The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for daily protein intake is 0.8 grams per kg of body mass. This appears insufficient to increase muscle mass and muscle strength in exercising individuals, athletes and more importantly, the elderly.
What is the Daily Dietary Amount?
In the most comprehensive systematic review and meta-analyses to date, Morton et al. (2018) examined the effects of protein supplementation (4-106 grams per day) in 1863 participants performing weight training (6-52 weeks). Compared to placebo (control), protein ingestion significantly improved muscle mass and muscle strength. Two variables which are critical for improved quality of life, longevity and functional independence. Interestingly, the effects of protein were better in weight trained individuals compared to non-weight trained individuals, suggesting that weight training may sensitize exercising muscles to better interact with the protein.
Unfortunately, with aging, we experience a decrease in muscle mass and strength; which decreases our ability to perform activities of daily living. These negative consequences of the aging process may partially be the result of a blunted response to dietary protein. Therefore, aging adults require a higher protein dosage per serving compared to younger adults. Research suggests that young adults benefit from a protein dosage around 0.25 grams per kg of body mass whereas aging adults require about 0.4 grams per kg of body mass. Considering several variables, a daily protein intake of 1.6-2.2 grams per kg of body mass (over 3-5 meals) is recommended for those individuals wanting to further increase muscle mass and strength.
What About Timing?
Does the timing of dietary protein supplementation matter? The majority of the research suggests that the total daily amount of protein is far more important than the specific timing of ingestion. However, several studies show that protein consumed within a few hours after exercise may help increase muscle mass, strength, and recovery. Thus, we advise consuming protein post-exercise. For most individuals, consuming 1.6-2.2 grams per kg body mass of protein throughout the day may be challenging. The TDF Sports Plant Strong Protein is a complete protein source which derives from brown rice, pea, and pumpkin. Which provides a convenient and reliable option to consider post-exercise and throughout the day.
Plant-based complete proteins provide an excellent option for exercising individuals, athletes and the elderly. Studies show that plant-based proteins can increase muscle protein synthesis in young and aging adults; this could lead to an increase in muscle mass. Furthermore, a diet high in plant protein sources may help maintain aging muscle. From an environmental, greenhouse gas emission, and food security perspective, a plant-based protein diet may be advantageous.
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