Nutritional strategies to support muscle maintenance in clinical population

Imre Willemijn Kehinde Kouw

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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Loss of muscle mass and muscle strength as a result of ageing (sarcopenia) reduces physical functioning and increases the risk of hospital admission. This dissertation reveals that even short hospital stays (5-6 days) can lead to a significant loss of muscle mass (3-4%) in elderly patients following hip surgery. It also found that daily protein consumption by elderly patients who were admitted to the hospital following knee or hip surgery was significantly lower than the recommended daily intake, as 35-40% of the food offered was not consumed. In addition to examining muscle loss and protein intake during hospital admissions, we also studied different strategies to support the retention of muscle mass during illness and the natural ageing process. We found that eating a high-protein snack before bed stimulated muscle growth at night in elderly test subjects. The combination of physical exertion and protein consumption before bed led to a 30% increase in night-time muscle growth compared to protein consumption alone. High-protein food, possibly combined with physical activity, is important in supporting muscle maintenance during illness and the natural ageing process. This also applies to the period before, during and after a hospital admission.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • van Loon, Lucas, Supervisor
  • Verdijk, Lex, Co-Supervisor
Award date5 Dec 2018
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789463234023
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • loss of muscle mass
  • ageing
  • hospital admission
  • high-protein food

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