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Nutritional interventions to prevent and treat frailty

Cruz-Jentoft, Alfonso J.a; Woo, Jeanb

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: May 2019 - Volume 22 - Issue 3 - p 191–195
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000556
TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH IN WASTING DISEASES: Edited by Claude Pichard and Mariëlle P.K.J. Engelen

Purpose of review Frailty is a multidimensional condition common in older adults, where reduced resiliency leads to adverse outcomes. It has strong links with malnutrition and sarcopenia, mostly through muscle health. This review explores the links between nutrition and frailty from different perspectives.

Recent findings Studies linking malnutrition and frailty show that most malnourished persons are frail, and malnutrition risk is increased in frail people. Energy and protein intake and some micronutrients are linked to frailty. Research on the role of microbiota and specific amino acids is increasing. Recent literature on the prevention of frailty with nutrition confirms that an appropriate intake of proteins, vitamin D and other nutrients is needed, but this information is still not in the public domain. Interventions to reverse frailty and sarcopenia should include exercise and nutrition interventions, usually with a multidomain approach including other elements.

Summary Public health recommendations to eat an optimal diet with the right amount of energy and proteins should be moved to the public domain. Whenever frailty is present, nutrition has a role in reverting it and avoiding adverse outcomes, but high-quality research is still needed in this area.

aServicio de Geriatría, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal (IRYCIS), Madrid, Spain

bDepartment of Medicine & Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hongkong, Hong Kong, China

Correspondence to Alfonso J. Cruz-Jentoft, Servicio de Geriatría, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Ctra. Colmenar km 9,1, 28034 Madrid, Spain. Tel/. fax: +34 913368172; e-mail:

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