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J Ren Nutr. 2011 Jan;21(1):52-6. doi: 10.1053/j.jrn.2010.10.012.

Exercise as an anabolic intervention in patients with end-stage renal disease.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, University Medical Center, 1161 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37232-2372, USA.


Muscle wasting and accompanying structural derangements leading to abnormalities in muscle function, exercise performance, and physical activity are common in patients with end-stage renal disease. Therefore, several studies have been performed examining the effects of exercise in this particular patient population. Most of the studies have assessed the effects of cardiopulmonary fitness training, whereas a few have examined the role of resistance (i.e., strength) training. Despite the proven efficacy of resistance exercise as an anabolic intervention in the otherwise healthy elderly population and certain chronic disease states, recent studies in patients on maintenance hemodialysis have not been encouraging in terms of long-term improvements in markers of muscle mass. Preliminary studies indicated that a combination of simultaneous exercise and nutritional supplementation could augment the anabolic effects of exercise, at least in the acute setting. However, a recent randomized clinical trial failed to show further benefits of additional resistance exercise on long-term somatic protein accretion above and beyond nutritional supplementation alone. Further research is necessary to both understand the observed lack of obvious benefits and strategies to improve the exercise regimens in patients with end-stage renal disease.

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