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Many of us joke about the displeasure of getting older, but in reality, aging is a beautiful thing. Getting older means our healthy, able bodies continue to serve us well and carry us through life. However, getting older also means that our nutrition needs change, and meeting those needs can be challenging. Thankfully, dietary supplements are available to fill in the gaps as needed.

The current Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, protein requirements by age can vary and research has shown that older adults may need 1.2 to 2 grams per kilogram1 daily. The senior population may have a hard time getting enough protein from whole food sources, so many turn to high-quality protein powder. Protein powders are a convenient way to supplement dietary protein intake and maintain lean muscle mass. Many protein supplements can support overall health, but what is the best protein powder for seniors?

We’ve tested many protein supplements and narrowed down the list to what we at GGR consider to be the best protein powders for older adults. 

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider.

Best Protein Powder for Seniors

Best Overall Protein Powder for Seniors: Ritual Essential 50+

Good for: Older adults want to support muscle and bone health.

Best Overall

Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake 50+

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Organic pea protein powder
  • 20 g of protein per serving
  • Formulated to support adults over 50
  • Third-party tested
  • 370 mg of calcium per serving

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Soy-free, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Complete amino acid profile
  • Non-GMO
  • USA-grown peas

Cons

  • Vanilla flavor only
  • Expensive per serving

Bottom Line

Ritual’s Essential Protein Daily Shake 50+ is specifically designed with folks over 50 years old in mind with the addition of 370 milligrams of calcium per serving (to support bone density) as well as 20 grams of protein (to support muscle growth and recovery). This protein powder from Ritual is third-party tested and Informed Sport Certified, which means this formula has been screened for over 250 banned substances.

Ritual’s Essential Protein Daily Shake 50+ is designed to support muscle recovery after exercise and form lean muscle in those over 50. It’s a plant-based protein powder made with high-quality, traceable ingredients. Each serving provides 20 grams of protein, including a complete amino acid profile with 8 grams of essential amino acids and 4 grams of branched-chain amino acids.

RELATED: Plant-Based Protein Powder Benefits

Ritual Essential 50+ is made with organic pea protein from non-GMO, regeneratively-farmed peas in the United States. Essential 50+ comes in a vanilla flavor, but pea protein supplements typically have a distinctive taste. Kathleen, a woman over 50 trained by Kate Meier, CPT, USAW-L1, CF-L1, and GGR Head of Content, gave Essential 50+ a 3 out of 5 for taste.

woman-holding-ritual-protein-50

“I had to look at the package because I could not tell what I was tasting, but it wasn’t very good. It has quite an aftertaste, too—and I don’t know what exactly it is. I have trouble articulating what I taste. I tried it first with cold water, then to make it more palatable, I tried it with juice (pineapple, lemon, and cranberry), which I sometimes will use with a vanilla or unflavored protein. That made it better, but the aftertaste was still there. I Tried it with cold brew coffee and a little chocolate milk—-still mixed up so nicely. But still couldn’t lose that odd taste/after taste.”

As far as solubility goes, Kathleen finds that it mixes easily without clumps. When asked if she would purchase Essential 50+, she said, “Only if there is some compelling research that shows me it has something awesome that I can’t get from other proteins and that I am in need of. Then I can drink it with other stuff to disguise the flavor and put up with the aftertaste.”

ritual-protein-50+-on-counter

Ritual’s evidence-based ingredient list sets it apart from many other protein powders. Each serving of Essential 50+ provides 1.5 grams of calcium beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl butyrate or calcium HMB. Research has shown2  that calcium HMB can support muscle strength and physical functionality in older adults.Additionally, Ritual’s products are tested by a third party, ensuring product quality and safety.

Protein per serving 20g
Flavors Vanilla
Third-party tested? Yes
Price per serving $2.67

Best Whey Protein for Seniors: Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: Seniors who want to gain lean muscle. 

Best Whey Protein

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • High-quality whey protein isolate
  • 28 grams of protein per serving
  • 8 flavors to choose from
  • $1.99 per serving

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High-quality protein
  • No artificial sweeteners, food dyes, or preservatives
  • Lots of flavors to choose from
  • Good customer reviews
  • Whey isolate may be easier to digest for some people

Cons

  • Price per serving on the high end

Bottom Line

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is a clean, high-quality protein powder that contains 28 grams of protein per serving.

