Effect of essential amino acid supplementation on quality of life, amino acid profile and strength in institutionalized elderly patients
Health-related quality of life describes a person’s perception of how a disease has affected them physically and mentally, and is used to measure a condition's impact on functioning and overall well-being. Contributing factors to reduced health-related quality of life include socio-economic status, inadequate nutrition, lack of physical activity, and depression. Improving health-related quality of life in institutionalized elderly adults is a primary goal of health care.
Number of Subjects
75 - 95
Researchers investigated the effect of supplementation with essential amino acids on depression, nutrition, muscle function, daily physical activity, and health-related quality of life in institutionalized elderly patients.
Nursing-home patients who had suffered from coronary artery disease or a femoral fracture received either 4 grams of essential amino acids twice a day for 8 weeks or a placebo made up of the same number of calories.
Before and after the study researchers measured symptoms of depression, took a nutritional panel and amino acid profile, determined muscle strength with a hand grip test, and assessed daily activity levels and quality of life.
Results indicate that elderly patients who took essential amino acids were less depressed, more physically active with greater muscle strength and nutritional status, and enjoyed improved quality of life.
Researchers theorize that essential amino acids help to reduce depression symptoms by increasing serotonin levels in the brain and by improving nutritional status through increased muscle protein synthesis and muscle strength.
Findings indicate that oral supplementation with essential amino acids improves quality of life in institutionalized elderly patients by reducing depression, improving nutrition, and increasing strength and activity levels.
Depression is prevalent among institutionalized elderly patients, and can greatly increase the risk of heart disease, neurologic diseases, weight loss, declines in muscle strength and increased frailty, and overall poor future health outcomes. Improving health-related quality of life, including symptoms of depression, nutritional status, muscle function, and physical performance can help reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality. This study shows that nutritional intervention with 8 grams of essential amino acids daily can offer protective benefit.
Rondanelli M, Opizzi A, Antoniello N, et al. Effect of essential amino acid supplementation on quality of life, amino acid profile and strength in institutionalized elderly patients. Clin Nutr. 2011;30(5):571-577. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2011.04.005