As people grow older their youthful spark gradually wanes out. And they become more frail than ever but a simple protein boost can be the change they need.
And that is according to findings of a study conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) in collaboration with the Université de Sherbrooke and the Université de Montréal.
“Many seniors, especially in North America, consume the majority of their daily protein intake at lunch and dinner. We wanted to see if people who added protein sources to breakfast, and therefore had balanced protein intake through the three meals, had greater muscle strength,” says the lead author of the study, Dr. Stéphanie Chevalier, who is a scientist with the Metabolic Disorders and Complications Program at the RI-MUHC and an assistant professor at the School of Human Nutrition at McGill University.
“The NuAge study is one of the few studies gathering such detailed data on food consumption among a large cohort of elderly people. We are proud that the NuAge study can contribute to relevant research of this magnitude in Quebec,” says study co-author Dr. Hélène Payette of the Centre for Research on Aging and a professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Sherbrooke.
“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 the first author of the study, Dr. Samaneh Farsijani, a former PhD student at the RI-MUHC supervised by Dr. Chevalier.
“Our research is based on scientific evidence demonstrating that older people need to consume more protein per meal because they need a greater boost of amino acids for protein synthesis,” says Dr. Chevalier.
McGill University Health Centre. “Eating protein three times a day could make our seniors stronger: Quebec researchers link protein distribution to greater mass and muscle strength in the elderly.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 August 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170830202131.htm>.