Transparent Labs is a notable sports nutrition company offering a wide variety of products, including its Whey Protein Isolate. Made with 100% grass-fed whey, this protein powder provides 28 grams of protein per serving. We consider it the best whey protein for seniors, holding one of the industry’s highest protein-by-weight ratios at 82% protein.

Whey Protein is often used to encourage weight gain. Transparent Labs’ Whey Protein Isolate is designed to support muscle growth and overall health. It’s made from naturally fed, hormone-free whey and contains no artificial sweeteners, food dyes, preservatives, or gluten. GGR’s Anthony O’Reilly, CPT, CNC, put the whey protein powder to the test and gave it 5 out of 5 for its effects, calling it a “great midday snack or post-workout recovery drink.” He went on to say, “I always feel full for a bit after drinking this with no stomach issues.”

RELATED: Best Protein Powder for Sensitive Stomachs

transparent labs whey isolate being scooped

Anthony also gave the protein supplement a 5 out of 5 for taste and solubility. There are a variety of flavors available, but he tried the Peppermint Hot Chocolate. “It’s exactly that—all you need is some whipped cream and marshmallows to complete the scene. Other delicious flavor options include Strawberry Milkshake, Vanilla Peanut Butter, Mocha, and Blueberry Pancakes.

Importantly, Transparent Labs products undergo third-party testing to ensure their quality and safety. The Whey Protein Isolate is Informed Choice-certified, meaning they are tested for unsafe contaminants. The powder can be taken independently or stacked with other Transparent Labs products. 

If you’re interested in trying this product, or any Transparent Labs product, read our full Transparent Labs Protein Review, then visit our Transparent Labs Discount Code page for their latest offers.

Protein per serving 28g
Flavors French Vanilla, Milk Chocolate, Vanilla Oatmeal Cookie, Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie, Unflavored, Strawberry Milkshake, Vanilla Peanut Butter, Mocha, Blueberry Pancakes, Cinnamon French Toast
Third-party tested? Yes
Price per serving $1.99

Best-Tasting Protein Powder Without Milk for Seniors: Isopure Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: Seniors who are lactose intolerant.

Best-Tasting without Milk

Isopure Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 100% unflavored whey protein isolate
  • 25 g of protein
  • Zero carbohydrates and fats
  • Sugar-free and lactose-free
  • Available in 16 servings or 47 servings

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Pure whey isolate
  • Sugar-free
  • Lactose-free

Cons

  • Only unflavored available
  • Reviews report odd taste especially when mixed in water

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a pure whey protein isolate, a great option is Isopure Unflavored Whey Protein Isolate. This isolate is 100% whey with no carbohydrates and fats, making it sugar-free and lactose-free. This protein powder is available in 16 servings or 47 servings.

Milk is a common liquid base for protein shakes. Milk adds flavor and a creamy texture to your supplement shake—not to mention a few extra grams of protein. But not everyone likes or can tolerate milk. So we hunted down the best-tasting protein powder without milk and found Isopure’s Whey Protein Isolate.

RELATED: Best Lactose-Free Protein Powder

GGR’s social media manager, Brittany Combs, tested the protein powder and gave it a 4.175 out of 5. Its taste and solubility scores were significant factors in the favorable score—Brittany gave the Isopure Whey Protein Isolate a 5 out of 5 for both.

“This is actually REALLY good! I have added this to several different foods, and while the texture may have been altered slightly, I never really notice a change in flavor, which is great! It also dissolves really well.”

isopure-protein-whey-unflavored-bag-and-scoop

Plus, Isopure Whey Protein Isolate is an unflavored protein powder, making it a versatile supplement. You don’t need milk to make it palatable. It can be added to baked goods, soups, and much more.

Brittany echoes this, saying, “This is a really good unflavored protein powder! My husband and I constantly tease each other about whether or not soup is a meal or just an appetizer or size. I always say if it’s got protein in it it’s a meal haha so I add this to our soups and you can’t even tell! My other favorite thing to put this in is my kids’ pancakes. They cannot tell there is any difference, and I feel better feeding them something that isn’t just straight carbs/sugar.”

