Rehabilitation Nutrition and Exercise Therapy for Sarcopenia

World J Mens Health. 2022 Jan;40(1):1-10. doi: 10.5534/wjmh.200190. Epub 2021 Mar 4.


Sarcopenia is an age-related loss of skeletal muscle associated with adverse outcomes such as falls, fractures, disability, and increased mortality in older people and hospitalized patients. About half of older male nursing home residents have sarcopenia. The diagnostic criteria by the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) and the Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia (AWGS) have led to increased interest in sarcopenia. Exercise and nutritional management are crucial for the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia. Nutritional therapy for sarcopenia that includes 20 g of whey protein and 800 IU of vitamin D twice a day improves lower limb strength. Exercise therapy for sarcopenia, such as resistance training and 6 months of home exercises, improves muscle strength and physical function. Combination therapy that includes both nutritional and exercise therapy improves gait speed and knee extension strength more than either exercise alone or nutrition therapy alone. Excessive bedrest and mismanagement of nutrition in medical facilities can lead to iatrogenic sarcopenia. Iatrogenic sarcopenia is sarcopenia caused by the activities of health care workers in health care facilities. Appropriate nutritional management and exercise programs through rehabilitation nutrition are important for prevention and treatment of iatrogenic sarcopenia. Nutritional and exercise therapy should be started very early after admission and adjusted to the level of inflammation and disease status. Repeated assessment, diagnosis, goal setting, interventions, and monitoring using the rehabilitation nutrition care process is important to maximize treatment effectiveness and improve patients' functional recovery and quality of life.

Keywords: Frail elderly; Iatrogenic disease; Muscles; Proteins; Residence characteristics.

Publication types

  • Review