Intake of oral nutritional supplement increases body weight, BMI in elderly at risk of undernutrition – Meiji study

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Meiji's study has shown how the supplementation of an oral nutritional drink could increase body weight and BMI in elderly at risk of undernutrition.  ©Getty Images
Meiji's study has shown how the supplementation of an oral nutritional drink could increase body weight and BMI in elderly at risk of undernutrition. ©Getty Images

Related tags Meiji elderly Malnutrition

The supplementation of an oral nutritional supplement has shown to increase body weight and body mass index in elderly at risk of undernutrition.

This is according to a 12-week clinical study conducted by Meiji and Kamakura Rehabilitation St. Therese Hospital in Japan.

Findings of the study titled “The effects of oral nutritional supplements on nutritional status and body composition in elderly persons” were published in Japanese in The Journal of the Japan Home Nutrition Management Society.   

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of oral nutritional supplements (ONS) on nutritional status and body composition in elderly persons.

Eighteen elderly aged 65 and above and were at risk of malnutrition were assigned to the intervention or the control group.

They were required to consume the ONS – a RTD product known as Meiji Mei Balance – twice per day. The 125ml product contains 7.5g of proteins, 2.5g of dietary fiber, and 200kcal of calories.

The study endpoints included the changes in body weight, body mass index (BMI), body composition, and grip strength.

The participants were also required to take part in a mini nutritional assessment survey.

Findings

Results showed that the effects of the ONS on body weight and BMI were more pronounced in older elderly.

In elderly aged 65 and above, there was an increase in body weight by two kg by week 12 of the study, while there was only less than 0.5kg increase seen in the placebo group.

As for BMI, the intervention group had an increase of 0.8kg/m2, ​but the increase was minimal for the placebo group at less than 0.2kg/m2​.   

A stratified analysis further showed that elderly aged 75 and above who were on the ONS supplementation had a significantly higher increase in body weight, BMI, muscle mass, and skeletal muscle mass as compared to the control group.

For instance, the body weight of the intervention group had increased by almost 1.5kg, while that of the placebo had decreased by about 0.2kg at the end of the study.

Meiji said that the effects of ONS on improving BMI and skeletal muscle mass were increasingly distinct with age, hence suggesting that the intake of ONS could help to improve malnutrition in elderly persons.

On the other hand, the company said earlier that it planned to increase the sales of its nutrition products and those the benefit elderly health by 10 per cent or more between year 2021 and 2024.

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