Dairy proteins are potent for healthy ageing, says seminar

Sports and nutrition students, and academics, from Northumbria University attended a seminar organised by The Dairy Council addressing the benefits of dairy protein for ageing muscles.

The UK has a growing elderly population, and age-related muscle-loss is becoming a public health concern. Age-related loss of muscle mass and strength can affect balance, gait and the overall ability of older people to perform simple tasks. Maintaining muscle mass and strength is a key factor for ageing well and protein sources have been identified as beneficial in helping muscles stay stronger for longer.

The seminar heard from Dr Oliver Witard, senior lecturer in Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism from the University of Stirling, who discussed the benefits of dairy sources of protein verses plant sources. Dr Witard, explains, “The benefits of dairy nutrition on muscle mass are well established in healthy older adults. Proteins derived from dairy can stimulate muscle protein synthesis, therefore preserving muscle mass as we grow older.

“Dairy-sourced proteins have effective muscle-building properties and the potential means to preserve muscle mass and function in later age. Several studies have shown that dairy proteins exhibit greater muscle anabolic potential than plant based proteins and other alternatives.”

Erica Hocking, senior nutrition scientist with The Dairy Council adds, “With the UK’s ageing population, it is essential to be aware of how our diets can help our muscles as we get older.

“Dairy foods are nutrient-rich and a source of protein. A growing body of research suggests that dairy protein, particularly the amino acid leucine may help preserve muscle mass and strength in older people.”

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