Whey: The way ahead for medical nutrition

Delivering the best quality protein available to patients when they need it most.

04 Apr 2019

3 min

#Blog #Global #Medical Nutrition

High quality protein for better health outcomes

High quality nutrition is required for patients suffering from trauma and illness to support recovery, and elderly seeking to maintain muscle mass as they age to mitigate the accelerating effects of ageing.

Supplementary dietary protein containing essential amino acids assists patients in preventing muscle loss, and maintaining strength and mobility.

When recovering from illness or attempting to prevent malnutrition, people want the best protein available.

High quality proteins deliver essential amino acids – specifically leucine – which on its own triggers muscle protein synthesis (MPS), providing the best support for muscle mass and health.

NZMP Medical Nutrition

Dairy is regarded as the highest quality protein

Due to its complete amino acid profile, along with its fast absorption properties, whey protein in particular provides almost twice the available leucine compared to soy protein isolate for every gram consumed.

This partially describes why the consumption of whey protein stimulates MPS to a greater extent than soy protein in older adults.

Although not exactly defined, it is clear that the required level of leucine to trigger MPS is higher in elderly compared to young individuals. This is a particularly relevant for those who struggle to consume large amounts of food or have lost their interest to eat.

Delivering high doses of whey protein, as done in compact medical beverage formats, is a more logical and effective method than delivering other protein types to achieve MPS.

For the elderly, the maintenance of muscle mass is the basis for good quality of life and independence

Large clinical trials have shown that protein supplementation additional to exercise is beneficial to grow muscle mass and strength in elderly, contributing to a reduced risk of falls and loss of independence. 

Because of the abundant and quick supply of essential amino acids into the bloodstream, whey protein could be revolutionary in clinical nutrition. As a superior source of essential amino acids, whey delivers improved protein digestibility and promotes MPS to help slow down the degradation of muscle mass in hospitalised and convalescing patients.

Whey protein intake can contribute to improved patient recovery times and outcomes, and help the elderly in preventing and combating malnutrition.

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Compliance is key to successful nutritional therapy

Compliance is linked to product-related aspects like taste, aftertaste, viscosity, smell, digestive tolerance and packaging. 

Although the quality and benefits of whey protein have been widely documented, the reality is that manufacturing whey-based Oral Nutritional Supplements with an enjoyable taste and texture is extremely difficult due to the issues that occur as a result of thermal processing.

Our Fonterra Research and Development team have overcome these challenges to develop a unique heat-stable whey protein that enables the formulation of high whey protein beverages, with great taste and texture.

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This information is intended for B2B customers, suppliers and distributors, and is not intended as information for final consumers.

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