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Given our ageing population, age-related frailty represents a key public health concern and research shows that dairy protein can play a key role in supporting active ageing and keeping muscles healthy, nutrition experts explained today.

Research shows that the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength can be offset, to a certain extent, by paying close attention to our daily dietary protein intake whilst maintaining an active lifestyle.

Nutrition students from the University of Bath attended a seminar today organised by The Dairy Council addressing the topic that dairy proteins are ideal protein sources to support active and healthy ageing.

The seminar heard from Dr Benjamin Wall, a senior lecturer in exercise physiology and nutrition at The University of Exeter.

Dr Wall, said: “Current mechanistic evidence shows that dairy proteins make excellent dietary choices to support the maintenance (or gain) of muscle tissue in older people.

“Protein ingestion and exercise stimulates muscle synthesis rates which facilitates tissue reconditioning. Emerging data shows that increased dietary protein should be ingested by the older adult throughout the day in order to maximize the skeletal muscle adaptive response to physical activity and healthy ageing.”

Dairy products make significant contributions to the dietary intakes of key nutrients that support muscle health throughout life, notably calcium and protein. Dairy-sourced proteins have effective muscle-building properties and the potential means to help preserve muscle mass and function in later age. Proteins derived from dairy can stimulate muscle protein synthesis, therefore helping to preserve muscle mass as we grow older.

Erica Hocking, senior nutrition scientist with The Dairy Council added: “It is useful to know that some nutrients can help us age healthily. Recent studies show that the proteins found in dairy foods can help us maintain our muscles as we age.

“Prevention is always better than cure and with the UK’s ageing population becoming a public health concern, we need to be aware of how our diet and lifestyle can support us as we get older.”