7 Best Protein Powders for Seniors & Elderly (2024 Updated)

Supplements Considered 33
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Hours of Research 193
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Reviews Examined 88
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Interviewed
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 22, 2023
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

I recently assisted a client's father in his early 70s at the gym to help improve his mobility and muscle mass.

But when it came to recommending the best protein powder for him, I had to step back and reach out to my dietitian.

From my experience, I've observed that older people's nutritional needs differ significantly, especially when it comes to exercise. What's effective for younger individuals might not align with the dietary requirements of seniors.

My dietitian and I conducted 193 hours of research to identify suitable whey protein products for seniors.

The Best Protein Powders for Seniors

Editor's Choice
Transparent Labs 100_ Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Transparent Labs
Effectiveness
5.0
Taste
5.0
Ingredients
5.0
Price
5.0
Overall Score 5.0
5.0
Click For Best Price
2nd Best Choice
Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake 50+
Ritual Essential
Effectiveness
5.0
Taste
5.0
Ingredients
5.0
Price
4.9
Overall Score 5.0
5.0
Click For Best Price
3rd Best Choice
Ladder Whey Protein
Ladder
Protein per Serving
26g
Taste
4.5
Ingredients
4.5
Price
4.5
Overall Score 4.5
4.5
Click For Best Price

Our Top Protein Powders for Seniors (February 2024)

1 - Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein (Best-Overall)

Transparent Labs 100_ Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
5.0
Effectiveness
5.0
Taste
5.0
Ingredients
5.0
Price
Overall Score 5.0
Click For Best Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Highest protein content at 28g per serving to combat sarcopenia
  • Contains no artificial additives to preserve the gut health of elderly
  • Low-carb and fat option to favor power over fats
  • Sourced from grass-fed cows for higher protein quality and digestibility to counteract declining absorption rates with age

Cons

  • Not available as an unflavored option
  • Calories : 120
  • Protein : 28g
  • Carbs : 2g
  • Fat : 0g

Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate stands proudly at the top of our list of protein powders for seniors. What attracts a lot of people to this company and its products is its focus on being transparent about all the contents on the label.

For older adults, the focus point is the boost in protein from grass-fed cows that may provide enough protein to help build up body strength and skeletal muscles.

What sets this protein shake apart, and something I appreciate, is its natural sweetness derived from stevia, eliminating the need for artificial sweeteners. Additionally, its lean composition stands out among many other market offerings.

It has made a big difference during and after my clients' workouts. They've had more energy, and been able to lift heavier weights, and their recovery has improved after using it for three weeks.

The only downside I would mention is that you can’t get this protein shake as an unflavored option to mix with food products.

Quick Facts: 

Get 10% off using coupon code:  TOTALSHAPE

2 - Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake 50+ (Cheapest & Vegan-Friendly)

Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake 50+
5.0
Effectiveness
5.0
Taste
5.0
Ingredients
4.9
Price
Overall Score 5.0
Click For Best Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Contains high levels of calcium HMB
  • Supports brain, bone, and muscle healthcare
  • Complete amino acid profile alongside macronutrient and vitamin content

Cons

  • Only comes in a vanilla flavor
  • Calories : 120
  • Protein : 20g
  • Carbs : 5g
  • Fat : 2g

Ritual has long been in the game of offering different supplements for every stage of life, including the golden years, and the Essential Protein Daily Shake 50+ is one that certainly impresses many consumers.

This protein shake is designed to deliver key nutrients that help support the nutritional needs of individuals over the age of 50.

It contains high levels of calcium HMB for bone and lean mass maintenance, brain-boosting choline, and organic pea protein for improved muscle building and growth [1,2,3]. Each serving also provides a complete amino acid profile.

This informed-sport certified shake has a clean and transparent vegan-friendly formula free of sugar, soy, gluten, and artificial components.

My clients didn't encounter any problems with digestion while using this product. More importantly, they noticed a decrease in fatigue and muscle soreness.