The whey protein supplement is lactose and sugar-free, providing 25 grams of protein and zero carbohydrates per serving. It can be consumed at breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack between meals.

You can order Isopure Whey Protein Isolate in tubs of 16 and 47 servings, with increased savings when buying in bulk. Unfortunately, third-party testing is not mentioned on the company’s website.

For more, check out our in-depth Isopure Protein review.

Protein per serving 25g
Flavors Unflavored, Chocolate, Vanilla
Third-party tested? No
Price per serving $2.12 or $1.70, depending on quantity 

Best Protein Powder for Seniors to Build Muscle: Ladder Whey Protein

Good for: Seniors who want to maximize their training. 

Best for Muscle-Building

Ladder Whey Protein Powder

GGR Score: 4.13 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

Ladder Whey Protein is a high-quality, 100% whey protein recovery shake containing 26 grams of protein, including essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids. In addition, 480 milligrams of tart cherry is found in this protein powder, which is intended to reduce post-workout muscle soreness.Available in chocolate and vanilla flavor, this protein can be purchased in bags containing four, 15, 30, or 45 servings per bag. You can choose to purchase a bag with a scoop or, for added convenience, on-the-go packets.Buyers appreciate the ease of bringing these packets with them to the gym and report solid mixability. With an average of 4.5-star rating at the time of publishing, many reviewers stated the taste is great. However, there are reports that the newest formula does not taste as good as previous ones. Ladder Whey Protein does contain stevia which may cause digestive issues for some people.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Mixes well
  • Original formula reportedly good tasting
  • Convenient packets
  • Free shipping
  • Low carb and fat count

Cons

  • Reports that newer formula does not taste good
  • Contains stevia
  • Shipping may be delayed

Bottom Line

Ladder Whey Protein contains 26 grams of protein per serving and 280 milligrams of tart cherry formulated to speed up muscular repair and prevent soreness.

Founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lebron James, you’d expect Ladder’s sports nutrition supplements to be at the top of the game—and in our opinion, they’re pretty close! Lauren Strong, GGR staff writer, gave Ladder Whey Protein a 4.13 out of 5, speaking highly of its taste and solubility.

Ladder’s Whey Protein provides the building blocks necessary for muscle building and recovery. Each serving contains 26 grams of protein, including 7 grams of BCAAs and 14 grams of EAA. Each serving contains 480 milligrams of tart cherry, which can help reduce muscle soreness3 after a workout.

RELATED: Protein After a Workout

The whey protein powder is available in chocolate and vanilla flavors and is free from artificial flavors, sweeteners, and colors. Lauren tried the chocolate and gave it a 5 out of 5 for taste:

“I tested chocolate and this has to be one of my top three protein powders I’ve ever tasted. If you’ve read testing notes from me, I usually complain that protein shakes/powders are too sweet for my preference. This stuff is BOMB. It has a dark chocolate flavor (think cocoa powder, not milk chocolate flavor). It’s also formulated with tart cherry (powder, extract—not sure about how Ladder gets the tart cherry in there) which may also alter the flavor to my liking. Oddly enough some of the reviews on Amazon say it’s too sweet.”

Lauren went on to give Ladder Whey Protein a 4.5 out of 5 for solubility. “This needs a good shaking! It can clump under the lid quite a bit. If that happens, I’ll either shake the shaker cup again like my life depends on it or unscrew the lid and give it a quick rinse.”

You can purchase the protein powder in boxes of 15 single-serve pouches or scoop-able containers with 30 servings each. You’ll pay a little extra per serving for the added convenience of the single-serve pouches. Either way, the product is tested by a third party for quality and safety.

Protein per serving 26g
Flavors Chocolate, Vanilla
Third-party tested? Yes
Price per serving $2.66 or $1.99, depending on quantity

Best Budget Protein Powder for Seniors: Ensure

Good for: Seniors who want to prevent loss of muscle mass on a budget.

