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Exercise plus added protein best for reversing frailty: study

Muscle training and protein supplements may be the key to reversing frailty, a new study suggests.

The methods have been highlighted as the “most effective” interventions to delay or reverse frailty in the research.

It has been estimated that frailty affects one in 10 people aged 65 and over, rising to half of those over 80.

In the new study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, researchers from Dublin conducted a systematic review on studies on frailty interventions.

They identified 46 studies involving 15,690 people.

Interventions examined in the study included exercise programs, health education, nutrition supplementation, home visits, hormone supplements and counselling.

In total, 71 per cent of studies reported an improvement in frailty status following interventions.

The authors found that interventions with both muscle strength training and protein supplementation were consistently considered to be the best for effectiveness and ease of implementation.

The authors concluded: “Frailty screening is increasingly recommended in primary care and in some cases contractually required, but there is a lack of guidance on interventions, once frailty has been identified.

“A combination of muscle strength training and protein supplementation was the most effective intervention to delay or reverse frailty and the easiest to implement in primary care.”

The authors went on to make recommendations on what GPs should recommend to their patients including: 20 to 25 minutes of activity, four days per week at home comprising 15 exercises to strengthen arms and legs and to improve balance and co-ordination.

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