Protein Recommendations for Older Adults with Cirrhosis: A Review

Jennifer Iiames, John Logomarsino


Protein intake has a key role in liver cirrhosis in older adults. However, types and amounts of protein intake in cirrhosis have been controversial. The aim of this paper is to investigate the optimal protein intake for management of cirrhosis and prevention of hepatic encephalopathy in older adults. Protein restriction of 0.6 g/kg/d has traditionally been used as medical nutrition therapy in liver cirrhosis. However, recent evidence has shown that protein restrictions have many negative consequences for older adults with cirrhosis. Current research indicates protein intakes of 1.2-1.5 g/kg/d in liver cirrhosis; however, many older adults do not consume this amount.  Strategies to help increase protein intake and manage cirrhosis include ensuring adequate protein at every meal through either regular intake or supplementation, protein supplementation prior to bedtime or overnight, and supplementation with branched-chain amino acids. An emphasis on vegetable protein versus animal protein is probably not an advantageous treatment option because of lack of conclusive evidence regarding benefits and potential negative side effects.


Liver cirrhosis, Dietary Protein, Aged


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