Best Budget

Ensure Powder

GGR Score: 2.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Available in chocolate and vanilla
  • Contains 32 nutrients
  • Claims to be balanced nutrition for supplemental use with or between meals
  • Serving size of 57 g

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 32 nutrients
  • 100% of RDA of essential nutrients
  • Reviews say flavor is good

Cons

  • Protein content is low per serving
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

One of the most popular meal replacement shakes on the market, Ensure comes in two flavors: chocolate and vanilla. The powder comes packed with 32 nutrients. Although the meal replacement is marketed as being high in protein, the total protein per serving is 9 grams, which seems low to us.

Ensure Nutrition Powder earned an overall score of 2.6 out of 5 from our testers, but for the money, it’s a viable option for older adults who want to prevent sarcopenia (the loss of muscle). Ensure products are less protein-dense than other supplements on our list but are the most budget-friendly. Ensure Nutrition Powder provides 9 grams of protein and costs around $1.42 per serving, depending on current promos.

Ensure oral nutrition supplements are often recommended by healthcare professionals as they contain more than 25 vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in addition to their macronutrients. Lauren Strong, CPT and GGR staff writer, tested the Ensure protein powder and gave its formula a 1 out of 5, as it doesn’t contain a significant amount of protein for the calories.

ensure-protein-powder-scoop

Each serving of Ensure Nutrition Powder contains 34 grams of carbs and 9 grams of fat. These might be welcomed macronutrients for older adults with a decreased appetite, but the other nutrients might deter those who need to prioritize protein consumption.

Lauren gave Ensure’s flavor a 2 out of 5, and didn’t hold back on her commentary:

“This is not good and tastes so fake it’s uncomfortable. It’s almost like dried coffee creamer but with a vanilla flavor.”

Its solubility fared better with a 3.5 out of 5. “Not the worst I’ve seen, but certainly a few floaters. The scoop is super tiny though, so there’s not much to mix around.”

Protein per serving 9g
Flavors Vanilla
Third-party tested? No
Price per serving $1.41

Best Protein Powder for Seniors for Baking: Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: Older adults who need to eat more protein and have difficulty chewing meats. 

Best for Baking

Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4.26 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Grass-fed whey protein isolate
  • Between 20 g and 28 g of protein, depending on flavor
  • Available in Unflavored, Chocolate, Coffee, and Vanilla
  • Keto-friendly
  • Non-GMO and gluten-free

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-free
  • Keto-friendly
  • Grass-fed whey

Cons

  • Can be pricey
  • Some report the vanilla flavor is bland
  • Not for vegan diets

Bottom Line

Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is a whey protein derived from grass-fed, hormone-free cows raised in New Zealand. This whey isolate is low in carbs and fats, with some carbohydrates added in the flavored powders. Depending on the flavor you get, you’ll get between 20 and 28 grams of protein each serving.

Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate can help older adults meet their daily protein requirements non-conventionally. Those who don’t care for high-protein drinks may need to increase the protein content of their snacks and meals. While meat is an excellent source of protein, some seniors may experience difficulty chewing and may need to consume softer foods. Enter baked goods.

RELATED: Protein Snack Ideas

We found that Opportuniteas was the best protein powder for baking. Christina, a nurse practitioner and member of GGR head of content Kate Meier’s weightlifting team, put Opportuniteas to the test and gave it an overall score of 4.26 out of 5. Christina used all 15 servings, preparing them with water, ice, and one fruit—sometimes with half of a banana and sometimes with strawberries and almond milk.

opportuniteas-protein-in-gym

The whey protein powder scores 4 out of 5 for taste. Christina shares, “I tried the vanilla, which was okay mixed with water, but it was great with fruit. Next time I buy this, I’m going to get the coffee flavor!”

She gave it a perfect 5 out of 5 for solubility, adding, “I felt it was most soluble in the Vitamix with water and ice or almond milk and ice using Vitamix. I felt it was good also with yogurt, oatmeal, chai seeds and fruit with ice and water when I set the Vitamix to a slightly thicker setting as a smoothie bowl.”

