Parenteral amino acid intakes in critically Ill children: A matter of convenience

Sascha Verbruggen, Jama Sy, Ana Arrivillaga, Koen Joosten, Johaness Van Goudoever, Leticia Castillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Parenteral and enteral amino acid requirements for nutrition balance and function have not been defined in critically ill children or adults. In addition to playing a role in protein synthesis, amino acids trigger signaling cascades that regulate various aspects of fuel and energy metabolism and serve as precursors for important substrates. Amino acids can also be toxic. In this study, parenteral intakes of essential and nonessential amino acids (EAAs and NEAAs) supplied to critically ill children were assessed as an initial step for further studies aimed at establishing parenteral amino acid requirements. Methods: A retrospective review was conducted to assess intakes of parenteral amino acid for 116 critically ill children, and these intakes were compared with EAA intakes recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Because there are no recommended intakes for NEAA, NEAA intakes were compared with mixed muscle protein content in the older children and breast milk amino acid content in the infants. Results: Parenteral EAAs were provided in amounts that exceeded recommended intakes for healthy children, except for phenylalanine and methionine, which although excessive, were given in less generous amounts. NEAAs were supplied in lower or higher amounts than the content of mixed muscle proteins or breast milk. Parenteral amino acid formulas are limited in taurine, glutamine, and asparagine despite the fact that inflammatory/immune proteins are rich in these amino acids. Conclusions: Amino acid composition of parenteral formulas is variable and lacks scientific support. Parenteral amino acid intakes should be based on measured requirements to maintain nutrition and functional balance and on knowledge of toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-340
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Amino acids
  • Essential
  • Intensive care units
  • Parenteral nutrition
  • Pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Parenteral amino acid intakes in critically Ill children: A matter of convenience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this