Concept Card: Medical Whey Protein Beverage
Patients with cancer are among the most malnourished patient groups suggesting that nutritional interventions should be an integral part of cancer treatment2. Global nutrition societies, including the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN), recommend the use of Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS) for patients who are malnourished, or at risk of malnutrition, and unable to eat adequately.2,3
Side effects of cancer treatment can include loss of appetite, taste alterations, dry mouth, mucositis, swallowing difficulties, early satiety and/or abdominal pain. These symptoms should be considered when formulating ONS for patients with cancer for whom certain product features, such as smooth texture, flavour and ease of swallowing and digestion, are as important as nutritional value. High protein content and high caloric density are suitable to address malnutrition, in addition to a nutritionally complete formula that is compliant with regulations. Some brand owners even consider additional ingredients that make the product specifically designed for patients with cancer. For example, studies have shown that anticatabolic and anti-inflammatory ingredients may improve appetite, oral food intake and body weight in patients with cancer.4
Such a product is not easy to create. The right ingredients, years of committed development work and the right technical, nutritional and formulation expertise are needed to formulate products that meet regulatory and nutritional requirements, have stable shelf life and are also palatable ensuring high patient compliance.
Loss of muscle mass in patients with cancer is associated with a higher risk of decreased strength and functional capacity, lower activity levels, impaired quality of life, poor response to treatment and a poorer prognosis.7 Whey protein is high in leucine, an essential amino acid that triggers muscle protein synthesis even in the absence of physical activity. Whey protein is also easy to digest and easy to absorb – all beneficial for patients having trouble with impaired gastrointestinal function.
In spite of all of these benefits, the number of whey-based ONS products is relatively low due to challenges related to the heat-sensitivity of whey.
NZMP WPC550 is a functional, UHT-stable ingredient. Due to the microparticulation of whey proteins it has enhanced heat stability attributes, resulting in a shelf-life stable ONS.⁸ This advanced technology also results in smooth/silky mouthfeel and low viscosity making the final product pleasant to consume and easy to drink. Flavour variety and tasty options are important factors that drive patient compliance, making this a relevant element in the successful nutritional management of malnutrition in patients with cancer. NZMP WPC550 is stable over a wide pH range which opens the door for wider variety of flavouring options, such as berries, lemon or tropical fruits.
NZMP WPC550 can be added to formulations at high concentrations with no adverse effects during processing, so no compromise is needed in terms of texture. Nutiani is happy to provide expert services, such as formulation and technical expertise for customized solutions.