Rational use of protein supplements in the elderly—relevance of gastrointestinal mechanisms

Ian Chapman, Avneet Oberoi, Caroline Giezenaar, Stijn Soenen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Protein supplements are increasingly used by older people to maintain nutrition and prevent or treat loss of muscle function. Daily protein requirements in older people are in the range of 1.2 gm/kg/day or higher. Many older adults do not consume this much protein and are likely to benefit from higher consumption. Protein supplements are probably best taken twice daily, if possible soon after exercise, in doses that achieve protein intakes of 30 gm or more per episode. It is probably not important to give these supplements between meals, as we have shown no suppressive effects of 30 gm whey drinks, and little if any suppression of 70 gm given to older subjects at varying time intervals from meals. Many gastrointestinal mechanisms controlling food intake change with age, but their contributions to changes in responses to protein are not yet well understood. There may be benefits in giving the supplement with rather than between meals, to achieve protein intakes above the effective anabolic threshold with lower supplement doses, and have favourable effects on food-induced blood glucose increases in older people with, or at risk of developing, type 2 diabetes mellitus; combined protein and glucose drinks lower blood glucose compared with glucose alone in older people.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1227
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Rational use of protein supplements in the elderly—relevance of gastrointestinal mechanisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this