Sarcopenia, defined as loss of skeletal muscle mass and function, is associated with adverse outcomes such as physical disability, impaired quality of life and increased mortality. Several mechanisms are involved in the development of sarcopenia. Potentially modifiable factors include nutrition and physical activity. Protein metabolism is central to the nutritional issues, along with other potentially modifying nutritional factors as energy balance and vitamin D status. An increasing but still incomplete knowledge base has generated recent recommendations on an increased protein intake in the elderly. Several factors beyond the total amount of protein consumed emerge as potentially important in this context. A recent summit examined three hypotheses: (1) A meal threshold; habitually consuming 25-30 g protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner provides sufficient protein to effectively stimulate muscle protein anabolism; (2) Protein quality; including high-quality protein at each meal improves postprandial muscle protein synthesis; and (3) performing physical activity in close temporal proximity to a high-quality protein meal enhances muscle anabolism. Optimising the potential for muscle protein anabolism by consuming an adequate amount of high-quality protein at each meal, in combination with physical activity, appears as a promising strategy to prevent or delay the onset of sarcopenia. However, results of interventions are inconsistent, and well-designed, standardised studies evaluating exercise or nutrition interventions are needed before guidelines can be developed for the prevention and treatment of age-related sarcopenia.
- Medicin och hälsovetenskap (3)