Protein quality and quantity are important factors in determining lean body (muscle) mass (LBM). In phenylketonuria (PKU), protein substitutes provide most of the nitrogen, either as amino acids (AA) or glycomacropeptide with supplementary amino acids (CGMP-AA). Body composition and growth are important indicators of long-term health. In a 3-year prospective study comparing the impact of AA and CGMP-AA on body composition and growth in PKU, 48 children were recruited. N = 19 (median age 11.1 years, range 5–15 years) took AA only, n = 16 (median age 7.3 years, range 5–15 years) took a combination of CGMP-AA and AA, (CGMP50) and 13 children (median age 9.2 years, range 5–16 years) took CGMP-AA only (CGMP100). A dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan at enrolment and 36 months measured LBM, % body fat (%BF) and fat mass (FM). Height was measured at enrolment, 12, 24 and 36 months. No correlation or statistically significant differences (after adjusting for age, gender, puberty and phenylalanine blood concentrations) were found between the three groups for LBM, %BF, FM and height. The change in height z scores, (AA 0, CGMP50 +0.4 and CGMP100 +0.7) showed a trend that children in the CGMP100 group were taller, had improved LBM with decreased FM and % BF but this was not statistically significant. There appeared to be no advantage of CGMP-AA compared to AA on body composition after 3-years of follow-up. Although statistically significant differences were not reached, a trend towards improved body composition was observed with CGMP-AA when it provided the entire protein substitute requirement.
- Body composition
- Protein substitute