Explaining the Use of Elemental Diets for Infants With Type 1 SMA

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by Wendy Henderson |

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In this FightSMA video shared in July 2011, Pediatric Clinical Nutritionist Erin Seffrood explains the Elemental Diet, including what it consists of and how it may benefit children who have spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

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Also known as the Amino Acid Diet, the Elemental Diet focuses on special formulas where the body can quickly absorb the protein instead of having to break down long-chain proteins. This quick absorption of free amino acids means that the proteins can go straight to muscle tissue where it is most needed.

Seffrood discusses some of the free amino acid brands of formula available and how it can be mixed with other foods such as baby foods, breast milk, and other formulas to ensure a good all-around nutritional diet. She also explains that most babies with SMA have no problem with digesting normal long-chain proteins found in regular formula and breast milk, but tend to transition in their second year. However, because amino acid formulas tend to be low in fat, these need to be supplemented with high-fat foods to ensure brain development continues.

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