Differences in Nutrient Intake and Biochemical Nutrient Status Between Sarcopenic and Nonsarcopenic Older Adults-Results From the Maastricht Sarcopenia Study

Sovianne ter Borg*, Lisette C. P. G. M. de Groot, Donja M. Mijnarends, Jeanne H. M. de Vries, Sjors Verlaan, Saskia Meijboom, Yvette C. Luiking, Jos M. G. A. Schols

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: There is growing evidence of a relationship between nutrients and muscle mass, strength, and physical performance. Although nutrition is seen as an important pillar of treating sarcopenia, data on the nutritional intake of sarcopenic older adults are limited. Objective: To investigate potential nutritional gaps in the sarcopenic population, the present study compared nutrient intake and biochemical nutrient status between sarcopenic and nonsarcopenic older adults. Design: The Maastricht Sarcopenia Study included 227 community-dwelling older adults (>= 65 years) from Maastricht, 53 of whom were sarcopenic based on the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People algorithm. Habitual dietary intake was assessed with a food frequency questionnaire and data on dietary supplement use were collected. In addition, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, magnesium and alpha-tocopherol/cholesterol, plasma homocysteine and red blood cell n-3, and n-6 fatty acids profiles were assessed. Nutrient intake and biochemical nutrient status of the sarcopenic groups were compared with those of the nonsarcopenic groups. The robustness of these results was tested with a multiple regression analysis, taking into account between-group differences in characteristics. Results: Sarcopenic older adults had a 10%-18% lower intake of 5 nutrients (n-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-6, folic acid, vitamin E, magnesium) compared with nonsarcopenic older adults (P <.05). When taking into account dietary supplement intake, a 19% difference remained for n-3 fatty acids intake (P = .005). For the 2 biochemical status markers, linoleic acid and homocysteine, a 7% and 27% difference was observed, respectively (P <.05). The higher homocysteine level confirmed the observed lower vitamin B intake in the sarcopenic group. Observed differences in eicosapentaenoic acid and 25-hydroxyvitamin D between the groups were related to differences in age and living situation. Conclusions: Sarcopenic older adults differed in certain nutritional intakes and biochemical nutrient status compared with nonsarcopenic older adults. Dietary supplement intake reduced the gap for some of these nutrients. Targeted nutritional intervention may therefore improve the nutritional intake and biochemical status of sarcopenic older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-401
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • Sarcopenia
  • nutrient
  • blood
  • older adults
  • food frequency questionnaire

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