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Taking a soy-whey protein blend before stem cell transplantation can boost protein-energy absorption in leukemia patients


Researchers from China investigate the effects of supplementing with soy-whey protein blend on patients with acute leukemia before they undergo allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Their findings were published in the October 2017 issue of the journal Nutrition Research.

  • Patients with acute leukemia commonly exhibit severe protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) and decrease in muscle mass.
  • The ingestion of a soy-whey protein blend has been shown to promote muscle protein synthesis (MPS). The researchers aimed to determine if this supplementation may improve the PEM status and muscle mass of acute leukemia patients.
  • The researchers tested their hypothesis on 24 patients who were randomly assigned to a natural diet plus soy-whey blended protein (BP) group and a natural diet only (ND) group.
  • Their data showed that the protein and energy intake of all 24 participants decreased significantly after transplantation.
  • In the ND group without the BP intervention, the researchers observe a significant reduction in muscle-related indicators (i.e., anthropometric variables, muscle strength and serum protein) in more than 50 percent of the patients.
  • Meanwhile, 66 percent of the patients who ingested the soy-whey BP before transplantation exhibited significant increases in arm muscle area. The gripping power value was also significantly higher in the BP group than in the ND group.
  • The supplementation of the soy-whey BP also increased the levels of serum albumin, globulin and serum total protein to varying degrees.
  • The researchers noted that the average time to stem cell engraftment was significantly shorter for patients in the BP group (12.2 ± 2.0 days) than for patients in the ND group (15.1 ± 2.9 days).

Based on these findings, the researches conclude that soy-whey protein blend supplementation can improve the PEM status and muscle mass of leukemia patients.

Journal Reference:

Ren G, Zhang J, Li M, Yi S, Xie J, Zhang H, Wang J. PROTEIN BLEND INGESTION BEFORE ALLOGENEIC STEM CELL TRANSPLANTATION IMPROVES PROTEIN-ENERGY MALNUTRITION IN PATIENTS WITH LEUKEMIA. Nutrition Research. 2017;46:68–77. DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2017.08.002



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