Protein supplementation improves muscle mass and physical performance in undernourished prefrail and frail elderly subjects: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Yongsoon Park, Jeong Eun Choi, Hwan Sik Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Age-related loss of muscle mass and function is a major component of frailty. Nutrition supplementation with exercise is an effective strategy to decrease frailty by preventing sarcopenia, but the effect of protein alone is controversial. Objective: The present study was performed to investigate a dose-dependent effect of protein supplementation on muscle mass and frailty in prefrail or frail malnourished elderly people. Design: A 12-wk double-blind randomized controlled trial was conducted in elderly subjects aged 70-85 y with ≥1 of the Cardiovascular Health Study frailty criteria and a Mini Nutritional Assessment score ≤23.5 (n = 120). Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: 0.8, 1.2, or 1.5 g protein · kg-1 · d-1, with concealed allocation and intention-to-treat analysis. Primary outcomes were appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASM) and skeletal muscle mass index (SMI) measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Results: After the 12-wk intervention, the 1.5-g protein · kg-1 · d-1 group had higher ASM (mean ± SD: 0.52 ± 0.64 compared with 0.08 ± 0.68 kg, P = 0.036) and SMI (ASM/weight: 0.87% ± 0.69% compared with 0.15% ± 0.89%, P = 0.039; ASM/BMI: 0.02 ± 0.03 compared with 0.00 ± 0.04, P = 0.033; ASM:fat ratio: 0.04 ± 0.11 compared with −0.02 ± 0.10, P = 0.025) than the 0.8-g protein · kg-1 · d-1 group. In addition, gait speed was improved in the 1.5-g protein · kg-1 · d-1 group compared with the 0.8-g protein · kg-1 · d-1 group (0.09 ± 0.07 compared with 0.04 ± 0.07 m/s, P = 0.039). There were no significant differences between the 1.2- and 0.8-g protein · kg-1 · d-1 groups in muscle mass and physical performance. No harmful adverse effects were observed. Conclusions: The present study indicates that protein intake of 1.5 g · kg-1 · d-1 has the most beneficial effects in regard to preventing sarcopenia and frailty compared with protein intakes of 0.8 and 1.2 g · kg-1 · d-1 in prefrail or frail elderly subjects at risk of malnutrition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1026-1033
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume108
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018 Nov 1

Keywords

  • Clinical trial
  • Elderly
  • Frailty
  • Malnutrition
  • Muscle mass
  • Protein supplementation

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