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Protein isn't just for gym junkies. Aging muscles need it.
3 home truths:
  1. Your body needs protein to survive.
  2. Most don’t know how much.
  3. Few know why.

Protein promotes muscle protein synthesis and is the building block of bone, muscle, and skin.

Protein can also help both maintain, and build muscle mass, and support the production of numerous hormones and enzymes the body needs. 

Listen to the OBH podcast:  "Why you just Might need some Protein". All the Old Bull Health Podcasts.

Four key protein points

  1. Many who exercise, use protein powder but have little idea how much to use, or when to use it.
  2. The most common protein sources include red meat, chicken, and eggs, even though they don't necessarily consume these every day.
  3. Of those using protein powder supplements, few knew the difference between types of protein available, being hydrolysed, isolate, and concentrate protein.
  4. Of those who use vegan or plant-based protein powders, few knew their amino acid profiles and assumed they were similar to animal-based protein. They re not.
    All about protein needs and questions

    We know about protein powder, but on average, many don't know a lot about protein powders, what's in them, what they do, what they can do, or how much to take?

    Something the body needs, especially as it ages, and a product that some are spending $1000's of dollars a year on already. 

    We knew it was time to change the narrative around protein powder. Muscle mass needs to be retained as you get older. No exceptions. 

    Why do you need protein?

    There are many opinions out there, most of them focused on gym-going bodybuilders when it comes to protein and protein powders.

    Not that much for middle-aged or older men and women.

    Yet, we may eat less to manage weight. Less food in, less protein in. Muscle mass can start to decline. Nobody wants to hear that.

    We researched websites, spoke to experts, watched YouTube videos, and reviewed clinical trials and research. These, and our own experience are the basis for this guide.

    Should you find anything you disagree with or if would like to share a story you have about protein, we would love to hear from you. Please use our Contact Us form with the heading "PROTEIN". Where possible we have provided links to some of the research available.


    Old Bull health Protein Guide


    1. What is protein powder?

    • Macronutrients essential for building muscle mass.
    • Most common in animal products
    • Includes around 20 amino acids. Your body can create most of them, except for 9. You need to get these amino acids from other sources.
    • These 9 are known as essential amino acids.
    • Three of these essential amino acids are known as Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs and are called as such due to their structure.
    • Certain amino acids are called conditional amino acids meaning they may only be created when needed, for example, due to a health condition.

    2. Why you need protein?

    Your body needs protein to function. There are proteins in your organs, muscles, tissues, bones, skin, and hair (Assuming you still have some). 

    If you don’t get enough protein, our key concern is the loss of muscle mass. Muscle mass can mean loss of mobility and independence. Keep it as long as you can. 

    Proteins also help with antibodies to fight off infections, our mood, and sleep, keeping existing cells healthy, and helping build new cells.

    So, if you want to retain, or regain your current or former glory. Or you can feel your muscle mass is going into decline. You just might need some protein.

    Why men need protein

    3. Why do men need protein?


    Sarcopenia is a condition that results in the loss of strength and muscle mass and can begin to affect us from the age of thirty years old. Sarcopenia can also accelerate as we age, specifically for those who don't exercise, or don't do enough exercise.

    Avoiding Sarcopenia supports longer term quality of life, and can help avoid frailty later in life, but a key part of this is exercise (specifically resistance training exercises) and your nutrition quality, which includes the need for protein to retain muscle mass. 


    As we reach fifty-ish, many of us start to pick up or have already picked up some extra weight as our metabolism continues to slow. 

    This may mean eating less, and if you are partial to a beer or two, eating even less to manage your weight. If you eat less, logically your protein intake will reduce.


    The last bit of bad news is that as we age:

    Protein absorption can also be impacted negatively by diet, alcohol intake, and any reduced absorption by the splanchnic tissue in our gut.

    Once again, all of this leads to a reduced protein intake, when we just might need it the most.

    Impact of protein


    4. How much protein do you need?

    This is a great question. Your size, body composition, height, weight, gender, and how active you are, all drive how much protein you need (Specific daily intake requirement).

    What the Americans say: 

    Dietary guidelines for Americans indicate the need for 10-35% of your daily calories in the form of protein. The more active you are, the more calories you need but the percentage should stay in the same range.

    Australian RDI

    The Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council recommends a daily intake (RDI) for Australian males 19 years old plus of 0.84 g per kg body mass or 64 g per day. This is for a male weighing 75 KG. For females this is 0.75 g per kg body mass.

    Research on the topic:

    Adults over 53 years old appeared to have 25% higher requirements for muscle maintenance than younger males in research by Rand et al (2003), but this study only included 14 subjects.

    Other researchers have also suggested higher intakes (Campbell & Evans (1996) and Campbell et al (2001), and as a result the RDI was increased by 25%, but only for males 75 years plus. Over 70 years the RDI increases to 1.07g per kg body mass or 81 g per day based on the above.

    Little accurate protein RDI guidance is available for those who are active.

    So, the protein RDI can change depending on which country you live in, and whose research you are reading. Check our protein intake guide to see how much you might need and how this relates to exercise activity.

    5. Sources of Protein

    Protein Powder

    When it comes to protein powder, the local supermarket, pharmacy, sports nutrition store, or our very own Old Bull protein powder

    Old Bull Protein Powder


    Protein powders are a great source of protein, coming from either animals or plants. You can read more on the types of protein, such as the pros and cons of animal versus plant protein, and also protein types, such as concentrate versus isolate protein.

    Using a protein powder to supplement your protein intake away from mealtimes is a smart idea if your intake is low, to ensure sufficient protein is delivered not only to your entire body but also to your muscles, quickly before or after exercise.

    If you are not already using a protein powder, we recommend you consult with a medical professional first.


    A nutritious well-balanced diet will always get you a long way.

    Protein is a part of most food consumed, in fact even beer. Common foods and their protein content examples are shown below as broad guidance.

    100 g lean beef = 26 g protein
    100 g chicken breast = 32 g protein
    1 cup full cream milk = 8 g protein
    1 egg = 6 g protein
    100 g cheddar cheese = 25 g protein
    100 g brown bread = 9 g protein


    Age and lifestyle factors can impact absorption.

    Find out more about protein quantities and yes, how many beers you would need to drink to get your daily intake of protein, and why that is not a good idea.

    Man drinking protein shake



    As we age gracefully or disgracefully, we all want to retain some part of our youth, the good parts anyway.

    Staying healthy generally means exercise, ideally resistance training to maintain muscle mass, sleep, weight management, some cardio and healthy nutrition to mention a few. See how the AI Engines view this.

    Protein powders are a great way to supplement your protein intake. More on the benefits of protein powder can be found here.



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