Fish protein represents one of the most widely consumed dietary protein sources by humans. The processing of material from the fishing industry generates substantial unexploited waste products, many of which possess high biological value. Protein hydrolysates, such as fish protein hydrolysates (FPH), containing predominantly di- and tripeptides, are more readily absorbed than free amino acids and intact protein. Furthermore, in animal models, FPH have been shown to possess numerous beneficial properties for cardiovascular, neurological, intestinal, renal, and immune health. Ageing is associated with the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function, as well as increased oxidative stress, compromised vascularisation, neurological derangements, and immunosenescence. Thus, there appears to be a potential application for FPH in older persons as a high-quality protein source that may also confer additional health benefits. Despite this, there remains a dearth of information concerning the impact of FPH on health outcomes in humans. The limited evidence from human interventional trials suggests that FPH may hold promise for supporting optimal body composition and maintaining gut integrity. FPH also provide a high-quality source of dietary protein without negatively impacting on subjective appetite perceptions or regulatory hormones. Further studies are needed to assess the impact and utility of FPH on skeletal muscle health in older persons, ideally comparing FPH to ‘established’ protein sources or a non-bioactive, nitrogen-matched control. In particular, the effects of acute and chronic FPH consumption on post-exercise aminoacidaemia, skeletal muscle protein synthesis, and intramyocellular anabolic signalling in older adults are worthy of investigation. FPH may represent beneficial and sustainable alternative sources of high-quality protein to support skeletal muscle health and anabolism in ageing, without compromising appetite and subsequent energy intake.
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