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Old 09-30-2008, 06:41 PM
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Default Optimal Protein Intake for the Elderly

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein, as promulgated by the Food and Nutrition Board of the United States National Academy of Science, is 0.8g protein/kg body weight/day for adults, regardless of age. This value represents the minimum amount of protein required to avoid progressive loss of lean body mass in most individuals.

There is an evidence that the RDA for elderly may be greater than 0.8g/kg/day. Evidence indicates that protein intake greater than the RDA can improve muscle mass, strength and function in elderly. In addition, other factors, including immune status, wound healing, blood pressure and bone health may be improved by increasing protein intake above the RDA. Furthermore, the RDA does not address the recommended intake of protein in the context of a balanced diet.

Concerns about potential detrimental effects of increased protein intake on bone health, renal function, neurological function and cardiovascular function are generally unfounded. In fact, many of these factors are improved in elderly ingesting elevated quantities of protein.

It appears that an intake of 1.5gprotein/kg/day, or about 15-20% of total caloric intake, is a reasonable target for elderly individuals wishing to optimize protein intake in terms of health and function.

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Old 10-05-2008, 10:59 AM
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Yes, protein is essential for good health in aging. But eating sufficient protein alone, for the elderly is not necessarily the answer.

You must be able to digest the protein for it to be of any value.

So in this perspective, evaluation of digestive strength is of utmost importance.

Often supplements of enzymes and HCL is required. Too much protein that is ill digested may in fact create a decrease in life span due to the toxic components formed by ill digestion.

I have watched in nursing homes when elderly are forced fed protein and no weight gain, and most specifically no muscle mass results.

Aside from the need for proper digestive factors being present there is the need for exercise. Since hormone levels decrease in the elderly, aside from growth hormone supplementation, which is not feasible due to cost and controls by the government, the only hope to stimulate HGC is through exercise, which of course many elderly cannot do. Hence a negative declining spirial occurs leading to debility..
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