Just like young people do, people in their seventies increase their muscle mass if they lift weights. And they can build their muscles more quickly if they ingest a portion of whey protein immediately prior to or after their workout. The amount of whey needed to stimulate muscle growth is larger for people in their seventies than for younger athletes, according to sports scientists at McMaster University in Canada in a report soon to appear in the British Journal of Nutrition.
As far as we know, protein-rich food is the best instrument for letting strength sports athletes increase the rate at which they build muscle tissue. At the moment, a popular research is theme is timing proteins – taking proteins immediately before you start a training session. Researchers claim that that combination helps to boost the rate of muscle growth.
Four years ago, the Canadians published a study in which people in their twenties were able to build more muscle mass if they took about twenty gr whey after their workout. More protein had no further effect.
We now know that after a person turns 40, it becomes more difficult for the body to build muscle mass after taking protein. Does that mean that a dose of whey immediately after a workout would have less effect for people in their seventies? This was the question that the Canadian researchers wanted to answer.
The researchers divided 36 people in their seventies into 4 groups [W0, W10, W20 en W40]. All of the groups did 10 reps with one leg on a leg-extension machine in a laboratory. The subjects trained with a weight set at failure.
After the set, the men in the W0, W10, W20 and W40 groups drank a shake with respectively 0, 10, 20 of 40 gr whey.
In the following hours, the researchers monitored the manufacture of muscle proteins in the men's legs. As you can see below, whey increased the production in the non-trained leg (white bars), and in the trained leg the creation of muscle protein increased further.
The best results were found in subjects who had taken 40 gr whey.
"Thus, utilising protein feeding and resistance exercise concurrently will promote an optimal anabolic environment in elderly muscles compared with either stimulus alone", the researchers wrote. "In support of this paradigm, the present data show that resistance exercise potentiates feeding-induced rates of muscle protein synthesis at all protein doses. Compared with exercise without feeding, rates of muscle protein synthesis were approximately 13, 44 and 91 percent greater with postexercise ingestion of 10, 20 and 40 g of whey protein, respectively."
Br J Nutr. 2012 Feb 7:1-9. [Epub ahead of print].