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Association between dietary protein intake and skeletal muscle mass in older Korean adults

Key summary points

AbstractSection Aim

We assessed the relationship of low and high daily protein intake with skeletal muscle mass in older adults.

AbstractSection Findings

There was no association between the amount of protein consumed daily and low skeletal muscle mass in older adults after adjusting for covariates.

AbstractSection Message

Further studies are needed to evaluate the impact of protein intake status on muscle health in older Koreans.

Abstract

Purpose

We investigated the association of low and high daily protein intakes on skeletal muscle mass status in Korean adults aged 60 years and older.

Methods

This cross-sectional study used data from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 2008 and 2011. The participants’ dietary protein intake was assessed using the 24-h dietary recall method and was classified as low (< 0.8 g/kg body weight/day), moderate (0.8–1.2 g/kg/day), and high (> 1.2 g/kg/day). Amount of skeletal muscle mass was measured using whole-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Low skeletal muscle mass was defined as appendicular skeletal muscle mass index < 7.0 kg/m2 in men and < 5.4 kg/m2 in women.

Results

The study included data from 4585 participants (2022 men and 2563 women). All skeletal muscle parameters in women and total lean mass in men decreased as the amount of protein consumed daily increased. However, there was no association between high or low protein intake and low skeletal muscle mass in men or women.

Conclusions

No association was found between the amount of daily protein intake and skeletal muscle mass status in older Korean adults. Gender-specific further studies focussing on the interactions of dietary protein intake under specific conditions including physical activity status and the daily distribution of protein intake and the quality and source of the protein are needed to evaluate the impact of protein intake status on muscle health in older Koreans.

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Fig. 1

Availability of data and material

The data is available at https://knhanes.cdc.go.kr/knhanes/eng/index.do.

Code availability

All statistical analyses were performed using SAS software (ver. 9.2; SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA).

Abbreviations

ASMI:

Appendicular skeletal muscle mass index

BMI:

Body mass index

CI:

Confidence interval

DXA:

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry

KNHANES:

The Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

LSMM:

Low skeletal muscle mass; MPS: Muscle protein synthesis

OR:

Odds ratio

SMI:

Total skeletal muscle mass index

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Acknowledgements

Statistical consultation was supported by the Department of Biostatistics of the Catholic Research Coordinating Center.

Funding

Not applicable.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

HN Kim and SW Song conceived the study; HN Kim and SW Song analysed and interpreted the data; HN Kim wrote the manuscript; SW Song supervised writing of the paper and provided critical revisions; HN Kim and SW Song read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sang-Wook Song.

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Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethics approval

All protocols of the KNHANES were approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and all participants provided written informed consent at baseline. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Catholic University of Korea (IRB approval number: VC19ZESI0188).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Kim, HN., Song, SW. Association between dietary protein intake and skeletal muscle mass in older Korean adults. Eur Geriatr Med 12, 1221–1228 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41999-021-00530-3

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Keywords

  • Appendicular skeletal muscle mass
  • Dietary proteins
  • Elderly
  • Lean mass
  • Total skeletal muscle mass