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Low protein means elderly lose muscle strength

2nd September 2005

Elderly persons with low levels of a special blood protein may have a significant loss in muscle strength over time, according to new research.

Scientists from the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, found older adults with low or even normal levels of the protein albumin, had low levels of muscle strength regardless of their other ailments.

Study leader Dr Bianca W.M Schalk said general malnutrition and low protein could trigger a drop in albumin and more research should be undertaken into the special dietary requirements of the elderly to prevent this.

Dr Schalk said because of the nature of the research it is unable to determine whether increasing levels would increase strength.

More than 1,000 adults aged 65 to 88 where followed for at least three years, having albumin levels and muscle strength measured.

It was found that those with the lowest levels also had the poorer muscle strength, with both lessening over time.