Besides physical activity, the supply of proteins in sufficient quantity allows the seniors to preserve muscle mass and autonomy.
“I feel that whatever I do, it is a great effort!” Around 75 years, 5 to 10% of seniors find themselves with muscular capital so small that geriatricians speak of fragility. “Fragility defines a state of increased vulnerability that also increases the risk of hospitalization, disability and death,” explains Berna Rahi, researcher at the University of Bordeaux, in one of the leading international scientific journals of geriatrics , The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. But this is not inevitable.
With her colleagues from Bordeaux and Clermont-Ferrand, she took over the nutritional and health data, from 1345 Bordelais aged over 65 years followed during the last fifteen years in the study known as “Des 3 Cités”. It is noted that those who have sufficient intakes of proteins reduce by 60% their risk of being in a state of fragility.
“It is a transversal work (at a given moment, Editor’s Note), which does not allow to establish causal links between fragility and protein contributions”, notes Marc Bonnefoy, professor of geriatrics (Hospices civils de Lyon, Claude Bernard University ) And researcher of Inserm.
However, it is a solid work as it adds to other studies that show the importance of adequate daily intake of protein. For a sedentary adult, this means about 0.8 to 1 g of protein per kilogram of weight, or about 60 g if weigh 70 kg. An intake that must be daily because proteins are not stored by the body. It is therefore necessary to consume regularly to allow a good cell renewal, especially the muscles.
“Muscle aging is characterized by loss of volume, mass and muscle strength. We speak of muscular melting, as the melting of snow, explains Vincent Mouly, researcher at the Institute of myology (Paris). Director of the research center at the same institute, Gillian Butler-Browne highlights the peculiarities of the elderly, ” several times it is better to eat in small amounts to assimilate. Let everyone find the time that suits him best. ”
Meat source of protein
For Professor Bonnefoy, “the results of this new study confirm the relationship between a state of fragility – that is to say before the occurrence of a physical dependence – and protein intakes below 1 g per kg of Weight per day. We can therefore recommend such intake for the elderly population in order to prevent dependence and maintain muscle capital “.
Meat is an excellent source of protein (about 30 g in a 100 g steak or a chicken leg) but they are also found in fish (20 g of protein in 100 g of cod) or cheese. An egg contains about 5 g protein and 100 g of lentils or peas contain about 25 g of protein .
But food is not everything. “We must remember the importance of physical activity, in parallel, which allows to increase the use of proteins by the muscle and to effectively fight against the state of fragility,” insists Professor Bonnefoy. “And especially not to wait until reaching an advanced age, adds Vincent Mouly, because we pay later years of unbalanced life. Idleness is at first the mother of accelerated aging before being that of all vices … ”