Introduction

Whole body electrostimulation (WB-EMS) may be a good option for older subjects at risk of sarcopenia or sarcopenic obesity. In addition to exercise, protein supplementation can favorably address sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity in older people. 14,15

The objective of this study was to determine the effect of a combination of WB-EMS and protein (whey) against an isolated whey protein supplementation compared to a group without intervention on sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity in 70-year-old men age.

Method

100 participants were assigned randomly and in a balanced way and were divided into three groups:

    1. WB-EMS and protein suplements (n=33).
    2. Supplementation of isolated proteins (n=33).
    3. Control group (n=34).

A video-guided and systematically supervised WB-EMS program was applied in a standing position 1.5 times per week (for example, every Monday and every second Thursday) for 16 weeks. A bipolar electric current with a frequency of 85 Hz and a pulse width of 350 µs was used and using a duty cycle of 4 s of electrical pulse and 4 s of rest. Low intensity movements or exercises were performed during the stimulation period of 4 s. The duration of the session was progressively increased from 14 minutes to 20 minutes after 4 weeks.

Results

The skeletal muscle mass index increased significantly in the WB-EMS groups with protein and protein-only supplementation and decreased significantly in the control group.

The hypothesis was confirmed that the WB-EMS group with protein supplementation and isolated protein supplementation significantly affected skeletal muscle mass compared to an untrained control without protein supplements.

Conclusion

The use of WB-EMS and whey protein significantly affected sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity in men 70 years or older with sarcopenic obesity.

WB-EMS and protein supplementation can be considered as an effective, time-saving, joint-friendly and low-threshold intervention to combat both sarcopenia and obesity in elderly people at risk.

Bibliography

Kemmler W., Weissenfels A., Teschler M., Willet S., Bebenek M., Shojaa M., Kohl M., Freiberger E., Sieber C., y Von Stengel S. (2017) Whole-body electromyostimulation and protein supplementation favorably affect sarcopenic obesity in community-dwelling older men at risk: the randomized controlled FranSO study. Clin Interv Envejecimiento, 12:1503-1513

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