Canadian Researchers Develop a Protein Powder for Seniors

Until recently, nutritional supplements geared for seniors have been less than nutritionally ideal and often chocked full of sugar, preservatives and chemicals.  But researchers from McMaster University in Canada have developed a protein powder blend that has produced some exciting results among older adults.

Beginning around age 40, adults begin to lose muscle mass and if nothing is done to slow or prevent this decline, seniors can begin to lose their ability to perform daily activities which threatens their independence.

Maintaining muscle mass in older age takes effort; regular weight-bearing exercise and a healthy diet are important as we age to preserve function and prevent falls and injury.  But many seniors, especially those who live alone, may not be getting proper nutrition to support these health goals.

Researchers have developed and tested a protein powder supplement designed specifically for seniors that includes whey protein, creatine, vitamin D, calcium and fish oil which together can help combat muscle loss and help prevent osteoporosis.

The patent-pending blend is hoped to be widely available to older adults in the near future to complete one piece of the puzzle in helping seniors maintain and add more lean muscle mass to prevent functional decline.    With regular exercise that includes strength training and a healthy diet, the supplement can not only build muscle but studies have found it also improved glucose control and reduced risk for diabetes.

In a study of the protein drink, a group of men close to the age of 73 were given the supplement for a period of six weeks while another group of similarly-aged men took a placebo.  The group that took the supplement gained 700 grams of lean body mass, which is about what an older adults would lose in a year without any interventions.

Add exercise to the experiment and test subjects saw a greater improvement in strength along with other health benefits.   Keep in mind that seniors don’t need to lift heavy weights to gain substantial benefits and strength; light resistance training to the point of exhaustion will prevent muscle loss and can result in improved strength and ability.

To read more about the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, follow this link.