Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Urban Vitality

A higher protein intake is not associated with 5-year change in mid-thigh muscle cross-sectional area by computed tomography in older adults

the health, aging, and body composition (Health ABC) study

Abstract

Rationale: A higher protein intake is suggested to preserve muscle mass during aging, and may therefore reduce the risk for sarcopenia. We explored whether the amount, type (animal/vegetable) and essential amino acid (EAA) composition of protein intake were associated with 5-year change in mid-thigh muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) in older adults. Methods: Protein intake was assessed at year 2 by a Block food frequency questionnaire in 2,597 participants of the Health ABC study, aged 70–79 y. At year 1 and year 6 mid-thigh muscle CSA (cm2) was measured by computed tomography. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to examine the association between energy adjusted protein residuals (total, animal and vegetable protein) and muscle CSA at year 6, adjusted for muscle CSA at year 1 and potential confounders including prevalent health conditions, physical activity and 5-year change in fat mass. EAA intake was expressed as percentage of total protein intake. Results: Mean protein intake was 0.90 (SD 0.36) g/kg/d and mean 5-year change in muscle CSA was −9.8 (17.0) cm2 (n = 1,561). No association was observed between energy adjusted total (β = −0.00 cm2 ; SE = 0.03; P = 0.98), animal (β = −0.00 cm2; SE = 0.03; P = 0.92), and plant (β = +0.07 cm2; SE = 0.07; P = 0.291) protein intake and muscle CSA at year 6, adjusted for baseline mid-thigh muscle area and potential confounders. No associations were observed for the EAAs. Conclusion: A higher total, animal or vegetable protein intake was not associated with 5 year change in mid-thigh cross sectional area in older adults. This conclusion contradicts some, but not all previous research, therefore optimal protein intake for older adults is currently not known.

Reference Verreijen, A. M., Engberink, M. F., Brouwer, I. A., Cawthon, P. M., Newman, A. B., Tylavsky, F. A., ... Visser, M. (2017). A higher protein intake is not associated with 5-year change in mid-thigh muscle cross-sectional area by computed tomography in older adults: the health, aging, and body composition (Health ABC) study. S12-S13.
Published by  Faculty Sports and Nutrition 1 January 2017