Why are Proteins so Important as We Age?

Series of Articles: Proteins – Building Blocks of Life

We humans are living longer and longer. Just a few decades ago, people in their mid-sixties were considered old, usually retired and living a quiet, contemplative life. Today, most of us want to be active, travel, and enjoy life. But what determines whether and to what extent we are fit and agile as we age? Proteins, the building blocks of our lives, play an essential role. This has now been scientifically proven: Older people need more protein than previously thought. This is why seniors in particular should pay attention to a good protein supply.

What Happens as We Age?

Physical Changes With Age

Cell division is the basis of life. It allows us to grow and regenerate our organs or damaged tissues. With each cell division, the telomeres, the ends of the chromosomes in the nucleus, get a little shorter. Once a critical minimum length is reached, cells can no longer divide or die. This process is one of the most important underpinnings of the extremely complex aging process. By the way: An unconscious lifestyle with stress, an unhealthy diet, little exercise and/or smoking can accelerate the shortening of telomeres. Too much UV radiation, too little sunlight for the body to make vitamin D, medications or free radicals can also permanently damage our cells.

»You stay young as long as you can still learn,

adopt new habits and endure dissent.«

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

The number of cells in many organs decreases significantly over the years, affecting their ability to function. The number of nerve cells in the brain or immune cells decreases with age, making them work more slowly. Aging also affects our sense organs and musculoskeletal system: bone density decreases, vertebrae change shape, cartilage becomes thinner, ligaments and tendons lose elasticity, and connective tissues sag. Our skin becomes less elastic and thinner. Hair loses its color pigments, becomes finer and sometimes falls out. Then there is the age-related loss of muscle mass, which usually begins after the age of 30.

The Cause of Aging Diseases

For a long time, the minor ailments and diseases that come with age were considered to be natural side effects of the aging process. Today we know that most of these diseases are caused by malnutrition. In particular, protein deficiency has far-reaching consequences for our health, especially as we age.

But the good news is that it is in our own hands! If most of the ailments and diseases associated with aging are the result of malnutrition, it is also possible to reverse this process with an adequate supply of nutrients!

Malnutrition in Old Age

The causes of malnutrition in old age are many and varied. Not only do our eating habits change over the years due to a different perception of chewing, taste and smell, a lower energy metabolism or a declining appetite, but the body’s own digestive and detoxification powers, and thus the ability to utilize protein, also decline more and more as we age. This is often compounded by illness-related problems such as dysphagia, chronic pain, loss of appetite, and gastrointestinal side effects of medications.

As a result, as we age, we eat less or less balanced meals than we did when we were younger. This can lead to a deficiency of essential proteins, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, which reduces muscle mass and weakens the immune system. We become more susceptible to infections and other illnesses.

Protein Deficiency in the Elderly

Protein deficiency in particular has devastating consequences in old age. Without protein, nothing in our bodies works. As the building blocks of life, proteins, or amino acids, are essential for our muscles, tendons and bones, as well as for our immune system and metabolism. Adequate protein intake is therefore of vital importance as we age.

The following symptoms may indicate protein deficiency in the elderly:

  • Loss of body tissue or muscle mass (wasting) with a high percentage of body fat
  • Muscle weakness with increased risk of falling
  • Poor immune defence and delayed convalescence
  • Poorly healing wounds
  • Hair loss
  • Oedema (water retention in the tissues)
  • Weight loss without calorie reduction
  • General weakness
  • Reduction in organ mass and organ function
  • Decreased performance

Preventing Protein Deficiency in the Elderly

At first glance, the logical thing to do would be to change your diet from one rich in sugar and carbohydrates to one rich in protein. However, we believe that most people find it difficult to change their eating habits as they age. In addition, there are other reasons why, in our experience, a sudden increase in dietary protein at 60+ is not recommended:

Impaired Kidney Function in Old Age

A person in their 70s has only 30 percent of the kidney function they had in their younger years. The kidneys also have less and less cell mass with age. As a result, the volume and weight of the kidneys decrease, as does their ability to excrete nitrogenous waste. Even if older people were to completely change their diet and eat significantly more animal protein in the form of meat, fish or poultry, the kidneys would not be able to digest the unaccustomed amounts of protein or would simply be overwhelmed by the amount of nitrogen waste produced.

Decreased Digestive Capacity With Age

Acid digestion in the elderly is similar to the decline in kidney function: pepsin digestion can be reduced by up to 60 percent in the elderly. The detoxification capacity of the liver, i.e. its ability to break down ammonia, also declines. Too much ammonia in the blood can be fatal due to its cytotoxic effects. Elevated blood urea levels can also cause further damage.

Therefore, older people often unconsciously limit their protein intake because they are unable to tolerate these foods due to their diminished digestive capacity and the relatively increased burden of nitrogenous waste. They feel less well after a protein-rich meal. But this starts a vicious cycle of reduced protein utilization and reduced protein intake. The lack of protein leads to a reduction or conversion of lean cell mass into fat tissue, which progresses rapidly when inactivity is added to the mix.

So what to do? We have the solution: MyAMINO®, the revolution in protein nutrition.

The Healthy Protein Supply in Old Age

With MyAMINO®, we have developed a protein product that is unique in the world, allowing you to supply your body with a high proportion of high-purity amino acids with almost no loss of nitrogen (1%). It is therefore ideal for your protein supply into old age, without burdening the detoxification organs such as the liver, kidneys and lymph.

Another advantage is that no digestive end products are produced in the intestines, which in turn helps to relieve the digestive system and consequently the cardiovascular system. Thus, the body is not only relieved, but also perfectly supplied with high-quality amino acids and 0.1 Kcal. per MyAMINO® pellet after only 23 minutes of digestion time.

In combination with moderate and regular exercise, such as short walks or light exercises adapted to age and fitness level, you can effectively prevent muscle loss and even build muscle mass.

According to many of our customers, the increase in vitality and quality of life feels like a true fountain of youth. No wonder, because with MyAMINO® you choose – in contrast to fish, meat, eggs, soy or other protein sources – the protein product with the highest net utilization worldwide.

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