Essential amino acid enriched meal replacement improves body composition and physical function in obese older adults: A randomized controlled trial

Melynda S. Coker, Zeinab Barati, Carl J. Murphy, Terry Bateman, Bradley R. Newcomer, Robert R. Wolfe, Robert H. Coker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Older adults are threatened by the risk of muscle atrophy and excess accumulation of adipose tissue. The objective of this study was to determine whether an essential amino acid enriched meal replacement would reduce excess fat and foster skeletal muscle retention, potentially improving physical function in this cohort. Methods: Using a double blind, randomized controlled trial, we compared the influence of an experimental meal replacement enriched with essential amino acids (EMR) to a commercially available, widely used meal replacement (Optifast®) provided once/day (q.d.) for four weeks on body composition, skeletal muscle and physical function in obese older participants. Twenty-eight individuals completed either EMR (n = 13) or Optifast® (n = 15) supplementation protocols. Measurements of body composition, thigh skeletal muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), blood panels, intrahepatic lipid, and physical function were completed pre- and post-supplementation. Results: Body fat mass, visceral fat mass and volume, and intrahepatic lipid were reduced with EMR but not with Optifast®. Thigh muscle CSA increased (Δ 2.4 ± 3.0 cm2) with EMR but not Optifast® (Δ −1.8 ± 6.0 cm2). There was a significant increase in the distance covered during the 6-min walk test with EMR (Δ 23 ± 27 m) but no change in Optifast® (Δ 11 ± 37 m). Conclusions: Beneficial alterations in fat and muscle support the use of EMR-based meal replacements in obese older adults. Clinical Trial Registration: ISRCTN registry under Reference Number ISRCTN15814848.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-111
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Nutrition ESPEN
Volume51
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Body composition
  • Functional performance
  • Muscle
  • Nutrition

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