Eat like an athlete: insights of sports nutrition science to support active aging in healthy older adults


October 2021

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Skeletal muscle mass losses with age are associated with negative health consequences, including an increased risk of developing metabolic disease and the loss of independence. Athletes adopt numerous nutritional strategies to maximize the benefits of exercise training and enhance recovery in pursuit of improving skeletal muscle quality, mass, or function. Importantly, many of the principles applied to enhance skeletal muscle health in athletes may be applicable to support active aging and prevent sarcopenia in the healthy (non-clinical) aging population. Here, we discuss the anabolic properties of protein supplementation in addition to ingredients that may enhance the anabolic effects of protein (e.g. omega 3 s, creatine, inorganic nitrate) in older persons. We conclude that nutritional strategies used in pursuit of performance enhancement in athletes are often applicable to improve skeletal muscle health in the healthy older population when implemented as part of a healthy active lifestyle. Further research is required to elucidate the mechanisms by which these nutrients may induce favourable changes in skeletal muscle and to determine the appropriate dosing and timing of nutrient intakes to support active aging.

Gerosci (2021) 43(5):2485-2495.

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