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Protein requirement of over 65s is higher than you think

Men and women over 65 need more protein than nutritionists advise. That's the message in two studies that Canadian nutritionists have published in the Journal of Nutrition. Not all their colleagues agree with them, but that's not stopping this free webzine from sharing some of the information with you.

In 2015 and 2016 the researchers published studies on the protein requirements of men and women over the age of 65. [J Nutr. 2015 Jan;145(1):18-24.] [J Nutr. 2016 Mar 9. pii: jn225631. [Epub ahead of print].] For this the Canadians used the indicator amino acid oxidation technique. You can read more about this method here.

At present nutritionists use the nitrogen balance to determine protein requirements. For this you measure at different protein intakes the ratio between the amount of nitrogen a person consumes and the amount of protein that leaves the body. The requirement is the protein intake at which the two values are equal.

According to this method, both men and women over 65 need 0.8 g protein per kg bodyweight per day.

The Canadians discovered that the estimated average requirement [EAR] for women was 0.96 g protein per kg per day. A recommended daily amount [RDA] based on this would be 1.29 g per kg per day.

Protein requirement of over 65s is higher than you think

Protein requirement of over 65s is higher than you think

The results were almost identical for men.

"Results generated using this approach provide validation to the increasing school of thought that the current protein recommendation for older adults is too low," the researchers concluded.

Not all nutritionists agree with them. They believe that the method used is suitable for determining the best protein intake for a short period, but that it is not useful for determining protein requirements over a longer period. [J Nutr. 2015 Jan;145(1):5-6.]

J Nutr. 2016 Mar 9. pii: jn225631. [Epub ahead of print].

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