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Nutrition. 1998 Jan;14(1):143-8.

Amino acid metabolism in pediatric patients.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Surgery, Osaka Medical Center and Research Institute for Maternal and Child Health, Japan.


As with energy requirements, protein requirements are relatively much greater in infants and decline progressively with age. Amino acid metabolism in pediatric patients is characterized by the following differences. The requirement for essential amino acids in neonates is larger than that in adults. Because of low activity of phenylalanine hydroxylase and cystathionase, hyperphenylalaninemia and hypermethioninemia tend to occur, whereas tyrosine and cysteine tend to be deficient. In addition to cysteine and tyrosine, histidine, lysine, arginine and taurine are considered as semiessential amino acids. Nowadays there are different kinds of amino acid formulas to satisfy these specific requirements, and most of these formulas are intended to normalize the plasma aminogram. However, the nutritional benefit of these formulas for growth and development is still not completely proven, and the pharmacological use for specific diseases is expected with some modification of these formulas.

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