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Several scientific studies published in international journals suggest that the speed of protein digestion and amino acid uptake directly impacts on protein metabolism as it affects postprandial protein-based catabolism.

In particular, the slow absorption of amino acids of slowly-digested proteins, such as casein, reduces protein-based catabolism and amino acid oxidation. On the other hand, quick absorption due to ingestion of quickly-digested proteins, such as whey, promotes protein-based catabolism, resulting in normalized nitrogen balance in favour of slowly-digested proteins over quickly-digested ones.

This is fundamental in managing diets for patients with aminoacidopathies, organic acidurias and urea cycle disorders.

PIAM, with their specialised nutritional line MEDIFOOD, leader in the dietary treatment of inborn errors of metabolism, has introduced an innovative approach by developing amino acids combinations in a new pharmaceutical form: “slow-release micro tablets”, ensuring control and good compliance.

The optimal compliance of micro tablets is provided by the small dimensions, the high concentration of proteins in a small volume and the good palatability thanks to the hydroxypropyl methylcellulose film.

Micro tablets allow for a better protein status thanks to slow release of the amino acid content. This is accomplished by a unique technology based on sodium alginate which, in the acidic environment of the stomach, becomes insoluble alginic acid and, such as casein, forms a sort of clot. The release of amino acids is hindered and slowed down as of consequence.

Micro tablets, due to the slow release of amino acids, reproduce the same benefits as slowly-digested proteins, leading to a protein status which is significantly improved.

These are the results of a randomised study of 60 patients with phenylketonuria, divided into 2 groups for 30 days. The group of patients who took the slow-release micro tablets protein substitute reported a significant improvement of protein status and a reduction of phenylalanine levels; 72% believed that the product has better palatability than traditional protein substitutes.

The results show that taking this formula could contribute to regulating the protein status better than a conventional protein substitute and favour a more harmonized protein synthesis, possibly due to longer retention of proteins.

The PIAM technology, applied to their range of protein substitutes MEDIFOOD, offers tangible benefits to patients who suffer from inborn errors of metabolism.


At PIAM our heart is in Italy, our head is turned towards the world and our focus at all times is on the future.



Boirie Y et al. Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate postprandial protein accretion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Dec 23;94(26):14930-5.

Bos C et al. Postprandial Kinetics of Dietary Amino Acids Are the Main Determinant of Their Metabolism after Soy or Milk Protein Ingestion in Humans, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 133, Issue 5, 1 May 2003, Pages 1308–1315.

Dangin M et al. The digestion rate of protein is an independent regulating factor of postprandial protein retention. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Feb;280(2):E340-8.

Fouillet H et al. Absorption kinetics are a key factor regulating postprandial protein metabolism in response to qualitative and quantitative variations in protein intake. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2009 Dec;297(6):R1691-705.

Giovannini M et al. Randomized Controlled Trial of a Protein Substitute with Prolonged Release on the Protein Status of Children with Phenylketonuria. J Am Coll Nutr. 2014;33(2):103

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