EAAs protect against brain injury
EAAs protect against brain injury

Supplementation of Essential Amino Acids May Reduce the Occurrence of Infections in Rehabilitation Patients With Brain Injury

Overview

Recovery from brain injury is often compromised by infection, which prolongs hospital stays and adversely impacts functional outcomes and future prognosis. Rehabilitation patients with brain injury, such as from ischemic/hemorrhagic stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, or anoxic traumatic insult, are vulnerable to infections in part due to an immunocompromised state.

Researchers hypothesized that supplementation with essential amino acids (EAAs) would help reduce the high rate of infections in brain injury patients by increasing protein synthesis, accelerating healing, and strengthening the immune response.

Trial Length

2 months

Number of Subjects

125

Gender

All genders

Age Range

48 - 78

The Goal

The purpose of this study was to see if oral supplementation with 8 grams of EAAs daily could reduce the rate of infections in brain injury patients during the rehabilitation period. Researchers also sought to determine the major risk factors for developing infection.

The Results

Results showed that brain injury patients who took 8 grams of EAAs a day had 23% fewer infections in the first month of rehabilitation than did patients taking a placebo, and a 30% lower occurrence of infection over the entire 2 months, as evidenced by the table below.

Number of single infections developed in the placebo and treated groups over the first month of rehabilitation

Conclusion

Findings suggest that supplementing with essential amino acids during rehabilitation from brain injury can help reduce the occurrence of infections. Prealbumin and CRP stand out as the most dependable predictors of future infections.

The Why?

Reducing the rate of infection in rehabilitation patients with brain injury leads to better functional outcomes and future prognosis, as well as lowers the financial impact on hospitals. Oral administration of essential amino acids is a safe and cost-effective way to reduce the occurrence of infections in brain injury patients, as well as rehabilitation patients recovering from other types of illnesses.

Citation

Boselli M, Aquilani R, Baiardi P, Dioguardi FS, Guarnaschelli C, Achilli MP, Arrigoni N, Iadarola P, Verri M, Viglio S, Barbieri A, Boschi F. Supplementation of essential amino acids may reduce the occurrence of infections in rehabilitation patients with brain injury. Nutr Clin Pract. 2012 Feb;27(1):99-113. doi: 10.1177/0884533611431068. PMID:22307494