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Higher protein intake associated with improved survival in heart failure

Higher protein intake associated with improved survival in heart failure

Consumption of more protein can increase the lifespan of heart failure patients, suggests a research presented at Heart Failure 2018 and the World Congress on Acute Heart Failure, a European Society of Cardiology Congress.

The study was conducted by Koen Streng, Ph.D. student, University Medical Centre Groningen, and colleagues to assess the impact of low versus high protein intake on the survival of heart failure patients.

Maintenance of muscle mass is essential for the optimal health in the elderly adults. Elderly adults are less responsive to the anabolic stimulus of low doses of amino acid intake compared to younger individuals resulting in decreased efficiency for utilization of dietary protein for muscle building in them. However, this lack of responsiveness in can be overcome with the consumption of higher levels of protein.

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Heart failure is a chronic condition where the heart does not pump the sufficient amount of blood to the body.  This results in insufficient delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the body which is required for the normal functioning. This condition increases with age and around one in ten 70-year-olds has heart failure.

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This study investigated the association between protein intake and survival in 2,281 patients with heart failure in the BIOSTAT-CHF study, which was conducted in 11 countries in Europe. The average age of patients in this analysis was 68 years and 27% were female. Daily protein intake was estimated from urine urea excretion, corrected for urine creatinine and body mass index (BMI) using a validated formula. Patients were divided into four groups according to the amount of protein they consumed, and then the association with mortality was assessed.

The median protein intake was 53 grams per day, ranging from 40 grams in the lowest quartile to 70 grams in the highest.

Key Findings:

  • At the end of the median 21 months follow up period, 31% of patients in the lowest quartile of protein intake (40 grams or less per day) had died compared to 18% of patients in the highest quartile of protein intake (70 grams or more per day).
  • After adjusting for multiple confounders, including age and renal function, patients in the lowest quartile of protein intake had a 46% higher risk of death than those in the highest quartile of protein intake.

“We observed that in patients with heart failure, a higher protein intake is independently associated with better survival. The study did not look at causes for this link, but it is likely that dietary protein builds muscle mass which is beneficial for health in these patients. A randomized controlled trial is needed to determine a recommended amount of daily protein intake for patients with heart failure,” concluded Streng.

Source: With inputs from ESC

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