An Elevation of Resting Metabolic Rate With Declining Health in Nonagenarians May Be Associated With Decreased Muscle Mass and Function in Women and Men, Respectively

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Abstract

Previously, we showed that FI34, a frailty index based on 34 health and function ability variables, is heritable and a reliable phenotypic indicator of healthy aging. We have now examined the relationship between major components of energy expenditure and the FI34 in participants of the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study. Resting metabolic rate was associated with FI34, even after adjustment for fat-free mass, fat mass, age, sex, thyroid hormones, and insulin-like growth factor 1 levels, in multiple regression analyses. In contrast, there was no association between total daily energy expenditure and FI34. Circulating creatine phosphokinase, a clinical marker of muscle damage, was also significantly associated with FI34. However, these associations of resting metabolic rate with FI34 were restricted to the oldest old (≥90 years) and absent in younger age groups. In oldest old men, the association of FI34 with creatine phosphokinase persisted, whereas in the oldest old women, only the association with resting metabolic rate pertained with the appearance of an effect of body size and composition. These results point toward an increasing metabolic burden for the maintenance of homeodynamics as health declines in nonagenarians, and this has implications for contraction of metabolic reserve that may potentially accelerate the path to disability.

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