In addition to its impeccable taste and versatile use, each serving of Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate provides 28 grams of protein. The gluten-free formula is protein-rich, supporting muscle-building, weight-loss efforts, and other health benefits.

RELATED: Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss

Protein per serving 28g
Flavors Vanilla, Chocolate, Unflavored
Third-party tested? No
Price per serving $1.99, $1.70, or $1.46 depending on quantity 

Best Protein Powder for Seniors for Digestion: Sascha Fitness Hydrolyzed Whey Protein

Good for: Seniors with sensitive gastrointestinal systems. 

Best for Digestion

Sascha Fitness Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Hydrolyzed whey protein isolate to help with absorption
  • 25 g of protein per serving
  • Available in 4 flavors
  • Gluten-free
  • Zero carbs, sugar, and fat

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 25 g of protein
  • Gluten-free
  • 4 flavors available
  • No carbs, sugars, or fat

Cons

  • Some reviews complain that flavor is too sweet
  • Not vegan-friendly

Bottom Line

Sascha Fitness Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate is a protein powder that has been hydrolyzed to allow for easier absorption; plus, there are digestive enzymes added to help with digestion, too. This is also a whey protein isolate, meaning that this is above 90% protein. This protein comes in four flavors, and contains no sugars or fats, but 25 grams of protein per serving.

As we age, our digestive capabilities change4, putting us at risk for malnutrition and other health concerns. Protein powders can help prevent or slow down the decline of one’s nutrition status, but not all nutrition supplements are easy on the gut. Hydrolyzed proteins, like Sascha Fitness Hydrolyzed Whey Protein, are easier to digest because they’ve already been broken down.

Sascha Fitness came out on top in our search for the best protein powder for digestion. Kate Meier, CPT, USAW-L1, CF-L1, and GGR head of content, and Jacob Penner, member of the GGR expert panel and USAW weightlifting coach, used this protein powder for a few weeks. It earned an overall score of 4.4 out of 5, with high marks for taste and solubility. Both Kate and Jacob state they would buy the product again.

They gave Sascha Fitness Hydrolyzed Whey Protein a 5 out of 5 for both taste and solubility. Sascha Fitness offers their whey protein in eight flavors—Kate and Jacob tried cookies and cream and found it easy to mix in a shaker bottle.

“Jacob and I both love the taste, especially if you mix it with a milk or milk product. It’s even good mixed with water—it is somehow still creamy even with water.”

Jacob occasionally experiences issues with digesting protein, but that was not the case with Sascha Fitness Hydrolyzed Whey. The duo of testers gave the protein powder a 5 out of 5 for its limited side effects.

Each serving provides 25 grams of protein per serving with added digestive enzymes to help alleviate GI symptoms, such as bloating, constipation, and gas. The protein powder is free from artificial sweeteners, sweetened instead with Stevia.

RELATED: Does Protein Powder Really Give You Protein Farts?

Protein per serving 25g
Flavors Vanilla, Chocolate, Unflavored, Strawberry, Coconut, Cookies and Cream, Peanut Butter, Caramel 
Third-party tested? Yes
Price per serving $1.55

Best On-the-Go Protein Shake for Seniors: Muscle Milk Zero

Good for: Seniors with a busy schedule.

Best On-the-Go Shake

Muscle Milk Zero Protein Shake

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Zero-sugar protein shake
  • Contains 20 g of protein
  • 100 calories per shake
  • Good source of calcium and Vitamins A, C, and D
  • Available in Chocolate and Vanilla

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Zero sugars
  • 20 g of protein
  • NSF Certified for Sport
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Only 2 flavors
  • Uses artificial sweeteners

Bottom Line

Muscle Milk Zero is the sugar-free version of the popular protein shake brand. One shake contains 20 grams of protein, no sugar, and 100 calories. Muscle Milk products are NSF Certified for Sport, meaning athletes can drink these worry-free. The shakes only come in two flavors, though: chocolate and vanilla.

Physical inactivity and social isolation have been linked to an increased risk of chronic medical illnesses5 in older adults. Physical activity and social connection are essential to healthy aging, which means more seniors are on the move! Busy schedules can make meeting your daily protein needs even more challenging. In the search for the best protein sources to take on the go, we found Muscle Milk Zero.