Quick Facts: 

3 - Ladder Whey Protein (Best Tasting & Best for Lactose Intolerance)

Ladder Whey Protein
Protein per Serving
26g
4.5
Taste
4.5
Ingredients
4.5
Price
Overall Score 4.5
Click For Best Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Soy-free milk protein
  • NSF certified
  • Contains Extra vitamins and probiotics
  • Ingredients are all-natural

Cons

  • Contains sugar - may not be good if you’re cutting on carbohydrates
  • Calories : 130
  • Protein : 26g
  • Carbs : 6g
  • Fat : 1g

The Whey Protein by Ladder is another protein powder that I would wholeheartedly recommend for seniors seeking quality and nutritional value.

This soy-free protein powder contains the optimal amount of essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids that the body needs to fully repair.

It also provides a minimum of 90% pure absorbable and digestible protein and only less than 1% lactose, which makes Ladder a good choice for people with lactose intolerance or milk allergy.

It also contains a combination of milk protein to give you a mix of fast and slow proteins for digestion. Probiotics help too with amino acid absorption [4].

I began noticing improvement in my clients' recovery upon using this product. The all-natural ingredients provide a refreshing and energizing sensation, creating the perfect feeling after a workout.

Quick Facts: 

The best part about thes protein shakes is that it comes in different flavors for those who are picky regarding tastes.

4 - Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey Isolate (Best Isolate)

Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
5.0
Effectiveness
4.5
Taste
4.5
Ingredients
4.5
Price
Overall Score 4.6
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 27 g of whey protein each serving
  • Low in carbs, sugar, and cholesterol for healthier protein consumption
  • Positive reports that it mixes easily with no aftertaste
  • Uses milk from Wisconsin grass-fed cows for higher quality

Cons

  • Currently not available in flavored options
  • Calories : 114
  • Protein : 27g
  • Carbs : 8g
  • Fat : 1g

Another grass-fed protein powder that my dietitian recommended for its exceptional quality is Opportuniteas.

These protein shakes may be a healthy choice to make due to the fact that it’s low in carbs and cholesterol, which may also help older adults to lose some bodyweight.

One of my clients purchased the coffee-flavored option, and it provided them with a boost after their workout and also kept them feeling full, leading to better sleep. The sweetness was just right, and it was gentle on the stomach.

Quick Facts: 

5 - Ensure Original Nutrition Protein Powder

Ensure Original Nutrition Protein Powder
5.0
Effectiveness
4.5
Taste
4.4
Ingredients
4.3
Price
Overall Score 4.6
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 8 grams of protein for every serving
  • Contains a broad range of minerals and vitamins
  • Claims to mix easily with water or milk
  • Many positive reviews on the vanilla flavors

Cons

  • A little high in sugar which may impact blood glucose levels
  • Calories : 250
  • Protein : 9g
  • Carbs : 34g
  • Fat : 9g

For some seniors, the high doses of regular exercise and nutrition supplements may be a bit high.

This is where Ensure may fill a need by providing 8 grams for every serving.

The reason many people choose it, though, is down to the long list of important vitamins and minerals on the content label.

Experimenting with this protein powder proved highly beneficial in increasing my clients' strength and energy levels, and they experienced minimal to no digestive concerns.

Quick Facts: 

While it’s suitable for adults of any age, you should be aware that these protein shakes are a bit high in sugar.

6 - Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder

Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder
5.0
Effectiveness
4.4
Taste
4.3
Ingredients
4.3
Price
Overall Score 4.5
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 25g of whey protein powder per serving
  • Provides vitamins and minerals to supplement your diet
  • Zero carb option makes it easier to plan a diet
  • Available in a good selection of flavors

Cons

  • Some reviews say it’s not the easiest to mix and may require blending
  • Calories : 110
  • Protein : 25g
  • Carbs : 0g
  • Fat : 0.5g

This Isopure product has one of the largest ranges of flavors I could find. But the main benefits of this protein powder is it being low in calories and having no carbs.

