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Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jan;99(1):62-70. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.038927. Epub 2013 Nov 27.

Branched-chain amino acid requirements for enterally fed term neonates in the first month of life.

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Department of Pediatrics, Emma's Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands (FdG, JBvG, and HS); the Department of Pediatrics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands (JBvG, LH, and IvV); the Division of Neonatology, Erasmus Medical Center, Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, Netherlands (GJV and LCWR); the Hospital Pharmacy, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands (AV); and the Division of Neonatology (CC) and the Department of Gastro-Enterology (YH), Fudan Children's Hospital, Shanghai, China.



Knowledge of essential amino acid requirements in infants is important because excessive intake of protein can lead to increased long-term morbidity such as obesity. A deficient intake may lead to suboptimal growth and impaired neurodevelopment. The current recommended branched-chain amino acid requirements in infants aged 0-1 mo are based on the amino acid content of human milk.


We quantified the requirements for isoleucine, leucine, and valine for term neonates by using the indicator amino acid oxidation method with [1-(13)C]phenylalanine as the indicator.


Fully enterally fed term infants received randomly graded amounts of isoleucine (5-216 mg · kg(-1) · d(-1)), leucine (5-370 mg · kg(-1) · d(-1)), or valine (5-236 mg · kg(-1) · d(-1)) as part of an elemental formula. Data are expressed as means ± SDs.


Eighty-three Asian, term neonates (mean ± SD birth weight: 3.3 ± 0.4 kg; gestational age: 39.4 ± 1.3 wk) were studied at a postnatal age of 13 ± 5 d. Mean requirements for isoleucine, leucine, and valine (measured in boys only) were 105 mg · kg(-1) · d(-1) (r(2) = 0.61, P < 0.001), 140 mg · kg(-1) · d(-1) (r(2) = 0.26, P < 0.01), and 110 mg · kg(-1) · d(-1) (r(2) = 0.35, P = 0.001), respectively.


Current human milk-based recommendations for isoleucine and valine in term infants aged 0-1 mo are correct. However, the current recommendation for leucine (166 mg · kg(-1) · d(-1)) is higher than the mean requirement of 140 mg · kg(-1) · d(-1) that we determined in this study. This trial was registered at as NTR1610.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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