Appropriate protein and specific amino acid delivery can improve patient outcome: Fact or fantasy?

Christy M. Lawson, Keith R. Miller, Vance L. Smith, Stephen A. McClave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Protein utilization and requirements in critical illness are much researched and debated topics. The enhanced turnover and catabolism of protein in the setting of critical illness is well described and multifactorial in nature. The need to preserve lean body mass and enhance nitrogen retention in this state to improve immunologic function and reduce morbidity is well described. Debates as to the optimum amount of protein to provide in such states still exist, and a significant amount of research has contributed to our understanding of not only how much protein to supply to these patients, but how best to do so. Small peptide formulations, intact protein formulations, branched chain amino acids, and specialty formulas all exist, and their benefits, drawbacks, and potential uses have been investigated. Specific amino acid therapy has become part of the concept of immunonutrition, or the modification and enhancement of the immune response with specific nutrients. In this article, we describe the changes in outcomes demonstrated through the provision of protein, both as a macronutrient and as specific amino acids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-387
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent gastroenterology reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Amino acids
  • Appropriate protein
  • Arginine
  • BCAA
  • Catabolism
  • Glutamine
  • Immunonutrition
  • Nitrogen balance
  • Peptides
  • Protein
  • Specific amino acid delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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