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Protein-Energy Supplements May Reduce Frailty In Older Adults

Chronic under-nutrition is a contributing factor to frailty, and is more commonly found in people with lower socioeconomic status. A recent study suggests that taking protein-energy supplements may help counteract that poor nutrition and therefore reduce frailty.

Frailty is a common occurrence in people as they age and can lead to serious consequences, including but not limited to, reductions in physical activity and advancement of cognitive decline.

Participants in the study included 87 frail older adults. Over the course of 12 weeks, half of the group took a protein-energy supplement containing 400 calories, 25g of protein, 9.4g of essential amino acids, and 1.6 cups of water while the other half took a control daily.

At the conclusion of the trial, the researchers noted a 5.9% increase in physical functioning in the supplement group. There was no change in the control group. The supplement group also had a 1.0% increase in gait speed, while the control group’s gait speed decreased by 11.3%.

Researchers from Gangbuk-gu Community Health Center in Seoul conducted the study. It was published in the March 2013 issue of Journals of Gerontology: Series A.

Previous studies have found that a combination of frailty and low vitamin D levels may lead to premature death and that low bacterial variety in your gut may contribute to increased frailty.

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