Birth and adaptation to extrauterine life involve major shifts in the protein and energy metabolism of the human newborn. These include a shift from a state of continuous supply of nutrients including amino acids from the mother to cyclic periodic oral intake, a change in the redox state of organs, thermogenesis, and a significant change in the mobilization and use of oxidative substrates. The development of safe, stable isotopic tracer methods has allowed the study of protein and amino acid metabolism not only in the healthy newborn but also in those born prematurely and of low birth weight. These studies have identified the unique and quantitative aspects of amino acid/protein metabolism in the neonate, thus contributing to rational nutritional care of these babies. The present review summarizes the contemporary data on some of the significant developments in essential and dispensable amino acids and their relationship to overall protein metabolism. Specifically, the recent data of kinetics of leucine, phenylalanine, glutamine, sulfur amino acid, and threonine and their relation to whole-body protein turnover are presented. Finally, the physiological rationale and the impact of nutrient (amino acids) interventions on the dynamics of protein metabolism are discussed.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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