Protein and muscle needs of elderly higher than previously thought

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The protein needs of the elderly are higher than previously thought and crucial to stimulate muscle synthesis, prompting the need for GPs to educate patients about their changing nutritional needs, and the importance of regular eating and maintaining a healthy weight.

Compared with younger adults, patients aged 65 and older also need more protein to stimulate muscle synthesis, which is key in the prevention of sacropenia, associated with the increased risk of falls, fractures and chronic disease.

However, the challenge for aged patients is to ensure adequate nutrient intake with less food since their energy requirements decrease by about 2MJ (or 500kcal) by age 75. As well as protein, requirements for vitamins B12, B6, D, calcium and