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Very low ileal nitrogen and amino acid digestibility of zein compared to whey protein isolate in healthy volunteers

Abstract : Background: Whey protein and zein are of nutritional interest due to their high leucine content, but little data are available on their amino acid (AA) ileal digestibility. Objective: This study aimed to determine ileal digestibility of whey protein isolate (WPI) and zein in healthy volunteers by use of the naso-ileal intubation method, which allows continuous collection of postprandial ileal digesta. Methods: Twenty-two healthy volunteers were intubated with a naso-ileal sampling device positioned at the terminal ileum level. They received a single meal of protein-free biscuits and a drink containing zein (n = 8), WPI (n = 7), or no protein (protein free, n = 7). Ileal effluents and plasma samples were collected over a 9-h postprandial period. Total nitrogen and AA contents were quantified in effluents. True ileal digestibility was calculated after correction for endogenous losses evaluated in the protein-free group. Results: True ileal nitrogen digestibility of zein was markedly lower than WPI (60.2 ± 4.5% and 91.2 ± 2.6%, respectively, P = 0.0003). True ileal digestibility of AAs ranged from 87.4 ± 2.7% for threonine to 98.4 ± 1.0% for methionine in the WPI group, and from 59.3 ± 5.6% for methionine to 69.0 ± 5.8% for arginine in the zein group. The digestible indispensable AA (IAA) score was 1.03 (histidine) for WPI and close to 0 for zein, owing to its negligible lysine content. Plasma IAA concentration significantly increased after WPI intake (P = 0.0319), whereas no effect of zein on aminoacidemia was observed, including plasma leucine, despite its high leucine content. Conclusions: Our findings provide data on ileal digestibility of WPI and zein AAs in healthy humans and, in contrast to WPI, zein is poorly digestible. This study was registered at as NCT03279211.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - 5:08:30 PM
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Juliane Calvez, Simon Benoit, Julien Piedcoq, Nadezda Khodorova, Dalila Azzout-Marniche, et al.. Very low ileal nitrogen and amino acid digestibility of zein compared to whey protein isolate in healthy volunteers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, American Society for Nutrition, 2020, ⟨10.1093/ajcn/nqaa274⟩. ⟨hal-03010444⟩