Christina, a nurse practitioner and member of Kate Meier’s (CPT, USAW-L1, CF-L1) weightlifting team, tried Muscle Milk Zero three to four times weekly for about three weeks. She tested it every which way—mixed with water, plain Greek yogurt, overnight oats, and smoothies with almond milk and frozen fruit. It earned an over score of 4.2 out of 5.

RELATED: How Much Protein is in Oatmeal?

person-drinking-muscle-milk-zero

Christina appreciated the taste but found that the formula lacked, hence its formulation score of 2.5 out of 5. “I would definitely use it again; it mixes well and is tasty. However, I don’t love that it’s just 15 grams of protein per 2 scoops, so it wouldn’t be my first choice for a post-workout shake. Instead, this is something I would personally just use to boost protein intake.”

Its taste scored much better, with Christina assigning it a 4.5 out of 5. “I tried the vanilla flavor. It’s a nice vanilla flavor, quite sweet. I wouldn’t mind it being a little less sweet, actually, which is why I took .5 off the score. There is a hint of an artificial sweetener taste, which I would expect from any zero-sugar product, but I didn’t detect any aftertaste.”

Muscle Milk Zero is slightly more expensive than other protein supplements on the market, but it is conveniently packaged and ready to take on the go. Each bottle provides 20 grams of animal-based protein and zero added sugar. It also contains 4 grams of fiber per serving and is a good source of calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D. 

Protein per serving 20g
Flavors Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry Banana
Third-party tested? Yes
Price per serving $2.20

How Much Protein Do Older People Need?

Protein is found in every cell within the human body and plays a critical role in many biological systems at every stage of life. However, as we age, our nutrition needs change. As we get older, our protein needs typically increase.

The current RDA for protein is 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight, but research1 continues to stress that the recommendation may fall short of actual needs. Science has shown that to support overall health and prevent the loss of muscle mass in seniors, protein requirements may be upwards of 1.2 to 2 grams per kg daily.1

Of course, nutrition needs are individualized based on various factors, such as age, activity level, and medical history. A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) can help you navigate the science and determine your macronutrient needs as they relate to your health goals.

Ladder-Protein-Scoop-Top-Angle

When Should Seniors Take Protein Supplements?

Most older adults use protein powders or other supplements to bridge the gap between their intake and their needs. Recommendations will vary between individuals, but recent research has indicated6 that twice-daily protein supplements may support overall health and retain muscle function.

Some seniors may prefer to consume their protein supplements with meals, while others may choose to take them between meals. Since protein powders and shakes are designed to supplement inadequate protein intake, optimal timing may vary. Your doctor and registered dietitian can offer personalized guidance regarding the timing of your supplements.

RELATED: Best Time to Drink a Protein Shake

Benefits of Protein Powder for Seniors 

Protein powders offer a slew of benefits for the young and old alike! Protein supplements have been shown to support healthy body composition and reduce the risk of developing chronic medical concerns.

Maintains Muscle Mass

Protein supplements can help older adults consume the amino acids needed to support lean muscle mass. Branched-chain amino acids are especially important for muscle protein synthesis. Research6 has shown that animal proteins, like milk protein, are more substantial in stimulating muscle protein synthesis than plant proteins. However, vegan protein sources still benefit those who don’t consume animal products.

RELATED: Best Vegan Protein Powder

Helps With Bone Density 

Research published by Osteoporosis International7 has shown a link between protein consumption and bone health. In older adults with osteoporosis and adequate calcium intake, protein intake above the current RDA was associated with higher bone mineral density, a slower rate of bone loss, and a reduced risk of hip fractures.

How does protein affect bone density? Protein can help increase intestinal calcium absorption while decreasing bone resorption8 at the cellular level. Plus, protein’s role in maintaining healthy skeletal muscle is directly related to bone health.

isopure-protein-whey-unflavored-powder-open-bag

May Help Treat Anabolic Resistance 

Anabolic resistance is best defined as a blunted stimulation of muscle protein synthesis, ultimately leading to muscle mass loss and decreased physical performance. Protein supplements that help older adults consume more than the RDA may help reverse the resistance9 to anabolic stimuli.

