Considering the benefits of egg consumption for older people at risk of sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia is an important health issue for older people. It is closely linked with frailty and malnutrition and can significantly reduce both health and quality of life for those affected. Sarcopenic decline in muscle mass can start as early as the fourth and fifth decade of life, so the maintenance of muscle mass throughout adulthood, through regular physical activity and a balanced diet, should be an important consideration in reducing the risk of sarcopenia in older age. Maintaining regular exercise throughout older age remains key to the treatment of sarcopenia, as does an adequate intake of nutrients, including high-quality protein and vitamin D. A significant proportion of older people fail to meet the recommended requirements for protein; it has also been suggested that the requirements in existing recommendations could be higher. Evidence is emerging that an adequate intake of protein at each meal may be required to optimise muscle synthesis in older people. Eggs are an inexpensive, widely available and easily digestible source of high-quality protein and contain a significant proportion of leucine, an amino acid that is important for muscle synthesis, as well as many other nutrients of significance for older people, including vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. For many older people, eggs are a familiar and acceptable protein food at breakfast and other meals. Encouraging both those approaching older age and older people to include eggs more frequently, as part of a healthy, balanced diet and in addition to physical activity, could help them maintain their muscle strength and function, thereby preserving their functional capacity and reducing morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs associated with sarcopenia.
KEYWORDS:eggs; elderly; muscle; physical activity; protein; sarcopenia