Led by Dr Gerrit Slooter of Máxima Medical Centre in Veldhoven and supported by KWF-Kanker be-strijding (the Dutch Cancer Society), the PREHAB researchers have set out to investigate whether inter-ventions that include exercise, high-protein nutrition, smoking cessation and psychological support could enhance post-operative recovery. The effect of high-protein nutrition is being studied through dietary sup-plementation with a milk protein; FrieslandCampina Ingredients Refit® TMP 90 Shake is one of the com-mercially-available protein ingredients that matches the researchers’ criteria.
FrieslandCampina Ingredients has been active in medical nutrition for nearly 40 years and two years ago, formed a dedicated unit to focus on this market. Miriam Peters, Marketing Manager for Medical Nutrition, comments: “We are committed to make a difference in the lives of patients and frail elderly. To this end, one of our goals is to contribute to the development of new science through collaborations with respected part-ners in the medical nutrition field. We hope that this study will provide evidence that can be implemented in the field to define recommendations, potentially changing the way hospitals approach nutrition.”
Closer to normal food
The role of protein in improving muscle mass, strength and physical function in elderly and frail patients is well documented. However, stepping away from the familiar food experience is a major barrier to in-creased uptake of protein. Therefore, supplementation solutions that are close to normal food are emerging as a major trend in the global medical nutrition industry.
Refit® TMP 90 Shake is an ideal protein for supplementation of normal food due to its unique combina-tion of sensorial, physical and nutritional attributes. A proprietary process results in a free-flowing powder that is ideal for protein enrichment of normal foods and can easily be added to soup, juice, yogurts and powdered drinks. Whilst other dairy proteins show limitations in certain applications, Refit® TMP 90 Shake can be used in hot or cold, acid or neutral, sweet or savoury matrices without significantly altering the taste or texture.
Refit® TMP 90 Shake is also favoured by the medical industry for its exceptional nutritional profile; it has a unique composition utilising both the benefits of casein and whey protein as well as high levels of essen-tial amino acids.
Pilot study shows promise
An initial pilot study for the PREHAB project has shown promising results for the role high quality dairy protein could play in assisting with post-operative recovery.
50 patients were assigned to either an intervention group or a control group. Those in the intervention group were given 30g of Refit® TMP 90 Shake twice daily within one hour of exercise (3 x per week) and every day before bedtime (0.4 g/kg body weight per serving) for three weeks. Patients in the intervention group recovered faster than those in the control group following surgery: 86% of patients with prehabilita-tion recovered to their baseline functional capacity four weeks after surgery, compared with 40% in the control group.
The findings are now being tested in a scaled up, multi-centre, international study – one of the first to in-vestigate multi-modal prehabilitation in hospital patients. So far over 200 patients from hospitals in Veld-hoven, Montreal, Copenhagen, Barcelona and Ferrara are participating in the trial, with more centres expected to join.