, Volume 13, Issue 9, pp 760-767
Date: 30 Oct 2009

The effect of a nutrient dense drink on mental and physical function in institutionalized elderly people

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To determine whether in the current study the supply of a nutrient dense drink has a positive effect on mental and physical function of institutionalized elderly people.


A 24-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, intervention trial.


Homes for the elderly and nursing homes in the Netherlands.


Institutionalized elderly people older than 60 years, with a BMI ≤ 30 kg/m2, and a Mini-Mental State Examination score of at least 10 points.


In addition to their usual diet the participants (n=176) received either a nutrient dense drink or a placebo drink twice a day during 24 weeks.


The functionality measures included cognitive function, mood, physical performance and the ability to perform activities of daily living.


In the supplement group a favorable effect of the intervention drink on body weight (1.6 kg difference in change; P =.035), calf circumference (0.9 cm difference in change; P =.048), and blood values (e.g. Hcy decreased from 16.8 to 11.2 µmol/L in the supplement group) was found. In the total group no significant effect was found on functionality outcomes. However, a subgroup of participants with BMI at baseline below 24.4 kg/m2 performed better on the cognitive subscale of Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale (P =.09), and its language sub score (P =.01) after 24 weeks of intervention.


The results in the total group of this trial suggest that the nutritional supplement used in this study improves nutritional status. Furthermore, the results of this trial suggest that it is effective as treatment for decreasing function in a subgroup of institutionalized elderly people with low BMI.