Oral Nutritional Supplement with HMB Plays a Vital Role in Building Muscle Mass in Elderly, Study Shows 

Oral Nutritional Supplement with HMB Plays a Vital Role in Building Muscle Mass in Elderly, Study Shows


Nutritional supplements play a vital role in building muscle mass in elderly, a recent study by CGH, SHP and Abbott, found.

Did you know?

of Singaporean elderly

are at risk of malnutrition, have low muscle mass  

1 in 5 normally nourished older adults  

have low muscle mass, in Singapore

more protein required

by older adults in their diet to maintain the same muscle mass as a young person

Older adults who consumed Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS) with HMB, in combination with individualised dietary counselling found significant improvement in nutritional status, physical function and health, according to a recent study. 8 in 10 of Singaporean elderly at risk of malnutrition, have low muscle mass. This may lead to health concerns such as a weak immune system and a higher risk of hospitalisation.

Malnutrition is a common health problem among older adults, but a recent study shows that nutrition intervention can help to improve nutritional status and gain muscle mass and strength. The SHIELD Study by Changi General Hospital (CGH), SingHealth Polyclinics (SHP), and Abbott, which aims to Strengthen Health In the ELDerly through nutrition, found that improved nutritional intake reduced the risk of malnutrition and promoted better health.

What is the definition of malnutrition?

According to the World Health Organization, malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients1. Malnutrition occurs when people don’t receive the right nutrients in the right amounts. Find out if you or your loved ones are at risk of malnutrition with the BAPEN malnutrition self-screening tool2.

Muscle mass is an indicator of health in older adults

When it comes to keeping your muscles strong and healthy, protein and exercise are important—especially as we age and in times of illness or recovery. In fact, building up muscle mass can help older adults to retain their mobility, strength, energy levels, and independence as they age.

In Singapore, many older adults have low muscle mass

Every 1-year increase in age after 65 is associated with a 13% higher odds of having low muscle mass, even in older adults with normal nutritional status3. In Singapore, 1 in 5 of normally nourished older adults have low muscle mass. Also, 8 out of 10 malnourished older adults have a low muscle mass3.

Nutrition supplements with HMB and diet counselling help build and maintain muscle mass

With the onset of ageing, older adults require up to 30% more protein in their diet to maintain the same muscle mass as a young person in their twenties4. Thus, maintaining a healthy nutritional status to avoid becoming malnourished requires sustained effort through a balanced diet and exercise. The recent SHIELD study split the participants into two groups. One group got individualised dietary counselling and a placebo supplement. The other group received individualised dietary counselling and consumed 2 servings of a specialised Oral Nutritional Supplement containing beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB)* each day. The group that consumed daily Oral Nutritional Supplements with HMB experienced:

  • Improvements in overall health outcomes without hospital admission or readmission, with at least 5% weight gain 
  • 3 times lower risk of malnutritioni 
  • Improved vitamin D statusii
  • Enhanced physical function, specifically increased leg strengthiii and improved handgrip strengthiv

Uncover your muscle age

Abbott has developed a tool for you to check your muscle agev. Knowing your muscle age may encourage you to live life strong by improving your muscle health with exercise, diet and Oral Nutritional Supplement with HMB. Learn more on how to obtain a healthy life after 40 in our new article.

i Assessed based on Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST) risk
ii At days 90 and 180
iii At Day 90 (both genders)
iv At Day 180 (females only)
v Muscle Age is an indication of strength and performance of the muscles in the lower limbs and is calculated based on the 5-times sit-to-stand test which matches test time with specific biological age groups. Results are based on the Caucasian age norms. Bohannon R et al. Isokinetics and Exercise Science 15 (2007) 77-81.
*Due to the design of the study, it is not possible to ascribe the results of the trial to a single ingredient or nutrient, but only to the intervention product as a whole.

1 World Health Organization. Retrieved on September 9th, 2021. https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/malnutrition
BAPEN Malnutrition Self-Screening Tool. https://www.bapen.org.uk/screening-and-must/malnutrition-self-screening-tool
Tey SL, Chew STH, et. al. Factors associated with muscle mass in community-dwelling older people in Singapore: Findings from the SHIELD study. PLoS One. 2019 Oct 9; 14(10):e223222. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223222
4 Bauer J, Biolo G, Cederholm T, et. Al. Evidence-based recommendations for optimal dietary protein intake in older people. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2013 Aug;14(8):542-29. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2013.05.021. Epub 2013 Jul 16. PMID: 23867520


Stand4Strength muscle age test

Did you know that our muscle mass and strength peaks at age 401 before declining at accelerated rate? One can lose up to 8% muscle mass per decade2. Additionally, muscle strength loss occurs 2 times faster than muscle mass loss every year3.


Discover our products 

Related Articles