Improvement of weight and fat-free mass with oral nutritional supplementation in patients with Alzheimer's disease at risk of malnutrition: a prospective randomized study

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Oct;52(10):1702-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2004.52464.x.


Objectives: To study the effects of oral nutritional supplements (OS) on body weight, body composition, nutritional status, and cognition in elderly patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Design: Prospective, randomized, controlled study.

Setting: Geriatric wards and day care centers in the Toulouse area, France.

Participants: Ninety-one subjects with AD aged 65 and older at risk of undernutrition as evaluated using the Mini Nutritional Assessment.

Intervention: After randomization, 46 patients (intervention group) received 3-month OS. The other 45 patients (control group) received usual care.

Measurements: Weight, body composition (evaluated using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry), cognitive function, activities of daily living, eating behavior, and dietary intakes were evaluated at the beginning of the study and at 3 months and 6 months. Supplement compliance was recorded each day.

Results: Between baseline and 3 months, energy and protein intakes significantly improved in the intervention group, resulting in a significant increase in weight and fat-free mass, but no significant changes were found for dependence, cognitive function, or biological markers. The nutritional benefit was maintained in the intervention group after discontinuation of OS at 3 months.

Conclusion: Three-month daily OS significantly improves body weight. It is practicable and effective, and the patients accepted it well. The improvement that was observed even in the control group showed that caregiver education is an important factor in maintaining the nutritional status of patients with AD. Moreover, regular courses of OS may help to maintain the increase in fat-free mass and improve the nutritional status of these patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications*
  • Body Composition
  • Body Weight
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / etiology
  • Malnutrition / prevention & control*
  • Nutritional Support / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome