Updated, web-based nutrition management guideline for PKU: An evidence and consensus based approach

Mol Genet Metab. 2016 Jun;118(2):72-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2016.04.008. Epub 2016 Apr 17.


Background: In 2014, recommendations for the nutrition management of phenylalanine hydroxylase deficiency were published as a companion to the concurrently published American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics guideline for the medical treatment of phenylketonuria (PKU). These were developed primarily from a summary of findings from the PKU scientific review conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality along with additional systematic literature review. Since that time, the Genetic Metabolic Dietitians International and the Southeast Regional Newborn Screening and Genetics Collaborative have partnered to create a web-based technology platform for the update and development of nutrition management guidelines for inherited metabolic disorders.

Objective: The purpose of this PKU guideline is to establish harmonization in treatment and monitoring, to guide the integration of nutrition therapy in the medical management of PKU, and to improve outcomes (nutritional, cognitive, and developmental) for individuals with PKU in all life stages while reducing associated medical, educational, and social costs.

Methods: Six research questions critical to PKU nutrition management were formulated to support guideline development: Review, critical appraisal, and abstraction of peer-reviewed studies and unpublished practice literature, along with expert Delphi survey feedback, nominal group process, and external review from metabolic physicians and dietitians were utilized for development of recommendations relevant to each question. Recommendations address nutrient intake, including updated protein requirements, optimal blood phenylalanine concentrations, nutrition interventions, monitoring parameters specific to life stages, adjunct therapies, and pregnancy and lactation. Recommendations were graded using a rigorous system derived from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Results and conclusion: These guidelines, updated utilizing a thorough and systematic approach to literature analysis and national consensus process, are now easily accessible to the global community via the newly developed digital platform. For additional details on specific topics, readers are encouraged to review materials on the online portal: https://GMDI.org/.

Keywords: Guidelines; Inherited metabolic disorders; PKU; Phenylalanine; Phenylketonuria; Recommendations.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Consensus
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutrition Therapy / methods*
  • Phenylalanine / blood
  • Phenylketonurias / diet therapy*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Pregnancy
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances


  • Phenylalanine