THURSDAY, June 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Higher levels of protein intake may prevent the onset of frailty in older women, according to a study recently published in the European Journal of Nutrition.

Masoud Isanejad, Ph.D., from the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, and colleagues evaluated the association between protein intake and frailty among 440 women (aged 65 to 72 years) participating in the Osteoporosis Risk Factor and Prevention-Fracture Prevention Study. A three-day food record measured protein intake at baseline (2003 to 2004), and frailty was assessed at the three-year follow-up (2006 to 2007).

The researchers found that at follow-up, 36 women were frail and 206 women were prefrail. There was an association between higher protein intake (≥1.1 g/kg body weight [BW]) and lower likelihood of prefrailty (odds ratio [OR], 0.45) and frailty (OR, 0.09) versus lower protein intake (<1.1 g/kg BW). Only women in the higher tertiles of animal, but not plant, protein intake had a lower prevalence of frailty (P for trend = 0.04).

“It seems that a higher protein intake with attention given to protein quality from animal protein sources may be an effective approach to promote healthy aging and prevent frailty,” conclude the authors.

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