Best Protein for Rebuilding Muscles in Seniors

Whey Protein

When seniors are inactive, especially during hospital stays or in recovering from operations or illnesses, they lose a lot of muscle mass. Aging also contributes to losing muscle mass and this is called sarcopenia. Researchers from McMaster embarked on a study that was published October 4, 2018, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition to determine which, if any, protein was the most beneficial for seniors trying to rebuild lost muscles.

Method and Participants in the Study

Participants were 16 men about 69 years old and 15 women about 68 years old. Participants were in good health. They were divided into two groups. One group consumed a whey protein (WP) supplement while the other group consumed collagen peptides. Each group consumed 45% of their diet from the two supplements whey or collagen twice a week. The first week the participants were allowed to be physically active followed by a week where they had to reduce steps for two weeks and then they returned to their normal activity in recovery (RC) for one week.

Whey Protein Found to be the Most Beneficial for Rebuilding Muscles in Seniors

The results of the study showed there was no benefit for muscles from any kind of protein while seniors were sedentary and inactive. Both groups lost leg lean mass (LLM). However, once they went back to physical activity, the whey protein was found to be the most beneficial in rebuilding skeletal muscles. Also, the study showed that collagen peptides are essentially useless as a protein supplement for seniors.

Whey Protein (WP)

Whey protein is the liquid substance left after milk has curdled and is used in making many kinds of cheeses. It is considered to be a complete protein rich in all amino acids and is especially very high in leucine. Leucine is an essential necessary amino acid that can only be obtained from food, as it is not made in the human body. Leucine is especially noted for its muscle-building activities and is often consumed by athletes and body builders. So this would be the ideal choice for seniors to rebuild muscles when recovering from periods of inactivity like after hospitalizations, unless they are allergic to milk or suffer from lactose intolerance.

Whey Protein and Vitamin D also Found to be Beneficial for Parkinson’s Patients

In a different study carried out in Milan, Italy, whey protein taken together with Vitamin D was shown to be beneficial for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. See our blog post from August 24, 2018, to read more about whey protein and Parkinson’s.

Rehab after Illness, Surgery or Hospitalizations

If you or your loved one are in need of a short or long-term rehabilitation, the Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center in Brooklyn, New York is a 5-star rehabilitation facility that is expertise in stroke rehabilitation, post cardiac surgery exercise, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, recovery from falls and accidents, after surgeries, palliative care and more plus great entertainment and integrated therapy programs that also include music and pet therapy.

Brooklyn Hospitals near Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center

New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital

NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn (formerly named NYU Lutheran Medical Center)

SUNY Downstate Medical Center – University Hospital of Brooklyn

NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County

Maimonides Medical Center

Conclusion

Whey Protein has been shown to be beneficial for rebuilding muscle mass in seniors recovering from periods of inactivity like hospital stays and also has been shown to be beneficial for Parkinson’s patients. It only should be avoided by people who suffer from lactose intolerance or are allergic to milk.

 

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