5
Jan

Exercise, nutrition, or combined interventions: which is the most effective treatment for sarcopenia?

Article: Which intervention is more effective in improving sarcopenia in older adults? A systematic review with meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

No pharmacologic intervention has yet been approved for the treatment of sarcopenia. Only exercise and nutritional support via increased protein intake have been shown to significantly improve this condition. As such, lifestyle interventions aiming to increase physical exercise and/or protein intake are recommended for the prevention, management, and treatment of sarcopenia.

The aim of this systematic review was to assess the intervention (exercise or nutrition alone, against a combination of both) best able to improve sarcopenia. This improvement was measured in older adults using the skeletal muscle index (SMI), handgrip, and gait speed.

Key learnings:

Changes in muscle quality were only observed after the administration of the combined intervention. Neither exercise nor nutrition alone had any effect on muscle quality. Furthermore, although all interventions were associated with improvements in muscle strength, the magnitude of this improvement was smaller after changes in nutrition alone. Similarly to muscle quality, combined interventions, followed by exercise, yielded the best results for muscle strength. This led to significant enhancements in physical performance. Overall, the combined intervention of exercise and nutrition is the most effective in improving sarcopenia in older adults.

Reviewed by: S. Duarte

Authors: Park SH and Roh Y

Published in: Mechanisms of Ageing and Development 2022

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