How much protein do we need as we age?

Protein is essential for cellular development, immunity, building muscles, producing enzymes, and hormones. Protein helps with healthy aging by assisting in the regulation of critical body functions and sustaining energy levels. Regular Protein intake is essential because, unlike fats and carbohydrates, the body cannot store the excess. Hence the protein requirement increase as we grow older.

For average adults, the daily protein intake should be 0.8 grams per kg of body weight, i.e, adult weighting 68kg requires 55 grams of protein. Active people and people older than 65 years of age should consume 1-1.2 g protein per kg of body weight to help them gain and maintain muscle mass. Women should start upping their protein intake sooner than 65 as Menopausal women are susceptible to decreased lean muscle mass and increased body fat, which impacts longevity.

The body’s protein processing capacity becomes less efficient as we age; hence we need more protein in the diet to maintain muscle mass, bone health, and other related physiological functions. Older people progressively lose muscle, and their physiology resists building new muscle. Consuming high-quality protein with physical activity can help to overcome this resistance. Older adults with diminished appetites should monitor their protein consumption and aim for sources low in saturated fat, processed carbs and rich in protein.

Inactivity often leads to early muscle loss. Maximum utilization of proteins for muscle synthesis and digestion happens when Protein intake is distributed equally across the day. High protein intake up to 35% of daily calories is the risk to older people only when they suffer from some kidney function impairment.  

Eating more protein helps older people live longer and healthier lives. It is best to consume protein from a variety of sources. The body efficiently utilizes Animal-based protein sources than plant-based. Best protein sources include eggs, which are rich in bioavailable proteins, Lean meats such as Chicken (A 100 gram Chicken breast contains 30 grams of protein), and fish—protein-rich whole grains like quinoa, soy, tofu, lentils. Consult your physician about the amount of protein you should consume.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.