EAA supplementation to increase nitrogen intake improves muscle function during bed rest in the elderly

Arny A. Ferrando, Doug Paddon-Jones, Nicholas P. Hays, Patrick Kortebein, Ola Ronsen, Rick H. Williams, Ashley McComb, T. Brock Symons, Robert R. Wolfe, William Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


Background & aims: Older individuals are more likely to experience extended hospitalization and become protein malnourished during hospitalization. The concomitant compulsory inactivity results in functional decline. Increasing protein intake in hospitalized patients improves nitrogen balance, but effects on function are unknown. In the present study, we examined the effects of increasing protein intake by essential amino acid (EAA) supplementation in older individuals subjected to 10. d bed rest on LBM and muscle function. Methods: Subjects were given a placebo (n=12, 68 ± 5 (SD) yrs, 83 ± 19 kg) or 15. g of EAA (n=10, 71 ± 6, 72 ± 8 kg) 3 times per day throughout 10. d of bed rest. LBM, muscle protein synthesis, and muscle function were determined before and after bed rest. Due to an imbalance in randomized gender distribution between groups, gender and beginning functional and LBM measures were utilized for analyses by repeated measures analysis of covariance (RMANCOVA). Results: Analyses revealed the potential for the preservation of functional outcomes with EAA supplementation. Conclusions: Increasing protein intake above the RDA may preserve muscle function in the elderly during compulsory inactivity. EAA supplementation is potentially an efficient method of increasing protein intake without affecting satiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-23
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Bed rest
  • EAA supplementation
  • Elderly
  • Protein intake
  • RDA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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