Background & aims: Glutamine is recognized as a conditionally essential amino acid. Recent studies indicate that glutamine-containing total parenteral nutrition improves nitrogen economy, enhances gastrointestinal and immune functions and shortens hospital stay.
Methods: Thirty-seven patients (19 w and 18 m; age 61. 4+/-10.4 years; BMI 23.7+/-2.8 kg/m(2)) following major abdominal surgery receiving an isonitrogenous isoenergetic TPN with or without alanyl-glutamine supplementation (0.5 g/kg BW/day), were evaluated in a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial over a five-day period by measuring nitrogen balance, selected biochemical parameters and length of hospital stay.
Results: Supplemental alanyl-glutamine improved the overall mean (-3.5+/-1.6 vs. -5.5+/-1. 4 g N;P<0.05) and cumulative nitrogen balance (-14.1+/-9.1 vs. -21.7+/-11.4 g N;P<0.05) compared with the isonitrogenous, isoenergetic standard regimen. Alanyl-glutamine normalized plasma glutamine concentration and reduced the length of hospital stay (12.8+/-2.6 vs. 17.5+/-6.4 days;P<0.05).
Conclusions: The results of the study confirm that supplementation with synthetic alanyl-glutamine dipeptide is associated with cost containment due to shortened hospitalization and improved nitrogen economy.
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