Background: An adequate energy-protein intake (EPI) when combined with amino acid supplementation may have a positive impact on nutritional and metabolic status in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). Methods and results: Thirty eight stable CHF patients (27 males, 73.5±4 years; BMI 22.5±1.4 kg/m2), with severe depletion of muscle mass and were randomised to oral supplements of essential amino acids 8 g/day (EAA group; n=21) or no supplements (controls; n=17). All patients had adequate EPI (energy≥30 kcal/kg; proteins N1.1 g/kg). At baseline and 2-months after randomisation, the patients underwent metabolic (plasma lactate, pyruvate concentration; serum insulin level; estimate of insulin resistance by HOMA index), nutritional (measure of nitrogen balance), and functional (exercise test, walking test) evaluations. Body weight increased by N1 kg in 80% of supplemented patients (mean 2.96 kg) and in 30% of controls (mean 2.3 kg) (interaction b0.05). Changes in arm muscle area, nitrogen balance, and HOMA index were similar between the two treatment groups. Plasma lactate and pyruvate levels increased in controls (pb0.01 for both) but decreased in the supplemented group (pb0.01 and 0.02 respectively). EAA supplemented patients but not controls improved both exercise output and peak oxygen consumption and walking test. Conclusions: Adequate EPI when combined with essential amino acid supplementation may improve nutritional and metabolic status in most muscle-depleted CHF patients.
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