Serum albumin and muscle strength: a longitudinal study in older men and women

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2005 Aug;53(8):1331-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2005.53417.x.


Objectives: To examine whether low serum albumin is associated with low muscle strength and future decline in muscle strength in community-dwelling older men and women.

Design: Population-based cohort study.

Setting: The Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam.

Participants: Six hundred seventy-six women and 644 men aged 65 to 88.

Measurements: Serum albumin was determined at baseline. Muscle strength was assessed using grip strength at baseline, after 3 (n=1,009), and 6 (n=741) years. The outcomes were continuous baseline muscle strength, 3- and 6-year change in muscle strength, and a dichotomous indicator for substantial decline (a decrease if > or =1 standard deviations for women=11 kg, for men=12 kg) in muscle strength.

Results: Mean serum albumin concentration+/-standard deviation was 45.0+/-3.3 g/L for women and 45.2+/-3.2 g/L for men. At baseline, adjusting for age, lifestyle factors, and chronic conditions, lower serum albumin was cross-sectionally associated with weaker muscle strength (P<.001) in women and men. After 3 years of follow-up, mean decline in muscle strength was -5.6+/-10.9 kg in women and -9.6+/-11.9 kg in men. After adjustment for potential confounders, lower serum albumin was associated with muscle strength decline over 3 years (P<.01) in women and men (beta=0.57, standard error (SE)=0.18; beta=0.37, SE=0.16, respectively). Lower serum albumin was also associated with substantial decline in muscle strength in women (per unit albumin (g/L) adjusted odds ratio (OR)=1.14, one-sided 95% confidence limit (CL)=1.07) and men (per unit albumin (g/L) adjusted OR=1.14, 95% CL=1.08). Similar but slightly weaker associations were found between serum albumin and 6-year change in muscle strength (P<.05).

Conclusion: These results suggest that low serum albumin, even within the normal range, is independently associated with weaker muscle strength and future decline in muscle strength in older women and men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Serum Albumin / analysis*


  • Serum Albumin