Exp Gerontol. 2021 Oct 13:111592. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2021.111592. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The ageing process implies several physiological and psychological changes that hence affect the general health, mood states, and quality of life of older persons. Exercise and adequate nutrition are renowned non-pharmacological strategies that significantly delay and alleviate the adverse consequences of the ageing process. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation and a multicomponent exercise program (ME) on the physical frailty and mood states of older persons.

METHODS: 35 participants (women and men; 83 ± 3 years old) from residential care homes were submitted to a 40-week exercise-washout-retraining intervention (16 weeks of the elastic band based exercise and/or supplementation, 8 weeks of washout, and 16 weeks of multicomponent exercise and/or resupplementing), with or without BCAA supplementation. The experimental groups were: (i) ME plus BCAA supplementation (ME+BCAA); (ii) ME; (iii) BCAA supplementation (BCAA), and (iv) control group (CG). Fried’s phenotype was used to assess frailty prevalence. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), Profile of Mood State (POMS), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), were used to access mental health and cognition. The Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) was used to access functional capacity. Salivary testosterone levels (ST) were also determined to access the anabolic effects of the intervention.

RESULTS: Exercise was effective in improving functional capacity and prevented the increase in frailty that occurred in the non-exercising CG, where the frailty scores increased over time (p < 0.01). BCAAs supplement alone had no impact on functional fitness, but in a short time (16 weeks) contributed to diminishing frailty and combined with exercise may have the potential to reduce the effect of a detraining period on functional capacity. Salivary testosterone levels correlated with handgrip strength and could be a useful indicator of susceptibility to frailty. No effects were found for mood states, cognition, and depression.

CONCLUSION: This study showed that a long-term exercise program, independent of being multicomponent or strength elastic band-based, was effective in improving functional capacity and prevented an increase in frailty in frail and pre-frail older persons living in residential care homes.

PMID:34655703 | DOI:10.1016/j.exger.2021.111592