Nutrition Interventions on Muscle-Related Components of Sarcopenia in Females: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Calcif Tissue Int. 2024 Jan;114(1):38-52. doi: 10.1007/s00223-023-01157-1. Epub 2023 Dec 3.


Sarcopenia is a skeletal muscle disease categorized by low muscle strength, muscle quantity or quality, and physical performance. Sarcopenia etiology is multifaceted, and while resistance training is widely agreed upon for prevention and treatment, disease progression is also highly related to poor diet. The incidence of sarcopenia appears sex-specific and may be increased in females, which is problematic because dietary quality is often altered later in life, particularly after menopause. Identifying effective nutrition or supplementation interventions could be an important strategy to delay sarcopenia and related comorbidities in this vulnerable population. This systematic review examined randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of nutrition strategies on muscle-related components of sarcopenia in middle-aged and older females. A protocol was registered (PROSPERO CRD42022382943) and a systematic search of MEDLINE and CINAHL was undertaken. RCTs from 2013 to 2023 that assessed nutrition-only interventions on muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical function in female participants were included. Fourteen RCTs were included based on selection criteria. Study designs and interventions were heterogeneous in supplementation type and amount, age, and duration. Six RCTs reported beneficial effects of protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin D and Magnesium (Mg), and fish oil on muscle protein synthesis, muscle strength, and/or muscle function. Eight studies that examined various protein interventions, VitD alone, Mg alone, and dairy derivatives did not demonstrate any effect. Exercise appeared to modulate results in several studies. Nutrition interventions alone are likely to have a limited but positive effect on muscle-related components of sarcopenia in females. Current evidence suggests that a combination of dietary intervention and exercise is likely to be key to preventing and treating sarcopenia in middle aged and older females and there is a need for well-designed nutrition based studies in this population.

Keywords: Diet; Female; Muscle; Nutrition; Physical function; Sarcopenia.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sarcopenia* / prevention & control
  • Vitamin D


  • Vitamin D