According to a comprehensive scientific research review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, eating more protein beyond the current recommendations can significantly improve the effects of lifting weights, especially for people past the age of 40.
Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton did a meta-analysis on a total of 1,863 people, including men and women, young and old, and experienced weight trainers as well as novices. The aim was to find out if taking in more protein during weight training would lead to larger increases in muscle size and strength. The finding was a resounding yes, people who ate more protein did develop larger, stronger muscles than those who did not. They also found the sweet spot for protein intake, which was 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
“We think that, for the purposes of maximizing muscular strength and mass with resistance training, most people need more protein” than is advised in the recommendations, says Rob Morton, a doctoral student at McMaster who led the study. This advice is especially true for people over 40 years old he says, almost none of whom were getting the ideal amount of protein in these studies and who, presumably in consequence, tended to show much smaller gains in strength and muscle size than younger people.
Dr. Phillips (a Profesor in the Department of Kinesiology and Mc Master University and Director of the Physical Activity Centre for Excellence) has found that around age 50 people need to pay increase the amount of protein they are getting in their diet as the decline in protein from our muscles begins in our 40s and 50s.
In a review by the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, protein researchers found that ageing runners may need more protein than younger runners because their recovery is impaired.
So if you are or know someone who is over 40, let them know about the importance of increasing their protein intake to enhance their performance and recovery.
Reference for The Importance of Protein if You’re Over 40:
Br J Sports Med. 2018 Mar;52(6):376-384. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-097608. Epub 2017 Jul 11.
Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2016 Apr;26(2):168-78. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2015-0102. Epub 2015 Sep 24.