BIA has application in geriatric medicine for diagnosing sarcopenia and measuring the effects of treatments on skeletal muscle mass

Effects of a vitamin D and leucine-enriched whey protein nutritional supplement on measures of sarcopenia in older adults, the PROVIDE Study: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
JM Bauer, S Verlaan, I Bautmans, K Brandt, LM Donini, M Maggio, MET McMurdo, T Mets, C Seal, SL Wijers, GP Ceda, G De Vito, G Donders, M Drey, C Greig, U Holmbäck, M Narici, J McPhee, E Poggiogalle, D Power, A Scafoglieri, R Schultz, CC Sieber and T Cederholm
J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2015 Sep 1; 16(9):740-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2015.05.021

The PROVIDE Study was a double-blind randomized controlled trial that compared nutritional supplementation to placebo in non-protein-energy malnourished, sarcopenic older participants with mobility limitations. Participants were recruited from 18 study centers in six European countries: Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. At entry, skeletal muscle mass was classified as normal or as class I or II sarcopenia based on results of bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA 101, Akern).

302 participants completed all three study visits. A 13-week oral intervention of vitamin D and leucine-enriched whey protein improved muscle mass and lower-extremity function compared to placebo.  “The active group alone achieved a higher total protein intake of 1.5 g/kg per day, which is in line with recent PROT-AGE and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism recommendations for geriatric patients (1.2–1.5 g/kg per day). Beyond protein quantity, quality and timing of the protein supplementation are also considered crucial determinants for retention of muscle mass and function”

This study shows proof-of-principle that specific nutritional supplementation alone can benefit geriatric patients, especially those who are unable to exercise. These results warrant further investigations into the role of a specific nutritional supplement as part of a multimodal approach to prevent adverse outcomes among older adults at risk for disability. As the authors explained, “Adults older than 70 years lose on average 5% to 10% of their muscle mass per decade. The approximate gain of 1% total appendicular muscle mass that we observed after 13 weeks of intervention would translate, therefore, into saving 1 to 2 years of muscle mass decline.”

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