A study by McMaster University suggests whey protein as more effective for those trying to rebuild the muscle lost due to inactivity due to illness or long-term hospital stay.
The study was published in the journal The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and compared the effect of two different forms of protein supplementation in the elderly, a population that has increased muscle and strength loss or sarcopenia, which can affect the balance and the ability to perform simple tasks of everyday life.
“The important message here is that not all proteins are the same. Whey is one of the high-quality protein and is ideal for the elderly, “said Stuart Phillips, head of the study and professor of kinesiology at McMaster University.
The researchers compared the effect of whey on collagen protein on muscle loss during periods of inactivity and then recovery. Whey is considered to be high quality or full protein, meaning it is rich in all the essential amino acids. It also has more leucine. Collagen peptides contain less leucine and have low levels of essential amino acids or even lack.
For the study, the researchers included men and women who were non-diabetic, non-diabetic and aged between 65 and 80 years. One group of people consumed whey protein and another collagen peptide over five weeks. During this time, the participants’ diet was tested, including a two-week time frame where their movement was limited to 750 steps a day and calorie intake at 500 daily conditions similar to those of a hospital stay. Participants returned to normal levels of activity during a seven-day recovery period.
Both the whey protein group and the collagen peptide group initially lost the same amount of muscle. But when the participants returned to normal muscle activity, the whey group recovered more skeletal muscles.