Modular Protein Supplements and Their Application to Long-Term Care

Nutr Clin Pract. 2006 Oct;21(5):485-504. doi: 10.1177/0115426506021005485.


Modular protein supplements are added to either the diet or enteral formula to increase the protein or amino acid intakes of people who are nutritionally compromised. Protein supplements are aggressively marketed to long-term care clinicians because protein energy malnutrition and wounds are a common problem in this care setting. It can be challenging for clinicians to distinguish one product from another and to determine the best product for a specific application or nutrition care goal. Modular protein products can be sorted into 4 categories: (1) protein concentrates derived from a complete protein such as milk, soy, or eggs; (2) protein concentrates derived from collagen, either alone or in combination with a complete protein; (3) doses of 1 or more dispensable (nonessential) amino acids; and (4) hybrids of the complete or collagen-based proteins and amino acid dose. Modular protein supplements are generally provided either as a substrate for protein synthesis or as a source of 1 or more amino acids that may be conditionally indispensable (conditionally essential) under certain disease conditions. This review provides guidelines for the use of modular protein supplements according to their intended physiologic function and the assessment and nutrition care goals of the long-term care resident.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Enteral Nutrition*
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care / methods
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Protein Deficiency / complications*
  • Protein Deficiency / therapy*
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / complications
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / therapy


  • Amino Acids
  • Dietary Proteins