Human protein requirements: assessment of the adequacy of the current Recommended Dietary Allowance for dietary protein in elderly men and women

Am J Clin Nutr. 1982 Jan;35(1):6-14. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/35.1.6.


A continuous 30-day metabolic N balance study was conducted in seven elderly men (75 +/- 4 yr) and eight elderly women (78 +/- 9 yr) to evaluate the current protein Recommended Dietary Allowance for older men and women. The subjects received a diet providing 0.8 g egg protein (N x 6.25) kg-1 day-1. Energy intake computed to meet needs averaged 32 and 29 kcal kg-1 day-1 for males and females, respectively. N balances, including an estimate for integumental and other miscellaneous losses, were determined for the last 5 days of three consecutive 10-day diet periods and blood biochemical measurements were made at the end of each diet period. Three of seven males and four of eight females were not in body N balance during the final 5 days of the 30-day period. These N balance data indicate that 0.8 g egg protein kg-1 day-1 is not sufficient to achieve N equilibrium in a majority of subjects older than 70 yr and confirm the results and conclusions of a previous, short-term N balance study (Uauy et al., Am J Clin Nutr 1978;31:779-85). Hence, where energy intake approximates requirement, the current Recommended Dietary Allowance is not adequate for a majority of male and female subjects age 70 yr and above.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged*
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Dietary Proteins*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Sex Factors


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Creatinine
  • Nitrogen