Effects of protein supplementation on lean body mass, muscle strength, and physical performance in nonfrail community-dwelling older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Dominique S.M. Ten Haaf, Malou A.H. Nuijten, Martijn F.H. Maessen, Astrid M.H. Horstman, Thijs M.H. Eijsvogels, Maria T.E. Hopman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Increasing protein intake has been suggested as an effective strategy to ameliorate age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. Current reviews assessing the effect of protein supplementation are strongly influenced by the inclusion of studies with frail older adults. Objectives: We assessed the effect of protein supplementation on lean body mass, muscle strength, and physical performance in exclusively nonfrail community-dwelling older adults. Moreover, we assessed the superior effects of protein supplementation during concomitant resistance exercise training on muscle characteristics. Design: A systematic literature search was conducted on PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science up to 15 May 2018. We included randomized controlled trials that assessed the effect of protein supplementation on lean body mass, muscle thigh cross-sectional area, muscle strength, gait speed, and chair-rise ability and performed random-effects meta-analyses. Results: Data from 36 studies with 1682 participants showed no significant effects of protein supplementation on changes in lean body mass [standardized mean difference (SMD): 0.11; 95% CI: -0.06, 0.28], handgrip strength (SMD: 0.58; 95% CI: -0.08, 1.24), lower extremity muscle strength (SMD: 0.03; 95% CI: -0.20, 0.27), gait speed (SMD: 0.41; 95% CI: -0.04, 0.85), or chair-rise ability (SMD: 0.10; 95%: CI -0.08, 0.28) compared with a control condition in nonfrail community-dwelling older adults. Moreover, no superior effects of protein supplementation were found during concomitant resistance exercise training on muscle characteristics. Conclusions: Protein supplementation in nonfrail community-dwelling older adults does not lead to increases in lean body mass, muscle cross-sectional area, muscle strength, or physical performance compared with control conditions; nor does it exert superior effects when added to resistance exercise training. Habitual protein intakes of most study participants were already sufficient, and protein interventions differed in terms of type of protein, amount, and timing. Future research should clarify what specific protein supplementation protocol is beneficial for nonfrail community-dwelling older adults with low habitual protein intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1043-1059
JournalThe American journal of clinical nutrition
Volume108
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2018

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