Scientists have found that whey permeate may make an important but low-cost difference in food aid products for undernourished children. According to the latest findings, the mineral-rich ingredient could prevent phosphate deficiency – a major health risk at the start of malnutrition treatment. Arla Foods Ingredients co-funded and provided whey permeate for the study.
Whey permeate is a rich source of phosphorus and other milk minerals such as potassium and magnesium. That makes it a potential solution to low phosphate levels in the blood, a key factor in refeeding syndrome, which can be a life-threatening condition when treating moderate acute malnutrition.
University of Copenhagen led the study to investigate the effect when a conventional food aid product – corn-soy blend – was fortified with three alternative sources of phosphorus: monocalcium phosphate, skimmed milk powder or whey permeate.
Conducted using a newly developed piglet model of undernourished children, the study showed a clear drop in blood phosphate during the first week of treatment with the corn-soya blend fortified with monocalcium phosphate.
In contrast, when the corn-soya blend was fortified with skimmed milk powder or whey permeate, there were improved levels of phosphate in the blood. As the least expensive of the two dairy ingredients, whey permeate is of particular interest and is now being investigated further.
Download the full published article from the study here.