European Geriatric Medicine

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 311–320 | Cite as

Associations between dietary protein and vitamin intake and the physical functioning of older adults with sarcopenia

  • Weixia Yang
  • Qifeng Gui
  • Lufang Chen
  • Keying Xu
  • Zherong Xu
Research Paper



To investigate associations between dietary protein and vitamin intake and physical function status in older adults with sarcopenia.


Data of 707 participants with sarcopenia aged > 60 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999–2004 were analyzed. Body composition, body mass index (BMI), physical function status, demographics, dietary intake (protein and vitamins A, C, E), lifestyle factors and comorbidities were measured, stratified by gender.


Dietary levels of carbohydrate, fat and vitamin E differed significantly between genders (P < 0.05). Physical function limitations (48.5 vs. 36%; P < 0.001), basic activities of daily living (ADL) limitations (37 vs. 24.4%; P < 0.001), and instrumental ADL limitations (25.6 vs. 17.8%) were higher in women than in men. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that, in males, intake of optimal amounts of vitamin C (Q3: ≥ 60.71 mg/day) was associated with basic ADL limitations. In females, protein intake of more than 1.11 g/kg/day was associated with both basic and instrumental ADL limitations.


Only dietary or supplemental intake of vitamin C and E, but not protein, was associated with physical functioning in older males with sarcopenia. In contrast, only intake of higher amounts of protein, but not vitamins, was associated with physical functioning in older females with sarcopenia.


Activities of daily living National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Physical function Protein Sarcopenia Vitamins 



This study was supported by the Zhejiang medical and health science project (2015KYB157), the Zhejiang science and technology project (2013C33122) and Major project of zhejiang science and technology.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

Since all NHANES data are deidentified, data analysis does not require Internal Review Board (IRB) approval or signed informed consent by the study subjects.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Not applicable due to the use of deidentified data in the NHANES database.


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Copyright information

© European Geriatric Medicine Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weixia Yang
    • 1
  • Qifeng Gui
    • 1
  • Lufang Chen
    • 1
  • Keying Xu
    • 1
  • Zherong Xu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geriatrics, First Affiliated Hospital, School of MedicineZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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