Supports Healthy Body Weight 

Research continues to point to a link between protein and weight management10. While high-protein diets aren’t a fit for everyone, increased protein consumption may help support weight loss efforts and a healthy body composition.

RELATED: High-Protein Diet Side Effects

Protein can support a healthy body weight through various mechanisms. For one, it increases the satiety hormone, helping you feel fuller for longer. It also increases the thermic effect of food. One 2014 study11 found that individuals whose diets consisted of 10% or 25% casein protein experienced increased energy expenditure.

Supports Immune System Health

Protein is essential to a well-functioning immune system12, with decreased protein intake causing detrimental effects on immunity. Protein is critical for the optimal production of antibodies—low protein intake increases the risk of infection. Protein also plays a role in triggering the cascade of signaling needed at the onset of an inflammatory response.

Easy to Use

As we get older, normal day-to-day activities may become more complex. Protein supplements are a convenient way to get enough protein without exerting effort in the kitchen. Protein powder can be mixed with pre-packaged beverages or added to various recipes. All it takes is a scoop!

RELATED: DIY Protein Shake

How to Find the Best Protein Powder for Seniors 

There are many types of protein powder, each offering unique and beneficial health properties. It may feel overwhelming to navigate the sea of options, so consider these factors when looking for the best protein powder for your needs:

Protein Content 

If you plan to use protein powder to increase your protein intake, its macronutrient content is a significant consideration. Look for protein amounts that will help you meet your daily needs without overdoing it on the calories. A registered dietitian can help you break down your protein needs and find a supplement that fits within those needs.

RELATED: How Much Protein Do I Need?

Minimal Ingredients 

When it comes to the right protein powder, simple is best. Look for protein powders with minimal ingredients to reduce the risk of side effects or excess calories. Plus, fewer ingredients help to keep the cost low!

muscle-milk-zero-label

Sweeteners 

If possible, try to avoid artificial sweeteners as they may cause GI distress. Protein powders have been known to cause bloating on occasion. By eliminating artificial sweeteners, you can encourage tolerance.

RELATED: Best Clean Protein Powder

Easy to Digest 

Protein powders have a reputation for being difficult to digest. Unfortunately, our digestive capabilities change as we age, and certain foods are intolerable. To be proactive with your protein supplements, look for powders that are easy to digest. Hydrolyzed proteins are best known for their gastrointestinal ease.

Price

Budget can be a huge factor in finding the ideal protein powder. You’ll notice a significant price range with so many products on the market. Consider the amount of protein per serving and compare it to the price per serving.

Taste 

Finding a product with a taste you like might take some trial and error. Artificial sweeteners typically leave a funky aftertaste. Consider trying supplements that use natural sweeteners, or that can mix with flavored beverages.

RELATED: Best-Tasting Protein Powder

Other Protein Powders for Seniors We Researched

When we compiled this list, we tried to consider all the factors that go into choosing the perfect protein powder. However, we know that no list is genuinely comprehensive. There are a couple of protein powders that we liked that just didn’t make the cut.

  • Orgain Organic Plant Protein Powder: This protein powder provides 21 grams of protein per serving and 4 grams of prebiotics. It is made with pea and brown rice protein, but it requires two scoops per serving. Read our full Orgain Protein Powder review.
  • Cocoa Muscles Grandparent’s Protein: This protein powder is designed with older adults in mind. However, it only contains 12 grams of protein per serving and doesn’t seem to be in stock currently.

How We Picked and Tested the Best Protein Powder for Seniors

You know we don’t speak on products unless we’ve put them through the wringer. We’ve tested dozens of protein powders, examining them from our personal and professional perspectives. We’re coaches, registered dietitians, certified personal trainers, and athletes, and in our search for the best protein powders for seniors, we assessed their formula, taste, solubility, cost, and evidence-based research.

We considered their effects on the older population, whose needs are specific to their age. And because many of our testers fall into the surrounding age bracket, we had a special interest in compiling this list!

Best Protein Powder for Seniors: FAQs

What is the best protein for a 60 year old?

