Dietary protein and muscle in older persons

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2014 Jan;17(1):5-11. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000011.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this study is to highlight recent advances in nutrition and protein research that have the potential to improve health outcomes and status in ageing adults.

Recent findings: The beneficial effects of dietary protein on muscle health in older adults continue to be refined. Recent research has bolstered support for moderately increasing protein consumption beyond the current Recommended Dietary Allowance by adopting a meal-based approach in lieu of a less specific daily recommendation. Results from muscle protein anabolism, appetite regulation and satiety research support the contention that meeting a protein threshold (approximately 30 g/meal) represents a promising strategy for middle-aged and older adults concerned with maintaining muscle mass while controlling body fat.

Summary: Optimizing dietary protein intake to improve health requires a detailed consideration of topics including muscle protein anabolism, appetite control and satiety. Although each area of research continues to advance independently, recent collaborative and translational efforts have highlighted broad, translational consistencies related to the daily distribution and quantity of dietary protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Body Composition
  • Body Weight
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake
  • Humans
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sarcopenia / diet therapy*
  • Sarcopenia / prevention & control*


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins