Medicinal Herbs and ADHD


Sarcopenia in Aging Women and Protein Intake

July 10, 2017 • 3 min read
BookmarkBookmark bookmark Share

Notice: Undefined variable: fbIcon in /home/ndc9e95/public_html/wp-content/themes/wholisticmatters/includes/functions.php on line 218

The American population is growing and aging, and an increasing risk of sarcopenia often accompanies age, especially for women. Increased protein intake has been associated with the prevention of sarcopenia.

The American population is growing and aging. As we collectively age, healthcare costs associated with sarcopenia are likely to increase. Sarcopenia is a major concern with aging as it affects quality of life and overall health. Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass associated with aging, and it is particularly common among women. Any health problem that predominantly affects women affects the population as a whole: women comprise over 50% of the population, and women aged 35 years and older make up the largest group.1 Individuals over age 60 show a significant increase in the effects of sarcopenia and research indicates that women start to lose muscle mass in their thirties.7

Image defining sarcopenia and menopause from the Menopause Glossary.

A recent position paper by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that protein intake above the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily is beneficial for preventing sarcopenia.2 Several other groups including the European Society of Parental and Enteral Nutrition (ESPEN); Society on Sarcopenia, Cachexia, and Wasting Disorders have proposed increasing the protein intake recommendation to between 1.0 and 1.5 grams per kilogram per day for older adults, with the aim of reducing age-related muscle loss.3,4

A recent analysis from the large population-based Nurses’ Health Study II cohort showed that consuming vegetable-based protein may reduce the risk of early menopause, a life transition point in which women may start to lose muscle mass at a higher rate.5 Similarly, an observational study of 387 healthy postmenopausal women showed that they may need higher dietary protein intake than current recommendations suggest. In this study, subjects who consumed greater than the RDA of 0.8 grams per kilogram of protein had a significantly better lean-to-fat mass ratio and arm/leg strength compared to women who consumed less than 0.8 grams per kilogram of protein per day.6 Studies have shown that as adults age, they can benefit from added protein, preventing muscle loss. The body of evidence has grown to support the benefits of vegan protein.

Well-established clinical guidelines suggest that increased protein intake with supplemental branched chain amino acids (BCAA) can support maintenance of lean muscle mass as women age. A 2017 University of Massachusetts Amherst study supports the recommendation that women incorporate vegan protein into their diet. The researchers found that vegan protein prolongs the premenopausal period and improves health outcomes. Consuming added protein also was found to reduce the risk of sarcopenia.5

Tonight, consider swapping out a meal containing animal-based protein for a salad with some nuts and lentils or garden fresh ratatouille. One of our favorite recipes is below!


Learn more about Healthy Aging

Did you like this article?

  1. Women's Health USA 2012. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2017, from whusa12/pc/pages/usp.html
  2. Bernstein, M., & Munoz, N. (2012). Position of the academy of nutrition and dietetics: food and nutrition for older adults: promoting health and wellness. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112(8), 1255-1277. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2012.06.015
  3. Deutz, N. E., Bauer, J. M., Barazzoni, R., Biolo, G., Boirie, Y., Bosy-Westphal, A.,Calder, P. C. (2014). Protein intake and exercise for optimal muscle function with aging: recommendations from the ESPEN expert group. Clinical Nutrition, 33(6), 929-936. doi:10.1016/j.clnu. 2014.04.007
  4. Paddon-Jones, D., & Rasmussen, B. B. (2009). Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 12(1), 86-90. doi:10.1097/mco.0b013e32831cef8b
  5. University of Massachusetts at Amherst. (2017, June 26). Eating more vegetable protein may protect against early menopause: study shows modest but significant lower risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 7, 2017 from
  6. Gregorio, L., Brindisi, J., Kleppinger, A., Sullivan, R., Mangano, K. M., Bihuniak, J. D. Insogn, K. L. (2013). Adequate dietary protein is associated with better physical performance among post-menopausal women 60–90 years. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 18(2), 155-160. doi:10.1007/s12603-013-0391-2
  7. Baumgartner RN, Koehler KM, Gallagher D, et al. (1999)Epidemiology of sarcopenia among the elderly in New Mexico. American Journal of Epidemiology, 149(12), 1160-1160. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009771

Scientifically driven. Education focused. Healing Inspired.

Subscribe to Insights

Receive clinically driven nutrition insights you can trust.

Animated Newsletter WM

Join Our Community to Read Further

This is a premium article created for our Healthcare Practitioner readers. Create a free account to continue reading and gain full access.



WholisticMatters offers health care practitioners and nutrition enthusiasts alike the opportunity to create a free profile for access to site features like bookmarking. Enjoying an article you are reading or a video you are watching? Save it to come back to later! Sign up in seconds for continuous access to all that WholisticMatters has to offer.

WholisticMatters also offers health care practitioners who create a free user profile access to exclusive content and tools to utilize in clinical practice. Articles, tools, and downloads created specifically for practitioners to use in their office for better patient education in clinical nutrition and health. Sign up today with your email and credentials so we can confirm you as a health care practitioner, and you are free to peruse the resources unique to you and your colleagues in health.


Create Your Account:

show-pass Please use 8 or more characters with a mix of letters, numbers & symbols

Create a free account to use our great bookmarking tool

Once your account is created, you'll be able to save and organize what matters to you!

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

Are you a Healthcare Professional? Sign Up For Free Access!

We'll verify your credentials and get you access to our great interactive tools.

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.