These protein shakes also come with added minerals and vitamins, including calcium and B12. These provide potential benefits for body strength and bone density, which has been shown in a clinical study [5].

My clients observed a notable change in how their muscles recover following workouts, and it has also been effective in curbing their cravings.

Quick Facts: 

One thing to highlight, though, is that some people have found it a little bit difficult to mix in a shaker.

7 - Pure Whey Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder

Pure Whey Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder
5.0
Effectiveness
4.3
Taste
4.3
Ingredients
4.1
Price
Overall Score 4.4
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 23g of whey protein powder per serving
  • The powder seems to mix easily, and flavors taste natural
  • Sourced from grass-fed cows for better nutritional content
  • Available in a large 5 lbs tub

Cons

  • Keep in mind that it’s a bit high in saturated fat
  • Calories : 130
  • Protein : 23g
  • Carbs : 3g
  • Fat : 2.5g

Pure Whey is a product I have used myself, and it’s suitable for adults of all ages.

There are plenty of reviews that it mixes easily and has quite a pleasant taste to it, which means you could mix it with other foods.

I saw it significantly aided in speeding up my clients' recovery time. The downside here is that it’s a bit high in saturated fat, which may not suit all diets.

Quick Facts: 

How We Picked The Best Protein Powders for Seniors

To ensure seniors receive the best nutritional support, my team and I adopted a detailed and methodical approach in selecting protein powders. Here's how we did it:

Protein Content

We analyzed the protein levels in each product, focusing on the quantity and quality. Our goal was to find powders that provide enough protein to support muscle maintenance in seniors, a crucial factor as muscle mass naturally diminishes with age.

Digestibility and Side Effects

To gauge the digestibility and potential side effects of the protein powders, we conducted extensive trials over the course of a month with a group of seniors. Our selection favored powders that are gentle on the stomach and have a lower likelihood of causing gastrointestinal discomfort or side effects.

Amino Acids

Since seniors need a full spectrum of amino acids for effective muscle repair and growth, we conducted in-depth research over the span of three weeks to confirm the presence of all essential amino acids necessary for seniors' muscle health, including all essential amino acids that the body can't produce on its own.

Third-Party Testing

To ensure the credibility and safety of the protein powders, we prioritized products that have undergone rigorous third-party testing. This step was crucial to verify the purity, ingredient accuracy, and overall quality of the powders, providing an extra layer of trust and assurance.

Buyer's Guide For The Best Protein Powder For Seniors

elderly man at the gym

To find the best protein powder for seniors, it's crucial to choose a product that includes essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

Essential Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and the essential ones have to be taken in through your food as the body cannot produce them.

Without these, your muscles will not have all the macronutrients necessary to repair and build up strength. The lack of essential amino acids as you get older may lead to a loss in muscle mass [6].

Vitamins

Even before you get to an elderly age, vitamins are an essential part of your health. But as you grow older, it may take your body more time to absorb vitamins, so you may want to consider getting a regular boost through the best protein powder [7].

Otherwise, your body might deteriorate faster, making you look disheveled and older than your current age.

Minerals

The most crucial mineral for seniors is calcium, as bones are heavily reliant on it. But as you get older, your bones become less effective at processing calcium, so you may need to ensure that your protein intake is increased [8].

Some of the protein powders above contain added calcium, which may help older adults to retain bone density over time.

What to Avoid in the Best Protein Powder For Seniors?

plastic cup with protein shake

When choosing protein powders for elderly people, you would want to avoid those with calories and saturated fat. Here’s why.

  • Calories: Every gram of protein has about 4 calories. But many protein powders also contain fillers and carbs like sugar. These then significantly add to the number of calories, which may have a negative effect on blood sugar levels and possibly lead to weight gain. These negative results could lead to serious issues for the elderly, especially those with blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues, as well as diabetics looking to gain muscle mass.
  • Saturated fat: One advantage of pure protein powders is that they don’t contain any fat. But saturated fat has to be removed in the manufacturing process, and many companies tend to skip this step.

