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Mol Genet Metab. 2012 Jul;106(3):264-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2012.04.016. Epub 2012 Apr 25.

Positive effect of a simplified diet on blood phenylalanine control in different phenylketonuria variants, characterized by newborn BH4 loading test and PAH analysis.

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  • 1Division of Metabolism, University Children's Hospital and Children's Research Center, Zurich, Switzerland.


Until today, the mainstay of phenylketonuria (PKU) treatment is a phenylalanine (Phe)-restricted diet. Strict dietary treatment decreases flexibility and autonomy and still has a major impact on patients and their families. Compliance is often poor, particularly in adolescence. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the intake of fruits and vegetables containing Phe less than 100 mg/100g ('simplified diet'), as recommended by WHO for all individuals, instead of classical totally restricted diet on the course and treatment control of the disease in a well-characterized PKU cohort (n=80). All individual blood Phe measurements of each patient (1992-2009) were statistically analyzed before and after diet switch. Epidemiological data, age at diagnosis, PAH mutations, BH(4) responsiveness, as well as Phe control measurements and detailed diet information were tabulated in a local database. 62.5% had BH4 loading test and 40% had PAH analysis; 50/80 switched from classical to simplified diet, including 26 classical PKU, 13 moderate PKU, 7 mild PKU and 4 mild hyperphenylalaninemia (HPA). Median Phe levels on a simplified diet did not differ significantly to the median Phe levels on classical diet in all disease groups. Our results indicate that a simplified diet has no negative effect on blood Phe control in patients with hyperphenylalaninemia, independent of severity of the phenotype or the age at diet switch, over the period of 3 years. Thus, a simpler approach to dietary treatment of PKU available to all HPA patients is more likely to be accepted and adhered by patients and might also increase quality of life.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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