Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Can supplementing with protein improve muscle mass and strength?

The Study

Age related loss of muscle results in a decrease in quality of life and ability to function. It has been theorized that protein supplementation may slow down this loss of muscle that is a normal part of aging. In this interesting 1 year randomized trial, 208 healthy adults over the age of 65 were randomized into 1 of 5 groups:

1) Carbohydrate supplementation- 30 grams per day.

2) Collagen protein supplementation- 20 grams per day.

3) Whey protein supplementation- 20 grams per day.

4) Light resistance training with bands- 3 times per week.

5) Heavy resistance training with weights- 3 times per week.

By the end of the year, the following results were found:

- The protein supplement groups had no improvements in measures of strength or muscle size.

- The resistance groups had improvements in muscle strength and size.

- The groups supplemented with protein and carbohydrate had an increase in percentage of body fat. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2021; 113:790-800.

Take Home Message

Don’t expect a protein supplement to improve your strength or muscle size on its own.  Weight training is how you make that happen. Hit the weights at least twice per week with a full body workout. Three times is even better!


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