There’s a need, but no well-documented evidence.

Researchers from the Miami VA Medical Center in Florida have complied a detailed review.

Frailty syndrome usually occurs in older patients who complain of low energy levels, easy tiring, decreased libido, mood disturbance, and decreased strength. They might also exhibit accelerated osteoporosis and a high susceptibility to disease.

Several nutrients and exercise hold promise for prevention or treatment of frailty syndrome.

Vitamin D

  • Based on past reports of fewer falls and fractures, vitamin D might be useful to offset reduced physical activity and walking speed.
  • The correct dose and people most likely to respond is not known.


  • Several, but not all studies, show improved muscle strength in the elderly.
  • But it has only been studied in healthy people.
  • Long-term safety is unknown.

Tai chi

  • In the elderly it improves postural sway and balance.
  • Studies are inconclusive with respect to decreasing the risk of falls.
  • No studies in patients with fragility syndrome.
  • Not known if elderly people with frailty syndrome would be able to learn tai chi, or if certain groups might benefit more than others.

Cobblestone walking

  • It’s a recreational activity in China.
  • There’s a suggestion of benefit in the elderly.
  • The National Institute of Aging has funded research of cobblestone walking in the elderly.

Progressive resistance training

  • Improves flexibility, balance, and speed in the elderly.
  • No benefit in frailty syndrome has been shown.

12/15/07 17:49 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.