Nutrient Supplementation Post Ambulation in Persons With Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries: A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Case Series

Mark S Nash, Nina M. Meltzer, Shannon C. Martins, Patricia A. Burns, Stephen D. Lindley, Edelle C. Field-Fote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Nash MS, Meltzer NM, Martins SC, Burns PA, Lindley SD, Field-Fote EC. Nutrient supplementation post ambulation in persons with incomplete spinal cord injuries: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled case series. Objective: To examine effects of protein-carbohydrate intake on ambulation performance in persons with incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). Design: Double-blinded treatment with washout and placebo crossover. Setting: Academic medical center. Participants: Three subjects aged 34 to 43 years with incomplete SCI at C5-T4. Interventions: Subjects walked to fatigue on 5 consecutive days. On fatigue, participants consumed 48g of vanilla-flavored whey and 1g/kg of body weight of carbohydrate (CH2O). Weekend rest followed, and the process was repeated. A 2-week washout was interposed and the process repeated using 48g of vanilla-flavored soy. Main Outcome Measures: Oxygen consumed (V̇o2; in L/min), carbon dioxide evolved (V̇co2), respiratory exchange ratio (RER: V̇co2/V̇o2), time (in minutes), and distance walked (in meters) were recorded. Caloric expenditure was computed as V̇o2 by time by 21kJ/L (5kcal/L) of oxygen consumed. Data were averaged across the final 2 ambulation sessions for each testing condition. Results: Despite slow ambulation velocities (range, .11-.34m/s), RERs near or above unity reflected reliance on CH2O fuel substrates. Average ambulation time to fatigue was 17.8% longer; distance walked 37.9% longer, and energy expenditure 12.2% greater with the whey and CH2O supplement than with the soy drink. Conclusions: Whey and CH2O ingestion after fatiguing ambulation enhanced ensuing ambulation by increasing ambulation distance, time, and caloric expenditure in persons with incomplete SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-233
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2007



  • Ambulation
  • Dietary supplements
  • Energy metabolism
  • Fatigue
  • Nutrition
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation

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