Diet and lifestyle experts met earlier this week to discuss the benefits of dairy-based proteins for ageing muscles, as part of a seminar organised by The Dairy Council, held at the University of Loughborough.

Research shows that age-related muscle and strength loss is thought to be driven by an impaired muscle building response, which in old age is somewhat inevitable.

However, experts explained that it is worsened through an inactive lifestyle and excessive body fat, and therefore dietary protein requirements to support muscle mass and function are altered.

The seminar heard from Dr Leigh Breen, a senior lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Metabolism at the University of Birmingham, whose expertise centres on understanding the regulation of muscle metabolism in health and disease.

Dr Breen said: "Age-related muscle and strength loss presents the public with a considerable socio-economic burden given the expanding ageing population.

“Nutritional support represents the prerequisite framework to protect muscle health in old age, and dairy-source proteins should be at the forefront of this for our ageing population.

“Dairy-sourced proteins possess potent muscle building properties and may represent a potential means to preserve muscle mass and function with advancing age.”

Dr Anne Mullen, director of nutrition at The Dairy Council, added: “With the UK’s ageing population, we need to be aware of how our diets can help our muscles as we get older.

“Dairy foods are nutrient-rich sources of protein. Research suggests dairy protein may have a role in mitigating loss of muscle function in older people. This is something that should receive greater attention.”