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Saturday 24th March 2018

More protein for older women

26th March 2008

A new study has suggested that older women should eat more protein as they age.

Old Hands

Experts say that older women do not use protein as effectively to maintain muscle because of differences in the way male and female bodies metabolise food.

Researchers from the University of Nottingham and Washington University School of Medicine in the US studied 29 men and women aged 65 to 80.

They believe women are unable to perform the same functions as effectively as men because of the hormonal changes of the menopause and suggested that women over 65 should eat more meat and eggs and do resistance exercise.

Writing in PLOS One, the researchers found that after doing exercises such as lifting weights, women did not build up muscle as much as men who were able to better store protein in the muscle.

Michael Rennie, professor of clinical physiology at the University of Nottingham, said: “Nobody has ever discovered any mechanistic differences between men and women in muscle loss before.

“This is a significant finding for the maintenance of better health in old age and reducing demands on the National Health Service.?

People over 50 lose about 0.4% of muscle mass every year, which can make them less mobile or at risk of falls.

The British Dietetic Association said that with women having less muscle bulk, eating more protein was a sensible move.

Spokesman Jackie Lowdon said: “There needs to be a much greater focus than there is at present on improving the diets of those who are already vulnerable.?


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