Fast digestive proteins and sarcopenia of aging

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Purpose of review

The speed of dietary protein digestion influences postprandial amino acid availability which is crucial for improving altered anabolic response of skeletal muscle one feature of sarcopenia during aging.

Recent findings

By analogy with carbohydrate and in reference to their absorption rate, dietary proteins can be classified as ‘fast’ or ‘slow’ proteins depending on matrix food structure and technological processes, which can influence amino acids availability and their subsequent metabolic actions. ‘Fast’ digestive proteins have been shown to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and to improve muscle function in several recent studies involving older patients. These new aspects may be applied for improving health through preservation or restoration of muscle protein mass and function in clinical situations (obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer cachexia).


Using fast digestive proteins is of major interest to overcome ‘anabolic resistance’ of aging for limiting sarcopenia. Fast proteins’ action on muscle anabolism may be stimulated by other nutrients like vitamin D or omega 3 fatty acids or by combination with exercise. The beneficial impact of the ‘fast’ protein concept beyond the amount of dietary protein on muscle preservation is a promising therapeutic perspective to improve mobility and quality of life of older patients affected with chronic disease.

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