Nitrogen and amino acid requirements: : the Massachusetts Institute of Technology amino acid requirement pattern

J Nutr. 2000 Jul;130(7):1841S-9S. doi: 10.1093/jn/130.7.1841S.


We review the current international recommendations concerning the protein (nitrogen) and amino acid requirements of healthy individuals, from infancy to the later years of adult life and describe the changes in the recommendations for protein that have been made, since those issued in 1985 by Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization/United Nations University (FAO/WHO/UNU), by the International Dietary Energy Consultative Group. The current international requirements for the specific indispensable amino acids are critiqued briefly, and the rationale and basis for the proposed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) amino acid requirement pattern are presented. The evidence is then summarized that supports its use in practical considerations of protein nutrition. It is suggested that this MIT amino acid requirement pattern provides the best current estimates of the minimum physiological requirements for the indispensable amino acids in children and adults. It is further concluded that it would be difficult to argue for the continued use of the amino acid requirement values proposed by FAO/WHO/UNU in 1985 in the planning and assessment of dietary protein intakes for population groups worldwide. The MIT amino acid requirement pattern supports and strengthens the relevance of dietary protein quality as an important factor in human protein and amino acid nutrition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amino Acids / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Massachusetts
  • Nitrogen / physiology*
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Universities


  • Amino Acids
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Nitrogen