Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Where's the beef? Not enough of it is on elders' plates, muscle-metabolism

Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have good news for people who want to stay strong in their old age: older bodies are just as good as young ones at turning protein-rich food into muscle.

A new study published today suggests that a diet containing a moderate amount of protein-rich food such as beef, fish, pork, chicken, dairy or nuts may help slow the deterioration of elderly people’s muscles.

Reducing the decline in muscle mass among the elderly is crucial to maintaining their health and independence, these researchers say. And they add that consuming adequate protein is essential for making and maintaining muscles. Since nutritional studies show that many elderly individuals eat less protein than the average person, researchers have reasoned that if the elderly simply increased their protein intake, they might slow down muscle loss — as long as old age doesn’t inherently interfere significantly with the ability to make muscles out of the protein in food.

“We wanted to know if there is some reason your grandmother’s body, for example, can’t stimulate muscle growth in response to eating the same protein-rich meal that you eat, which might over time contribute to muscle loss,” said Douglas Paddon-Jones, an associate professor in UTMB’s departments of physical therapy and internal medicine. Paddon-Jones is the senior author of a paper on the study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and now available online.

The investigation compared changes in muscle protein synthesis in 10 young and 10 elderly volunteers after eating a four-ounce serving of lean beef. By analyzing blood and muscle samples, the researchers were able to measure the rate at which a particular individual’s body built muscle protein. During the five hours after the young and elderly volunteers ate the beef, both groups’ muscle protein synthesis increased by 50 percent.

“We’ve done studies in the past with specialized drinks containing amino acids — the chemical building blocks of proteins — but this was the first time anybody’s looked at a real food and its ability to stimulate muscle growth in both the young and elderly,” Paddon-Jones said. “What we learned was really encouraging, because it suggests that elderly people actually can benefit from eating a moderate serving of protein-rich foods. That’s something they aren’t doing enough now — in fact, between 16 and 27 percent of older adults are eating less than the USDA’s recommended daily allowance of protein.”

Elderly people may eat less protein for a number of reasons, said Paddon-Jones, including cost, the fact that many foods may not taste as good to them as they once did, difficulty chewing, limited menus in nursing homes or assisted living communities, and decline in appetite. Another important contributor to muscle loss in the elderly is a lack of exercise, he noted.

Even among the elders who volunteered for the study, whom Paddon-Jones described as typically more physically active than most others in the elderly population, “a disturbing thing was that on average they had 12 kilograms (26.5 pounds) less lean muscle mass than the younger people we tested.” That difference, he said, would probably be even greater in the general population. In other words, compared to a young adult, a typical elderly person lacks the advantages provided by more than 26 pounds of muscle — a deficit that in some cases could lead an older person to being permanently bedridden by an injury or illness.

“A high percentage of elderly folks who break a hip or suffer a major injury never get out of bed again, and one of the big reasons is that they rapidly lose so much muscle mass and strength that they become physically incapable of getting up,” Paddon-Jones said. “Sufficient muscle is fundamental for the activities of daily living, movement and independence — it’s definitely a quality-of-life issue.”

Jim Kelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>