aging
  • sarcopenia
  • amino acid
  • protein synthesis
  • protein breakdown
  • net protein balance
  • protein turnover
  • metabolic adaptation
  • energy balance
  • protein intake

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