Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Hum Nutr Diet. 2012 Aug;25(4):398-404. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2012.01259.x. Epub 2012 May 18.

Dietary management of urea cycle disorders: UK practice.

Author information

  • 1Royal Hospital for Sick Children Glasgow, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK.



There is no published data describing UK dietary management of urea cycle disorders (UCD). The present study describes dietary practices in UK inherited metabolic disorder (IMD) centres.


Cross-sectional data from 16 IMD centres were collected by a questionnaire describing the management of UCD patients on prescribed protein-restricted diets.


One hundred and seventy-five patients [N-acetylglutamate synthase deficiency, n = 3; carbamoyl phosphate synthase deficiency (CPS), n = 8; ornithine transcarbamoylase deficiency (OTC), n = 75; citrullinaemia, n = 41; argininosuccinic aciduria (ASA), n = 36; arginase deficiency, n = 12] were reported; 70% (n = 123) aged 0-16 years; 30% (n = 52) >16 years. Prescribed median protein intake decreased with age (0-6 months: 2 g kg(-1) day(-1); 7-12 months: 1.6 g kg(-1) day(-1); 1-10 years: 1.3 g kg(-1) day(-1); 11-16 years: 0.9 g kg(-1) day(-1) and >16 years: 0.8 g kg(-1) day(-1)) with little variation between disorders. Adult protein prescription ranged 0.4-1.2 g kg(-1) day(-1) (40-60 g day(-1)). In the previous 2 years, 30% (n = 53) were given essential amino acid supplements (EAAs) (CPS, n = 2; OTC, n = 20; citrullinaemia, n = 15; ASA, n = 7; arginase deficiency, n = 9). EAAs were prescribed for low plasma quantitative essential amino acids (n = 13 centres); inadequate natural protein intake (n = 11) and poor metabolic control (n = 9). From diagnosis, one centre prescribed EAAs for all patients and one centre for severe defects only. Only 3% (n = 6) were given branch chain amino acid supplements. Enteral feeding tubes were used by 25% (n = 44) for feeds and 3% (n = 6) for medications. Oral energy supplements were prescribed in 17% (n = 30) of cases.


In the UK, protein restriction based on World Health Organization 'safe intakes of protein', is the principle dietary treatment for UCD. EAA supplements are prescribed mainly on clinical need. Multicentre collaborative research is required to define optimal dietary treatments.

© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics © 2012 The British Dietetic Association Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk