The importance of high protein and high-calorie products in clinical nutrition and their effect on cancer, kidney problems, and metabolic syndrome
15 September 2021
Protein is essential for good health. The body cannot survive without protein – it promotes tissue and muscle growth and repair, and can help boost the immune system.
However, during illnesses such as cancer, kidney disease and metabolic syndrome 2, extra protein and calories are sometimes required. This can be due to a loss of appetite or an inability to absorb the amount of protein and calories the body needs. When a person does not feel like eating or cannot eat properly, protein and calories can be supplied through beverages and desserts made with the milk protein, micellar casein.
Is nutritional intervention helpful in cancer patients?
Cancer patients, in particular those undergoing chemotherapy, tend to lose their appetite which results in a loss of energy and weight. This is known as a decrease in HRQoL (health-related quality of life). Without nutritional intervention, this can result in a vicious circle as the body needs to be strong to deal with the effects of chemotherapy.
To support this theory, a study by Sophie C. Regueme et al. carried out in 20201 , investigated the effect of nutritional intervention on 155 older cancer patients. A decline in daily living activity and an increase in fatigue was seen due to low protein intake. The addition of supplementary protein in the diet showed an improvement in these symptoms.
Nutritional drinks and desserts can be ideal for patients receiving cancer treatment as they are a convenient source of protein and calories. They are easy to consume between meals or as a replacement. It should be noted that it is also important for cancer patients to try and eat a light balanced diet when possible, to maintain the correct nutritional balance.
What are the effects of dietary protein on kidney function?
A high-protein diet may be a contributing factor to chronic kidney disease and a low-protein diet is recommended. This is because too much protein can cause extra waste to form in the blood and the kidneys may not be able to expel it.
However, in kidney dialysis (when the blood is cleaned in a machine because the kidneys are not functioning properly) patients can benefit from extra protein. This is because as well as filtering out the harmful waste, dialysis also removes a substance called albumin. Albumin is a form of protein that makes up about 60% of the blood and transports vitamins, minerals, nutrients and energy around the body. It also helps fluid remain in the blood vessels.
During dialysis, albumin levels drop and so do not do their job correctly. Therefore, albumin levels should be increased, which can be done through supplementary drinks that are high in protein.
Does protein supplementation benefit patients with metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that occur together: diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. It affects the blood vessels and, if left untreated, can lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke. According to the NHS (National Health Service), one in three people over 50 in the UK suffer from metabolic syndrome.
Protein can improve resistance to the body’s chemical insulin, which is a common complication of obesity. This can lead to type 2 diabetes, which is a chronic condition that has no cure. Most people with type 2 diabetes have to take medicine throughout their lives to manage their blood sugar levels.
Metabolic syndrome can be prevented or assisted with the help of increased protein intake. Studies have been carried out to show that dairy components, such as whey proteins and casein, may contribute to a reduction in the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. For this reason, high protein drinks and desserts made with the protein PRODIET® Fluid can be beneficial for people with metabolic syndrome.
From the research carried out, it can be seen that products made with a high protein and high calorie content can be beneficial for cancer, kidney dialysis and metabolic syndrome sufferers. As a functional and nutritional high-quality protein, PRODIET® Fluid is a suitable ingredient for the manufacture of nutritional beverages and drinks which can supplement dietary needs.
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 Sophie C. Regueme et al., 2020 Protein intake, weight loss, dietary intervention, and worsening of quality of life in older patients during chemotherapy for cancer https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32435967/
 Gang Jee Ko et al., 2017 Dietary Protein Intake and Chronic Kidney Disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5962279/#:~:text=High%20protein%20intake%20may%20lead,for%20the%20management%20of%20CKD.