Food for Thought
When it comes to building muscle mass, men of a certain age should probably pass on the protein supplements, says a new study in the February 2009 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The goal of the study was to assess the benefits of timed protein supplementation for increasing muscle mass and strength in older men before and after prolonged resistance training.
Healthy elderly men (aged 70–74) who regularly consumed adequate dietary protein were randomly assigned to a progressive 12-week strength training program; half of the participants received a total of 20 grams of protein before and immediately after each training session, and the other half got a placebo. Both groups trained three times per week, and one-repetition maximum (1 RM) tests were performed regularly to ensure that the workouts progressed over 12 weeks.
At the end of the intervention, the difference in muscle mass and strength increase between the two groups was insignificant, according to the researchers. “Timed protein supplementation immediately before and after exercise does not further augment the increase in skeletal muscle mass and strength after prolonged resistance-type exercise training in healthy elderly men who habitually consume adequate amounts of dietary protein,” the authors reported. It should be noted that most Americans get an adequate amount of protein in their diets each day.