Effect of age on blood glucose and plasma insulin, glucagon, ghrelin, CCK, GIP, and GLP-1 responses to whey protein ingestion

Caroline Giezenaar, Amy T. Hutchison, Natalie D. Luscombe-Marsh, Ian Chapman, Michael Horowitz, Stijn Soenen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
68 Downloads (Pure)


Protein-rich supplements are used widely to prevent and manage undernutrition in older people. We have previously shown that healthy older, compared to younger, adults have less suppression of energy intake by whey protein—although the effects of age on appetite-related gut hormones are largely unknown. The aim of this study was to determine and compare the acute effects of whey protein loads on blood glucose and plasma gut hormone concentrations in older and younger adults. Sixteen healthy older (eight men, eight women, mean ± SEM: age: 72 ± 1 years, body mass index: 25 ± 1 kg/m2) and 16 younger (eight men, eight women, 24 ± 1 years, 23 ± 0.4 kg/m2) adults were studied on three occasions in which they ingested 30 g (120 kcal) or 70 g (280 kcal) whey protein, or a flavored-water control drink (~2 kcal). At regular intervals over 180 min, blood glucose and plasma insulin, glucagon, ghrelin, cholecystokinin (CCK), gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP), and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) concentrations were measured. Plasma ghrelin was dose-dependently suppressed and insulin, glucagon, CCK, GIP, and GLP-1 concentrations were dose-dependently increased by the whey protein ingestion, while blood glucose concentrations were comparable during all study days. The stimulation of plasma CCK and GIP concentrations was greater in older than younger adults. In conclusion, orally ingested whey protein resulted in load-dependent gut hormone responses, which were greater for plasma CCK and GIP in older compared to younger adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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