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DAIRY IS KEY TO BENEFITING AGEING MUSCLES

Older people exercising

Sport and nutrition experts attended The Dairy Council’s seminar on the benefits of dairy-based proteins for ageing muscles at Loughborough University on 13th March.

Research suggests that age-related muscle and strength loss is driven by a reduced muscle building response. This weakened muscle response in old age is somewhat expected. However, experts explained that an inactive lifestyle and excess body fat worsens this response. Therefore, dietary protein needs alter in older age to support muscle mass and function. Also, the source of dietary protein is particularly important.

The seminar featured a talk by Dr Leigh Breen, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Metabolism, University of Birmingham. Dr Breen’s expert knowledge centres on understanding the regulation of muscle metabolism in health and disease.

Dr Breen said “Muscle and strength loss with age presents the public with a considerable socio-economic burden given the expanding ageing population.

“Nutritional support represents the essential framework to protect muscle health in old age. Dairy-sourced proteins should be at the forefront of this for our ageing population.

“Dairy-sourced proteins have effective muscle-building properties and may be a potential means to preserve muscle mass and function as we grow older.”

Dr Anne Mullen, Director of Nutrition at The Dairy Council added, “With the UK’s ageing population, we need to be aware of how our diets can help our muscles as we get older.

“Dairy foods are nutrient-rich sources of protein. Research suggests dairy protein may have a role in reducing loss of muscle function in older people. This is something that should receive greater attention.”