For over 20 years, Vitaflo® has been at the forefront of developing innovative specialized clinical nutrition products for Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEM), nutrition support and disease specific conditions such as renal disease.
Our dedicated experts have over 30 years’ experience in producing specialist nutritional products. Working in partnership with world key opinion leaders and patients, Vitaflo’s aim is to create products that combine the best of cutting edge research with the lifestyle demands of modern living, ensuring the most acceptable products are available for the patient.
Vitaflo’s research and development team constantly endeavor to use the latest process technology, raw materials and packaging to guarantee we offer the most nutritionally up-to-date and acceptable consumer-friendly products. Vitaflo conducts clinical trials on all our products with leading centers around the world.
Vitaflo’s committed Quality Assurance department ensures the highest standards are observed at every stage in getting the product from product development to the individual consumer.
We live in an ever-changing world. Vitaflo strives to be the customer-responsive company. By constantly evolving to meet patient needs, Vitaflo will continue to develop products which offer patients choice and help support them in complying with restrictive therapeutic diets.
Clinical nutrition is the application of the nutritional science to aid in the dietary management of individuals or groups of individuals with established illness or at risk of illness. The focus of clinical nutrition may be general (e.g. helping ensure an unwell person gets all the nutrients they need) or specific (e.g. modifying an individual’s diet in line with the specific nutritional requirements imposed on them by a disease or disorder).
The term ‘metabolism’ refers to the countless chemical reactions that take place in our bodies every day. Although we tend to be completely unaware of these reactions, if any of them go wrong (a metabolic disorder), it can make us unwell.
Three of the main categories of metabolic disorders are as follows;
- Disorders of protein metabolism – Problems with the way our bodies handle protein in the diet (e.g. meat, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, etc).
- Disorders of fat (lipid) metabolism – Problems with the way our bodies handle fat in the diet.
- Disorders of carbohydrate metabolism – Problems with the way our bodies handle carbohydrate (starchy and sugary foods) in the diet
Metabolic disorders are rare. For example, in the UK, one of the more common disorders, Phenylketonuria (PKU), only occurs in 1 in every 10,000 births. However, when all of the metabolic disorders are considered as a group, they are a significant number of cases in childhood and beyond.
PKU, or Phenylketonuria, is a disorder of protein metabolism. Protein is made up of several building blocks called amino acids. In PKU, the body cannot properly handle one of the amino acids called phenylalanine. Unless properly managed, individuals with PKU will get high levels of phenylalanine. Early diagnosis of PKU allows treatment to start early and this helps prevent the build up of high levels of phenylalanine.
In many countries, national screening for PKU is in place. This means that every baby born is tested for raised levels of phenylalanine in their blood a few days after they are born. If raised levels are detected, further tests take place to confirm the diagnosis of PKU.
PKU is successfully managed with a diet. There are several elements to dietary management but the main aim is to prevent the build up of phenylalanine. As phenylalanine is a building block of protein, phenylalanine levels are kept low by eating a very low amount of dietary protein. Specially manufactured protein substitutes are used, in combination with the small allowance of dietary protein, to ensure an adequate intake of protein. Protein is important for growth and development.
Dietary management of PKU also commonly involves the use of specially manufactured low protein foods.
Disorders of fat metabolism are rare metabolic disorders. They are caused by enzymes in the body not working properly. Fat is a crucial source of energy (fuel) for the body. In fatty acid oxidation disorders (FAODs), there is an inability to release the energy from fat and this can lead to ill health.
The most common type of fat in our diets is called long-chain triglycerides (LCT). Sometimes individuals with disorders of fat metabolism can benefit by replacing some of the LCT we eat with a different type of fat called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).
Carbohydrates in our diets tend to be split into two categories;
- Starchy foods (bread, rice and pasta, etc)
- Sugary foods (sugar, honey, jam)
Our bodies use carbohydrates for energy. In disorders of carbohydrate metabolism, it may be difficult for our bodies to get the energy from carbohydrate or other problems with the body's handling of carbohydrate may exist.
Malnutrition occurs when an individual’s diet does not provide them with all the nutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fats, vitamins, minerals and trace elements) they need to keep them healthy. Disease-related malnutrition occurs when illness is the main factor leading to malnutrition or when illness complicates or worsens existing malnutrition.
There are certain groups of people that are more likely to become malnourished. These include those over the age of 65 years especially if they live in a care home, those with long term conditions such as cystic fibrosis and liver disease, people with cancer, people who abuse alcohol and / or drugs, people with swallowing problems (e.g. after a stroke), after surgery and those on low incomes. Older people may become malnourished gradually if poor health begins to affect their ability to feed themselves properly. Malnutrition then, in turn, makes their health worse.
The most visible signs of malnutrition are impaired growth and development in children or significant unintended weight loss in adults.
Malnutrition can also lead to problems such as tiredness, weakness and a decreased ability to fight infections. Longer term it can lead to skin and teeth problems, difficulty concentrating and fragile bones.
The main treatment option for somebody who is able to eat normally is to provide food that contains a high amount of the nutrients they require. However, in many cases even with the correct types of food insufficient amounts are consumed. In these individuals, high energy/high protein supplements can be used to improve the person’s dietary intake. These can be consumed like a drink although the use of concentrated supplements taken in small doses like a medicine is also common. In more severe cases a feeding tube can be used to provide nutrients directly into the digestive system.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are types of dietary fat. Specific Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (also known as AA and DHA) are thought to confer health benefits throughout life;
- Aiding eye development in young babies
- Helping keep adult hearts healthy
- Benefiting foetal development in pregnant women
Although some Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats can be made by the body, others must be taken in the diet as the body cannot make them.
The restrictive nature of some therapeutic diets (e.g. those used for many metabolic disorders) may make it very hard for patients to consume enough Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats using regular food. Separate supplements may be required.
Vitaflo products are normally received on prescription after consulting with a relevant healthcare professional