Oral nutrition supplement lowers death rate in elderly

Abbott's NOURISH (Nutrition effect On Unplanned ReadmIssions and Survival in Hospitalized patient) study has indicated older malnourished patients with heart and lung disease improved with a specialized oral nutrition supplement.

The supplement has 20 grams of protein, HMB to preserve muscles and Vitamin D. Researchers followed 652 malnourished patients over age 65 who were admitted to the hospital with heart or lung disease. They found a 50% lower death rate for patients who received the supplement after a month. Other improvements included improvement in body weight, nutritional status and Vitamin D levels.

"For the people in this study who were ill and malnourished, nutrition was critical to survival because it helps keep your body, especially your muscles, functioning properly," said study author Nicolaas E. Deutz, M.D., Ph.D., of the Center for Translational Research in Aging & Longevity in the Department of Health and Kinesiology at Texas A&M University. "This is more proof that we need to change the standard and include nutrition as an integral part of care, much like flu shots or aspirin, to help older adults who already have or are at risk for malnutrition and chronic illness."

There were similar rates of hospital readmissions. 

Results appeared in Clinical Nutrition.