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Clin Nutr. 2011 Oct;30(5):571-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2011.04.005. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Effect of essential amino acid supplementation on quality of life, amino acid profile and strength in institutionalized elderly patients.

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Department of Applied Health Sciences, Section of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine, Metabolic and Nutrition Unit, Azienda di Servizi alla Persona di Pavia, University of Pavia, Via Emilia 12, 27100 Pavia, Italy.



This study assessed the efficacy of supplemented essential amino acids on depressive symptoms, nutrition, muscle function, daily physical activity, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of institutionalized elderly patients.


Forty-one patients (58.5% women; mean age 79.8 yrs) with sequelae of coronary artery disease (73%), femoral fracture (34%), were randomly assigned to receive oral essential amino acids 4 gr 2 times a day for 8 weeks or isocaloric placebo. Before randomization and 8 weeks after the protocol started, the following variables were measured: depressive symptoms (Geriatric Depression Scale, GDS), nutritional panel (Mini Nutritional Assessment, MNA; serum albumin and prealbumin levels), muscle strength (Hand Grip, HG), Activity Daily Life (ADL), Quality of Life (SF-36, HRQoL) and amino acid profile.


Compared with the placebo group, EAA patients improved nutrition (MNA score 22.6 ± 1.5 post vs 21.8 ± 1.6 pre; p < 0. 04, albumin g/dl 4.04 ± 0.35 post vs 3.88 ± 0.3 pre; p < 0.01), GDS(score 10.3 ± 1.75 post vs 13.85 ± 3.37 pre; p < 0.001), HG (Kg 19.75 ± 1.7 post vs 18.68 ± 1.36 pre; p = 0.001), ADL (p < 0.04) and both physical and mental components of SF-36 (p < 0.002).


Oral supplementation with essential amino acids improved several determinants of quality of life in institutionalized elderly patients, including depressive symptoms, nutrition, muscle function and daily life activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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