News Release

Dietary protein associated with musculoskeletal health regardless of food source

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Hebrew SeniorLife Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research

BOSTON -- Researchers from Hebrew Senior Life's Institute for Aging Research and University of Massachusetts Lowell have discovered that adults with higher intakes of dietary protein from both animals and vegetables see greater benefits in muscle mass and strength. Results from this study were published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Using data from the Framingham Osteoporosis study, researchers found that greater dietary protein intakes are related to better muscle health in both men and women. Moreover, the observed higher muscle strength and muscle mass occurred regardless of the major food sources which provided protein -- suggesting that higher protein intake from any protein dense food source (animal or vegetable) can improve muscle health. These findings are particularly important as age-related musculoskeletal losses are a major health burden which can lead to physical disability and increased mortality.

Lead author Dr. Kelsey M. Mangano said of the study, "We know that dietary protein can improve muscle mass and strength. However, until now, we did not know if one protein food source was better than another in accomplishing optimal results. This study is significant as it suggest that higher protein intake form any food source will benefit muscle mass and strength in adults."

Mangano is an assistant professor of nutritional sciences at UMass Lowell and an adjunct faculty member at Hebrew SeniorLife's Institute for Aging Research, a Harvard Medical School affiliate.


This work was funded by: NIH's National Institute of Aging (T32-AG023480), NHLBI Framingham Heart Study (N01-HC-25195), Framingham Osteoporosis Study (NIH R01 AR041398), and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Healthy Aging Dietetics Practice Group Research Award.

About the Institute for Aging Research

Scientists at the Institute for Aging Research seek to transform the human experience of aging by conducting research that will ensure a life of health, dignity and productivity into advanced age. The Institute carries out rigorous studies that discover the mechanisms of age-related disease and disability; lead to the prevention, treatment and cure of disease; advance the standard of care for older people; and inform public decision-making. The Aging Brain Center within IFAR studies cognitive aging and conditions affecting brain health.

About Hebrew SeniorLife

Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is a national senior services leader uniquely dedicated to rethinking, researching and redefining the possibilities of aging. Founded in Boston in 1903, the nonprofit, non-sectarian organization today provides communities and health care for seniors, research into aging, and education for geriatric care providers. For more information about Hebrew SeniorLife, visit, follow us on Twitter @H_SeniorLife, like us on Facebook or read our blog.

About UMass Lowell

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 17,750 students bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.

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