News article

Milk protein to remain first choice to treat moderate-to-acute malnutrition in children

Posted:  Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Whey protein better option than soy protein to correct childhood malnutrition

Whey proteins outweigh proteins from other sources in the treatment of childhood malnutrition! In a recent clinical study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the efficacy of dairy protein-based whey fractions was compared with soy proteins for correction of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) in children.

The randomised double-blind clinical trial was conducted among rural children aged 6–59 months, from Malawi and Mozambique. The children with MAM were randomised to ready-to-use supplementary food (RUSF) containing whey proteins or soy proteins. Approximately 75 kcal/kg/day of RUSF was given as a supplement for up to 12 weeks. The outcome was evaluated using anthropometric measurements, such as height, weight, mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC), and weight-for-height z scores.

The study findings revealed that a significantly greater proportion of children recovered from MAM in the group treated with whey RUSF (83.9%) than soy RUSF (80.5%). Treatment with whey RUSF resulted in greater MUAC gain during the course of treatment. Children consuming whey RUSF had significantly higher mean MUAC, weight-for-height z score, and weight gain at discharge compared to the soy RUSF. However, the length gain and time to recovery were similar in both the treatment groups.

The study supports the supplementation of whey protein-based RUSF for the treatment of MAM, since it fastens the recovery process and also improves growth rates when compared to soy protein-based RUSF.

News Source: Stobaugh HC, Ryan KN, Kennedy JA, et al. Including whey protein and whey permeate in ready-to-use supplementary food improves recovery rates in children with moderate acute malnutrition: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2016 Mar 1;103(3):926-33.