Breaking News on Supplements, Health & Nutrition - Europe US edition | APAC edition

News > Research

Read more breaking news



Protein supplements effective for muscle mass boosts in young and old: Meta-analysis

By Stephen Daniells , 26-Nov-2012
Last updated on 26-Nov-2012 at 15:47 GMT2012-11-26T15:47:14Z

Protein supplements effective for muscle mass boosts in young and old: Meta-analysis

A meta-analysis of 22 clinical trials shows that protein supplements are effective for boosting muscle mass and strength gains during resistance exercise in both younger and older subjects.

Data from 680 individuals revealed that protein supplementation was associated with average increases in fat-free body mass of 0.69 kg, and average increases in leg press strength of 13.5 kg.

“Dietary protein supplementation represents an effective dietary strategy to augment the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to prolonged resistance-type exercise training in healthy younger and older adults,” wrote Dutch researchers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“Because the gains in fat-free mass and 1 repetition maximum leg press strength are also observed in an older population, it seems evident that protein supplementation represents an effective and robust strategy to improve the benefits of resistance-type exercise training to support healthy aging.”


Protein supplements are extensively taken by many athletes to build and maintain muscle. While this is generally accepted, the Dutch researchers note that there is “much discrepancy in the literature regarding the proposed benefits of protein supplementation during prolonged resistance-type exercise training in younger and older populations”.

Their meta-analysis is claimed to be the first to examine protein supplementation in relation to the adaptive response of muscle strength, and seeks to resolve any debate over the effectiveness for young and old.

Led by Luc van Loon from Maastricht University Medical Centre, the researchers analyzed data from 22 randomized control trials. The average protein supplement dose was 42 grams per day, and the majority of the studies used whey or milk proteins. Results showed that, compared to placebo, both free-fat mass and leg strength increased.

In addition, protein supplementation was associated with increases in the cross-sectional area of muscle fibers type I and II of 45 and 54%, respectively, said the researchers, but the improvements were only observed in the younger subjects.

“For future investigations, researchers may wish to examine specific variables with respect to the effect of dietary protein supplementation on the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to prolonged resistance-type exercise training,” they wrote.

“The latter may include the effect of the intensity of the exercise sessions, the type or source of dietary protein supplementation, and/or the timing of protein supplementation.”

Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.037556
“Protein supplementation augments the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to resistance-type exercise training: a meta-analysis”
Authors: N.M. Cermak, P.T. Res, L.C.P.G.M. de Groot, W.H.M. Saris, L.J.C. van Loon

Related products

Live Supplier Webinars

Polyphenols tipped to become the way to innovate in Sports Nutrition
Alpha & Omega in Sports Nutrition – Using Omega 3’s and A-GPC to improve performance and recovery.
KD Pharma
Orally bioavailable standardized botanical derivatives in sport nutrition: special focus on recovery in post-intense physical activities
Collagen in motion: move freely and keep your injuries in check
Leading manufacturer of gelatine and collagen peptides
Life’s too short for slow proteins. Whey proteins hydrolysates: Fast delivery for enhanced performance
Arla Foods Ingredients
What it Takes to Compete and Win in Today’s Sports Nutrition Market
Sports Nutrition Snapshot: Key regional drivers and delivery format innovations
William Reed Business Media
Gutsy performance: How can microbiome modulation help athletes and weekend warriors
William Reed Business Media
Pushing the boundaries: Where’s the line between ‘cutting edge nutrition’ and doping
William Reed Business Media

On demand Supplier Webinars

High-amylose maize starch may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: what does this qualified health claim mean?
Balancing Innovation and Risk in Sports Nutrition Ingredients
Explaining bio-hacking: is there a marketing opportunity for food companies?
William Reed Business Media
Personalized Nutrition – how an industry can take part in shaping the future of Nutrition
BASF Nutrition & Health
Find out Nutritional and ingredient lifecycle solutions and strategies!
Is the time rIpe for I-nutrition?
William Reed Business Media
The Advantage of Outsourcing Fermentation-based Manufacturing Processes
Evonik Health Care
All supplier webinars