Increasing dietary protein requirements in elderly people for optimal muscle and bone health.
ABSTRACT Osteoporosis and sarcopenia are degenerative diseases frequently associated with aging. The loss of bone and muscle results in significant morbidity, so preventing or attenuating osteoporosis and sarcopenia is an important public health goal. Dietary protein is crucial for development of bone and muscle, and recent evidence suggests that increasing dietary protein above the current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) may help maintain bone and muscle mass in older individuals. Several epidemiological and clinical studies point to a salutary effect of protein intakes above the current RDA (0.8 g/kg per day) for adults aged 19 and older. There is evidence that the anabolic response of muscle to dietary protein is attenuated in elderly people, and as a result, the amount of protein needed to achieve anabolism is greater. Dietary protein also increases circulating insulin-like growth factor, which has anabolic effects on muscle and bone. Furthermore, increasing dietary protein increases calcium absorption, which could be anabolic for bone. Available evidence supports a beneficial effect of short-term protein intakes up to 1.6 to 1.8 g/kg per day, although long-term studies are needed to show safety and efficacy. Future studies should employ functional measures indicative of protein adequacy, as well as measures of muscle protein synthesis and maintenance of muscle and bone tissue, to determine the optimal level of dietary protein. Given the available data, increasing the RDA for older individuals to 1.0 to 1.2 g/kg per day would maintain normal calcium metabolism and nitrogen balance without affecting renal function and may represent a compromise while longer-term protein supplement trials are pending.
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ABSTRACT: Although high-protein diets induce hypercalciuria in humans, the source of the additional urinary calcium remains unclear. One hypothesis is that the high endogenous acid load of a high-protein diet is partially buffered by bone, leading to increased skeletal resorption and hypercalciuria. We used dual stable calcium isotopes to quantify the effect of a high-protein diet on calcium kinetics in women. The study consisted of 2 wk of a lead-in, well-balanced diet followed by 10 d of an experimental diet containing either moderate (1.0 g/kg) or high (2.1 g/kg) protein. Thirteen healthy women received both levels of protein in random order. Intestinal calcium absorption increased during the high-protein diet in comparison with the moderate (26.2 +/- 1.9% vs. 18.5 +/- 1.6%, P < 0.0001, mean +/- sem) as did urinary calcium (5.23 +/- 0.37 vs. 3.57 +/- 0.35 mmol/d, P < 0.0001, mean +/- sem). The high-protein diet caused a significant reduction in the fraction of urinary calcium of bone origin and a nonsignificant trend toward a reduction in the rate of bone turnover. There were no protein-induced effects on net bone balance. These data directly demonstrate that, at least in the short term, high-protein diets are not detrimental to bone.Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 01/2005; 90(1):26-31. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The effect of protein intake on bone density is uncertain, and evidence exists for beneficial effects of both low and high protein intakes. The objective was to study the relation between protein consumption and bone mass in elderly women with allowance for other lifestyle factors affecting bone metabolism. We conducted a cross-sectional and longitudinal study of a population-based sample of 1077 women aged 75 +/- 3 y. At baseline, protein consumption was measured with a food-frequency questionnaire, and bone mass and structure were measured by using quantitative ultrasound of the heel. One year later, hip bone mineral density (BMD) was measured by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Subjects consumed a mean (+/-SD) of 80.5 +/- 27.8 g protein/d (1.19 +/- 0.44 g protein/kg body wt). Regression analysis showed a positive correlation between protein intake and qualitative ultrasound of the heel and BMD after adjustment for age, body mass index, and other nutrients. The dose-response effect was best characterized by protein consumption expressed in tertiles, such that subjects in the lowest tertile (<66 g protein/d) had significantly lower qualitative ultrasound of the heel (1.3%) and hip BMD (2.6%) than did the subjects in the higher tertiles (>87 g protein/d). These data suggest that protein intakes for elderly women above current recommendations may be necessary to optimize bone mass.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 07/2005; 81(6):1423-8. · 6.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The average American diet, which is high in protein and low in fruits and vegetables, generates a large amount of acid, mainly as sulfates and phosphates. The kidneys respond to this dietary acid challenge with net acid excretion, as well as ammonium and titratable acid excretion. Concurrently, the skeleton supplies buffer by active resorption of bone. Indeed, calciuria is directly related to net acid excretion. Different food proteins differ greatly in their potential acid load, and therefore in their acidogenic effect. A diet high in acid-ash proteins causes excessive calcium loss because of its acidogenic content. The addition of exogenous buffers, as chemical salts or as fruits and vegetables, to a high protein diet results in a less acid urine, a reduction in net acid excretion, reduced ammonium and titratable acid excretion, and decreased calciuria. Bone resorption may be halted, and bone accretion may actually occur. Alkali buffers, whether chemical salts or dietary fruits and vegetables high in potassium, reverse acid-induced obligatory urinary calcium loss. We conclude that excessive dietary protein from foods with high potential renal acid load adversely affects bone, unless buffered by the consumption of alkali-rich foods or supplements.Journal of Nutrition 07/1998; 128(6):1051-3. · 4.20 Impact Factor