Why are proteins so important in old age?
Series of articles: Proteins – building blocks of our life
We humans are getting older and older. Just a few decades ago, one was considered old in one’s mid-sixties, one was usually retired and lived a quiet, contemplative life. Today, most of us want to be active into old age, go travelling… in short, enjoy life. But what determines whether and to what extent we are fit and agile into old age? Proteins, the building blocks of our life, play an essential role here. Because it has now also been scientifically proven: Older people need more protein than previously thought. Seniors in particular should therefore pay attention to a good protein supply.
»You stay young as long as you can still learn,
adopt new habits and endure dissent.«
Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
Protein deficiency in old age
A protein deficiency in particular has devastating consequences in old age. Because without proteins, nothing works in our body. As the building blocks of our lives, proteins or amino acids are absolutely vital for our muscles, ligaments and bones, but also for our immune system and our entire metabolism. Sufficient protein intake is therefore of central importance in old age.
The following symptoms can indicate a protein deficiency in older people:
- Reduction of body tissue or muscle mass (atrophy) with a simultaneous high proportion 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 impairment of organ function
- Reduction in performance