Emerging therapies to treat frailty syndrome in the elderly

Altern Med Rev. 2007 Sep;12(3):246-58.


Frailty syndrome (FS) has become increasingly recognized as a major predictor of co-morbidities and mortality in older individuals. Interventions with the potential to benefit frail elders include nutritional supplementation (vitamins D, carotenoids, creatine, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) and exercise modalities (tai chi and cobblestone walking). While these have not been explicitly tested for their impact on FS, vitamin D supplementation appears to offer significant promise in enhancing long-term health of the elderly. Exercise modalities such as tai chi and cobblestone walking, because of probable low risk and ease of participation, may also confer benefit. Additional studies are needed to investigate interventions that directly prevent, delay, and/or ameliorate frailty. Successful therapies may well involve multi-component approaches utilizing a combination of medication, nutritional supplementation, and exercise.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / etiology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Weakness / etiology
  • Muscle Weakness / therapy*
  • Nutrition Disorders / complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Syndrome
  • Tai Ji
  • Walking
  • Weight Loss*