Protein intake and frailty: A matter of quantity, quality, and timing

Hélio J. Coelho-Junior, Emanuele Marzetti, Anna Picca, Matteo Cesari, Marco C. Uchida, Riccardo Calvani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Frailty is a geriatric syndrome that refers to a state of reduced resiliency to stressful events that occurs in response to physiological and/or psychosocial detriments. Frailty is a predictor of poor prognosis, given that frail older adults are at higher risk of many adverse health-related events. Hence, the identification of potential strategies to prevent the development and progression of frailty is of extreme importance for avoiding its negative outcomes. An adequate protein consumption is advocated as a possible intervention for the management of frailty in older adults due to its effects on muscle mass and physical function. However, empirical evidence is still needed to support this proposition. On the other hand, substantial evidence from observational studies has provided important information on the association between frailty and dietary protein-related parameters. Here, we provide a narrative review of the current literature regarding the association between protein intake (amount (how much?), quality (what type?), and distribution across meals (when?)) and frailty-related parameters. The ultimate aim of this work is to offer practical, evidence-based indications to healthcare professionals responsible for the care of frail older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2915
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Aging
  • Amino acids
  • Diet
  • Dietary patterns
  • Disability
  • Metabolism
  • Nutrition
  • Physical function
  • Protein per meal
  • Sarcopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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