NOBULL: Meat may stave off mental, physical declines in older men: study

Meat may stave off mental, physical declines in older men: study

By Meatingplace Editors on 3/14/2014

A diet rich in animal protein may help older men maintain higher levels of physical, psychological and social function, according to a study from Japan.

Researchers investigated the relationship between protein intake and decline in higher-level functioning in a community of older adults in Ohasama, Japan. The analysis included 1,007 men and women with an average age of 67 years who completed food questionnaires at the start of the study and seven years later.

Participants were divided into quartiles according to intake levels of both animal and plant protein. During the study period, about one-quarter of participants reported declines in higher-level functional capacity. Men in the highest quartile of animal protein had significantly lower risk of decline in higher-level functioning than those in the lowest quartile, the study found.

Protein needs may increase with age as the body’s ability to process protein declines, the study suggested.

The associations were not observed in women, and no consistent associations were seen between plant protein intake and functional decline in either sex.

The research was led by Megumi Tsubota-Utsugi of Japan’s National Institute of Health and Nutrition and colleagues at Tohoku University and Teikyo University. Results were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.