Houston DK, Nicklas BJ, Ding J, et al, Health ABC Study. Dietary protein intake is associated with lean mass change in older, community-dwelling adults: the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study

Sticht Center on Aging, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1207, USA.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.77). 01/2008; 87(1):150-5.
Source: PubMed


Dietary surveys suggest that many older, community-dwelling adults consume insufficient dietary protein, which may contribute to the age-related loss of lean mass (LM).
The objective of the study was to determine the association between dietary protein and changes in total LM and nonbone appendicular LM (aLM) in older, community-dwelling men and women.
Dietary protein intake was assessed by using an interviewer-administered 108-item food-frequency questionnaire in men and women aged 70-79 y who were participating in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study (n=2066). Changes in LM and aLM over 3 y were measured by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The association between protein intake and 3-y changes in LM and aLM was examined by using multiple linear regression analysis adjusted for potential confounders.
After adjustment for potential confounders, energy-adjusted protein intake was associated with 3-y changes in LM [beta (SE): 8.76 (3.00), P=0.004] and aLM [beta (SE): 5.31 (1.64), P=0.001]. Participants in the highest quintile of protein intake lost approximately 40% less LM and aLM than did those in the lowest quintile of protein intake (x+/-SE: -0.501+/-0.106 kg compared with -0.883+/-0.104 kg for LM; -0.400+/-0.058 kg compared with -0.661+/-0.057 kg for aLM; P for trend<0.01). The associations were attenuated slightly after adjustment for change in fat mass, but the results remained significant.
Dietary protein may be a modifiable risk factor for sarcopenia in older adults and should be studied further to determine its effects on preserving LM in this population.

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    • "As such, it has been suggested that the protein needs of older adults are greater than those of younger individuals (0.8 g/kg BW/day) and protein intakes of 1.0 to 1.5 g protein/kg BW/day are recommended for this population (Wolfe and others 2008; Bauer and others 2013). However, while data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) show that adults are meeting, and even exceeding, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein by consuming about 1.3 g protein/kg BW/day (Fulgoni 2008), older adults are not consuming adequate amounts of protein, with one-third not meeting the RDA for protein and up to 10% of older women not even meeting the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR, 0.66 g/kg BW/day) (Houston and others 2008; Volpi and others 2013). "
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    • "Substituting red meat with healthier (vegetable) proteins sources such as beans, lentils, tofu, and nuts could be recommended (Pan et al., 2012). Some studies suggest that an increased protein intake can be protective in the elderly, reducing the risk of sarcopenia for example (Houston et al., 2008; Meng et al., 2009). While there is suggestive evidence that a higher protein intake can protect against sarcopenia in the elderly, there is no conclusive evidence that an increased protein intake reduces frailty or lowers overall mortality in older people "
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