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Pediatr Res. 2006 Feb;59(2):265-70.

High protein pre-term infant formula: effect on nutrient balance, metabolic status and growth.

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The Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, UK.


Several lines of evidence suggest that formula with protein content of 3.0 g/100 kcal does not fully meet the protein needs of very-low-birth weight infants. Our purpose was to compare nitrogen balance, metabolic status and growth in infants fed a standard (3.0 g/100 kcal; RegPro) and high (3.6 g/100 kcal; HiPro) protein infant formula. Infants were fed both formulas, each formula for one week in balanced cross-over design. Metabolic status was monitored throughout. Nutrient balance and plasma amino acids were determined at the end of each week. Data were analysed using a linear mixed model. Eighteen infants were studied. Nine infants received the RegPro and nine received HiPro formula first. Nitrogen intake, absorption and retention were greater with the HiPro formula. None of the infants developed uremia or metabolic acidosis but retinol-binding-protein and weight gain were greater with the HiPro formula. Increased protein accretion paralleled by better weight gain without evidence of metabolic stress indicates that a formula with a protein content of 3.6 g/100 kcal better meets protein needs in these rapidly-growing infants. Further studies are needed to determine whether these short-term outcomes will be translated into long-term benefits.

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