Older adults are anabolically resistant, which means that they require a higher per meal protein dose to achieve similar rates of protein synthesis. Therefore, researchers are keen to determine how protein supplementation can benefit this population and what the ideal protein intake is. Although a universal recommendation is premature, researchers are finding the best results come from protein doses in the 35-gram range with a total intake of around 1.6g/kg of body weight for maximising strength and muscle in older adults.

Protein provides amino acids, which lead to the release of gut hormones that blunt hunger and reduce appetite. This can make protein powder useful for avoiding cravings or heading off the munchies in between meals. Protein may aid with fat loss. By stimulating protein synthesis, it maintains lean mass, the driver of your metabolic rate. It also has a high thermic effect, which means the body burns more calories processing it than it does carbs or fat. The body burns 25 percent of the calories of a pure protein meal during digestion. Protein stimulates cognition and alertness. Amino acids in protein raise levels of stimulating neurotransmitters, improving brain function and motivation. It’s safe to say that everyone should ensure they are getting enough protein. Here are some general guidelines for optimising your protein intake.

> Scientists recommend between 1.2 and 2.2 g/kg of protein a day. A safe recommendation that will optimise protein for most people including older adults is 1.6 g/kg of protein.

> Eating protein stimulates an increase in muscle protein synthesis and suppresses protein breakdown for several hours so that you end up with more lean tissue. Based on the availability of amino acids in the protein, the body is constantly in a fluctuating state of muscle loss and gain. Any time you replenish that pool of building blocks by eating protein, it’s a good thing, promoting muscle development.

> Younger adults should get a minimum of 20 grams of protein post-workout, whereas older adults will likely benefit from 35 to 40 grams for maximal protein synthesis.

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