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Dietary Factors Associated With Frailty in Old Adults: A Review of Nutritional Interventions to Prevent Frailty Development


Dietary Factors Associated With Frailty in Old Adults: A Review of Nutritional Interventions to Prevent Frailty Development

Juan José Hernández Morante et al. Nutrients.


Frailty syndrome is a medical condition that is characterised by a functional decline, usually from 65 years old on, and creates the need for assistance to perform daily living activities. As the population ages, the need for specialised geriatric care will increase immensely, and consequently, the need for specialised services for the care of these people will increase accordingly. From a nutritional point of view, to control or balance the nutritional status of residents will be essential in order to prevent sarcopenia and, consequently, frailty development. In this line, previous studies have highlighted the association among low energy intake, inadequate intake of protein and vitamin D, and an increased risk of frailty development. However, there is a lack of intervention studies on frail patients, especially in the realm of quality clinical trials. The few studies performed to date seem to indicate that there is a protective role of protein supplementation against frailty syndrome. In this regard, it is tempting to suggest daily 30 g protein supplements to prevent frailty. However, it is well established that excess protein can also be harmful; therefore, specific individual characteristics should be considered before prescribing these supplements. On the other hand, the relevance of other nutritional interventions, such as vitamin D, omega-3, and medium-chain triglycerides, is much more scarce in the literature. Therefore, we encourage the development of new clinical trials to carry out effective therapies to prevent frailty development.

Keywords: frailty; nursing home; omega-3; protein supplementation; vitamin D.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Frailty development cycle, adapted from Fried et al. [3] and possible nutritional targets to prevent frailty development. EPA: Eicosapentaenoic acid, DHA: Docosahexaenoic acid.

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