Read more about this in our article: How to Choose Protein Powder

Why Do Elderly People Need More Protein?

Seniors require more protein as aging reduces protein absorption, leading to potential muscle and bone density loss. Exercise is vital for muscle maintenance, but protein, particularly essential amino acids, is key in combating sarcopenia [9].

  1. Digestion slowdown: Aging slows digestion, affecting protein absorption [10]. I did find one particularly interesting study that revealed a lot more details about how the human body becomes less effective when it comes to absorbing many nutritionally important substances, including protein shakes [11]. You can opt for a recommended casein protein powder as it's slow-digesting, allowing you to have a better quality of life [12].
  2. Maintaining muscle mass: Age naturally diminishes muscle mass [13]. Regular exercise and protein shakes for muscle gains rich in amino acids can mitigate this loss, promoting muscle health.
  3. Bone health considerations: Lower protein absorption in seniors can weaken bones [14]. Increased protein intake, possibly through supplements, can bolster bone strength and aid in weight management, easing joint stress [15].

Expert advice underscores the importance of daily protein for overall health improvements in seniors.

"Optimal protein works out to be about 15 to 25 percent of your daily calories, over a day, including 20 to 30 grams per meal and 12 to 15 grams per snack."
- Kim Hayes, Health Writer

What's The Best Way For Elderly People To Use Protein Powder?

elderly man stretching

The best way for elderly people to use quality whey protein powder is to make it a daily habit to drink a protein shake. You can mix your protein powder with few other ingredients to make it more delicious.

Protein shakes are typically easier to drink and can be paired with your usual diet. You can set a time every day either with your breakfast or after an exercise routine.

If you do some exercises every day, then this may be the most suitable time, especially after some more intense physical activity.

The more strain you put on your muscle tissue, the more this may stimulate they growth, especially with dietary protein. It doesn’t have to be a full-on, high-intensity workout session at the gym. Any form of physical exercise may trigger the necessary processes that could help to maintain strength, such as protein synthesis.

FAQs

Is Protein Powder Safe for Elderly?

Yes, protein powder is safe for the elderly because it supplements essential proteins, accommodating age-related dietary changes and absorption issues.

What is the Best Protein for Elderly People to Gain Weight?

Whey protein is the best protein powder for elderly people to gain weight. Cheese and yogurt items are examples of two types of foods rich in whey protein.

Our Verdict on the Best Protein Powder for Elderly & Seniors

Many study results have shown the direct impact of increased protein intake on lean muscle mass and bone density of the older population.

With reduced strength and mobility being a concern for many seniors, it’s important to get the right combination of nutrition and physical exercise, such as resistance training and strength training.

Based on my research and work with my dietitian, I recommend trying out Transparent Labs.

It delivers a high dose of whey protein while reducing calories from carbs practically to zero. Many of my older clients reported it helps with planning meals to avoid messing up a diet, and none of them had any digestive issues. Consider food sources rich in dietary fiber, iron, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D.

Our #1 Recommendation

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein (Best-Overall)

Transparent Labs 100_ Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Effectiveness
5.0
Taste
5.0
Ingredients
5.0
Price
5.0
Overall Score 5.0
5.0
Pros
  • Highest protein content at 28g per serving to combat sarcopenia
  • Contains no artificial additives to preserve the gut health of elderly
  • Low-carb and fat option to favor power over fats
  • Sourced from grass-fed cows for higher protein quality and digestibility to counteract declining absorption rates with age
  • Get 10% off using code: TOTALSHAPE
Cons
  • Not available as an unflavored option
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2 thoughts on “Best Protein Powder for Elderly & Seniors
Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

  1. Protein supplements for the elderly are so helpful especially for those who are cautious like me. 🙂

  2. Thank you! I am 68 years old and doing pretty well. I am 135 pounds and I don’t think I get enough protein. I have a good appetite and I am planning to get a good protein powder for seniors.

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