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J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2015 Sep 1;16(9):740-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2015.05.021. Epub 2015 Jul 10.

Effects of a vitamin D and leucine-enriched whey protein nutritional supplement on measures of sarcopenia in older adults, the PROVIDE study: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Author information

Department of Geriatric Medicine, Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany. Electronic address:
Nutricia Research, Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Gerontology and Geriatrics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Frailty in Ageing research group (FRIA), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium.
Human Nutrition Research Centre, School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Newcastle University Institute for Ageing, Newcastle University, Agriculture Building, Kings Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Endocrinology and Human Nutrition, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Geriatrics, Movement Disorders and Prevention of Disability Unit Food Sciences Unit and Endocrinology of Aging Unit, University of Parma, University Hospital, Parma, Italy.
Ageing and Health, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, United Kingdom.
Nutricia Research, Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Institute for Sport and Health, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland.
Femicare, Clinical Research for Women, Tienen, Belgium.
Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV, Schwerpunkt Akutgeriatrie, Klinikum der Universität München (LMU), Munich, Germany.
School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences and Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences/Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Uppsala University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.
Faculty of Medicine, MRC ARUK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research, Royal Derby Hospital, University of Nottingham, Derby, United Kingdom.
School of Healthcare Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, All Saints, Manchester, United Kingdom.
Department of Medicine for Older Persons, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland.
St-Marien Hospital Clinic for Geriatrics, Cologne, Germany.
Institute for Biomedicine on Ageing, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Nürnberg, Germany.



Age-related losses of muscle mass, strength, and function (sarcopenia) pose significant threats to physical performance, independence, and quality of life. Nutritional supplementation could positively influence aspects of sarcopenia and thereby prevent mobility disability.


To test the hypothesis that a specific oral nutritional supplement can result in improvements in measures of sarcopenia.


A multicenter, randomized, controlled, double-blind, 2 parallel-group trial among 380 sarcopenic primarily independent-living older adults with Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB; 0-12) scores between 4 and 9, and a low skeletal muscle mass index. The active group (n = 184) received a vitamin D and leucine-enriched whey protein nutritional supplement to consume twice daily for 13 weeks. The control group (n = 196) received an iso-caloric control product to consume twice daily for 13 weeks. Primary outcomes of handgrip strength and SPPB score, and secondary outcomes of chair-stand test, gait speed, balance score, and appendicular muscle mass (by DXA) were measured at baseline, week 7, and week 13 of the intervention.


Handgrip strength and SPPB improved in both groups without significant between-group differences. The active group improved more in the chair-stand test compared with the control group, between-group effect (95% confidence interval): -1.01 seconds (-1.77 to -0.19), P = .018. The active group gained more appendicular muscle mass than the control group, between-group effect: 0.17 kg (0.004-0.338), P = .045.


This 13-week intervention of a vitamin D and leucine-enriched whey protein oral nutritional supplement resulted in improvements in muscle mass and lower-extremity function among sarcopenic older adults. This study shows proof-of-principle that specific nutritional supplementation alone might benefit geriatric patients, especially relevant for those who are unable to exercise. These results warrant further investigations into the role of a specific nutritional supplement as part of a multimodal approach to prevent adverse outcomes among older adults at risk for disability.


Sarcopenia; lower extremity function; muscle mass; nutritional supplementation; protein

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