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Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2012 Jan;15(1):7-11. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32834da629.

Bedrest and sarcopenia.

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  • 1Department of Geriatrics and the Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.



The primary focus of this review is to characterize the physiological elements of sarcopenia. In addition, we will also describe the impact of bedrest on sarcopenia and how various countermeasures may be able to offset the deleterious clinical consequences of unanticipated bedrest or hospitalization. It is well known that the aging process presents many challenges to the maintenance of overall health. With the increasing rate of obesity and the potentially simultaneous development of sarcopenia, bedrest presents a difficult clinical challenge to the elderly individual.


The etiology of accelerated sarcopenia has been described as a syndrome. The characteristics of this syndrome include combined alterations in neuromuscular control and muscle protein synthesis that increase the risk of morbidity and mortality in the elderly population. Moreover, the acute onset of bedrest-induced insulin resistance may further complicate the nutritionally derived maintenance of muscle mass and physical function.


Even though many questions remain unresolved concerning the optimal clinical management of elderly individuals who undergo unanticipated bedrest, the supplementation of essential amino acids has shown promise as a therapeutic strategy to minimize the detrimental influence of hospitalization in the elderly. In turn, this nutritional adjunctive therapy may reduce the length of stay and the likelihood of repeated hospitalization.

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