Vol. 2 No. 2 (2019): International Journal of Aging Research
Review Articles

Whey Protein Supplementation as a Strategy to Preserve Muscle Mass and Increase Protein Synthesis in the Elderly: a Review of Literature

Celine de Carvalho Furtado1; Império Lombardi Jr2
1PhD student in Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Program in Health Sciences – Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) – Baixada Santista Campus; teacher and researcher in CENTRO UNIVERSITÁRIO LUSÍADA; 2Professor in Department of Human Movement Science -Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) – Baixada Santista Campus;
  • Sarcopenia, Muscle mass, Whey protein, Protein synthesis.
How to Cite
Celine de Carvalho Furtado1; Império Lombardi Jr2. (2019). Whey Protein Supplementation as a Strategy to Preserve Muscle Mass and Increase Protein Synthesis in the Elderly: a Review of Literature. International Journal of Aging Research, 2(2), 34. https://doi.org/10.28933/ijoar-2019-03-1805


INTRODUCTION: Aging often coincides with loss of muscle mass, strength and function, known as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia, a geriatric syndrome closely linked to physical frailty, has a substantial impact on the quality of life. Inadequate dietary intake, especially protein intake, has been associated with decreased lean body mass. Dietary protein affects muscle mass by the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis after absorption of amino acids into muscle cells AIMS: Verify the effectiveness of whey protein supplementation in increasing protein synthesis and muscle mass in elderly. METHODS: This is a systematic review conduced in the pubmed database, which sought clinical trials published between 2012 and 2016, with the combination of descriptors: Whey protein, muscle mass, protein synthesis, sarcopenia. RESULTS: We found 30 articles and after exclusion of non-relevant issues and duplicate articles were included 11 articles in this study. Of the selected material, 3 studies did not find positive effects with supplementation, this null response could have occurred because of dose and/or timing of supplementation, 1 study found the same effect with leucine supplementation and 7 studies found positive effects with whey protein supplementation for the protein synthesis and the increase of lean body mass in the elderly. CONCLUSIONS: Therefore, we can conclude that supplementation of whey protein shows positive results for increased protein synthesis and muscle mass in the elderly. However, the results differ between the sexes, quantity and timing of consumption, which after the need of new studies for the best understanding of the subject. It seems that the elderly respond best to higher amounts of supplement and the periods more distant from the practice of resistive exercise. In addition, after reviewing the articles it appears that men present better results than women do. The results give us another option to maintain the independence and quality of the elderly.


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