MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Nuno Mendonça RD, PhD
Campus for Ageing and Vitality
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Very old adults, those aged 85 and older, are the fastest growing age group in most western societies and are more likely to develop disability. Dietary protein is a sensible candidate because it may slow decreases in muscle mass and functional decline with aging. Although we know that protein intake is, on average, lower in older adults (a mean of 66 grams per day) compared to younger adults (a mean of 91 grams per day), research exploring protein intake and disability progression in very old adults is limited. We found that our participants from North-East England had four different disability trajectories between the ages of 85 and 90: a) a constant very low disability trajectory (difficulty with none or 1 activity of daily living (ADL)) over the 5 years; b) a low disability trajectory (difficulty with 2 ADLs) that steadily progressed to mild disability (5 ADLs); c) a mild disability score (4 ADLs) at 85 that increased to moderate disability (10 ADLs) by age 90; and d) a moderate disability score (9 ADLs) at baseline that progressed to severe disability (14 ADLs) after 5 years. We found that those with higher protein intake, especially those at or above 1 g per kg of body weight per day (70g of protein per day for a 70 kg person), were less likely to belong to a worse disability trajectory.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Low protein intake is prevalent in very old adults and so are the number of disabilities. In this report of 722 very old adults from the Newcastle 85+ we found that higher protein intake, especially those with 1 g per kg of body weight per day or more, was associated with better disability trajectories in very old adults. This observation provides evidence in support of recommendations from expert groups who have proposed that the
recommended dietary allowance of protein for older adults should approximate 1.0 to
1.2 g/kg per day and within the acceptable macronutrient distribution range for protein.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: As part of the PRevention Of Malnutrition In Senior Subjects in the European Union (PROMISS) project (http://www.promiss-vu.eu/ for more information),these results will inform development of dietary strategies to support healthy aging which will be tested for effectiveness and cost effectiveness in a long-term trial.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: We would like to add that results from this report are observational and the planned long-term trial within the PROMISS project is needed to confirm the findings. We do not have any conflict of interest.
Nuno Mendonça RD, PhD, Antoneta Granic PhD, Tom R. Hill PhD, Mario Siervo PhD John C. Mathers PhD, Andrew Kingston PhD, Carol Jagger PhD
First published: 01 November 2018
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