Getting your nutrition through whole food sources at any age is best. Protein from meats, legumes, dairy, and whole grains is readily absorbed in the body. However, protein powders can help supplement intake as needed. Hydrolyzed proteins are easily digested. 

RELATED: High-Protein Foods

What is the best nutritional supplement for seniors?

The best nutritional supplement will vary between seniors. The best supplement is one that you can consume consistently. Look for a protein supplement that prioritizes its protein content over carbs, and choose a flavor you like. 

What is the best drink for older people?

Sometimes, consuming large amounts of liquid can feel overwhelming for older adults. The best protein drink for older people is one that is nutrient-dense. Look for small portions containing adequate protein, like 20 grams per serving, to ensure you meet your protein needs.

What is the best protein for elderly people to gain weight?

Whey protein supplements are often used in efforts to gain weight. If you have concerns about being underweight, consider meeting with your registered dietitian to design a meal and supplement plan that best addresses your goals. 

RELATED: Best Whey Protein

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

References

  1. Baum JI, Kim IY, Wolfe RR. Protein Consumption and the Elderly: What Is the Optimal Level of Intake?. Nutrients. 2016;8(6):359. Published 2016 Jun 8. doi:10.3390/nu8060359
  2. Rathmacher JA, Pitchford LM, Khoo P, et al. Long-term Effects of Calcium β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate and Vitamin D3 Supplementation on Muscular Function in Older Adults With and Without Resistance Training: A Randomized, Double-blind, Controlled Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020;75(11):2089-2097. doi:10.1093/gerona/glaa218
  3. Hill JA, Keane KM, Quinlan R, Howatson G. Tart Cherry Supplementation and Recovery From Strenuous Exercise: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2021;31(2):154-167. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2020-0145
  4. Soenen S, Rayner CK, Jones KL, Horowitz M. The ageing gastrointestinal tract. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2016;19(1):12-18. doi:10.1097/MCO.0000000000000238
  5. Tcymbal A, Abu-Omar K, Hartung V, et al. Interventions simultaneously promoting social participation and physical activity in community living older adults: A systematic review. Front Public Health. 2022;10:1048496. Published 2022 Dec 7. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2022.1048496
  6. Chapman I, Oberoi A, Giezenaar C, Soenen S. Rational Use of Protein Supplements in the Elderly-Relevance of Gastrointestinal Mechanisms. Nutrients. 2021;13(4):1227. Published 2021 Apr 8. doi:10.3390/nu13041227
  7. Rizzoli R, Biver E, Bonjour JP, et al. Benefits and safety of dietary protein for bone health-an expert consensus paper endorsed by the European Society for Clinical and Economical Aspects of Osteopororosis, Osteoarthritis, and Musculoskeletal Diseases and by the International Osteoporosis Foundation. Osteoporos Int. 2018;29(9):1933-1948. doi:10.1007/s00198-018-4534-5
  8. Mangano KM, Sahni S, Kerstetter JE. Dietary protein is beneficial to bone health under conditions of adequate calcium intake: an update on clinical research. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2014;17(1):69-74. doi:10.1097/MCO.0000000000000013
  9. Paulussen KJM, McKenna CF, Beals JW, Wilund KR, Salvador AF, Burd NA. Anabolic Resistance of Muscle Protein Turnover Comes in Various Shapes and Sizes. Front Nutr. 2021;8:615849. Published 2021 May 5. doi:10.3389/fnut.2021.615849
  10. Hansen TT, Astrup A, Sjödin A. Are Dietary Proteins the Key to Successful Body Weight Management? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Studies Assessing Body Weight Outcomes after Interventions with Increased Dietary Protein. Nutrients. 2021;13(9):3193. Published 2021 Sep 14. doi:10.3390/nu13093193
  11. Pesta DH, Samuel VT. A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2014;11(1):53. Published 2014 Nov 19. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-11-53
  12. Iddir M, Brito A, Dingeo G, et al. Strengthening the Immune System and Reducing Inflammation and Oxidative Stress through Diet and Nutrition: Considerations during the COVID-19 Crisis.Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1562. Published 2020 May 27. doi:10.3390/nu12061562

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