Nourishing the Dysfunctional Gut and Whey Protein

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2012 Sep;15(5):480-4. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328356b71e.


Purpose of review: This review discusses the mechanisms of the dysfunctional gut during the critical illness and the possibility that an immunonutrient such as whey protein can play a role in better tolerance of enteral nutrition, also decreasing inflammation and increasing anti-inflammatory defenses.

Recent findings: Impaired gastric motor function and associated feed intolerance are common issues in critically ill patients. Some studies have been published with enteral nutrition enriched with whey protein as a dietary protein supplement that provides antimicrobial activity, immune modulation, improving muscle strength and body composition, and preventing cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

Summary: Early enteral feeding will enhance patient recovery and the use of enteral diets enriched with whey protein may play a role in these patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology
  • Dietary Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Enteral Nutrition / adverse effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / complications
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Milk Proteins / pharmacology
  • Milk Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects
  • Stomach / drug effects*
  • Stomach / physiopathology
  • Whey Proteins


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Milk Proteins
  • Whey Proteins