Specific blends of essential amino acids (EAA) containing a high percentage of branched-chain amino acids preserves mitochondrial metabolism and higher physical resistance in elderly mice, increasing their survival and improving physical performance and cognitive functions in malnourished elderly patients. However, no study has been yet done on patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) who regain weight with specialized intensive treatment. The present study aims to evaluate the efficacy of supplementation with EAA on the change in lean body mass (LBM) and other physical and psychological outcomes in patients with AN who are undergoing specialist treatment for eating disorders.
This is a 13-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Patients will be randomized to either a mixture of a complex blend of EAA and intermediates of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle (citrate, malate, succinate) supplementation (or placebo) upon admission at the intensive residential and dayhospital treatment for eating disorders. Ninety-two participants with AN aged 16–50 years will be recruited from a specialized intensive treatment of eating disorders. Double-blind assessment will be conducted at baseline (T0) and the end of the 13 weeks of treatment (T1). The study’s primary aim is to evaluate the efficacy of supplementation with EAA and TCA intermediates on the change in lean body mass (LBM) with weight restoration in patients with AN who are undergoing specialist treatment for eating disorders. The secondary aims of the study are to assess the effect of dietary supplementation on physical fitness, weight restoration, modification of AN and general psychopathology, and psychosocial impairment.
The study’s results will inform researchers and clinicians on whether supplementing a mixture of EAA and TCA cycle intermediates will improve the increase of LBM and other important physical and psychological outcomes in patients with AN who regain weight with specialized intensive treatment.
Trial registration: NCT, NCT05290285. Registered 22 March 2022 https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT05290285