• Clinical nutrition;
  • α-Glucans;
  • Maltodextrins;
  • RS;
  • Special formulas


α-Glucans are polysaccharides of D-glucose monomers linked by α-glycosidic bonds (starch, maltodextrin and maltose). The role of these compounds in human nutrition has been established mainly as an energy substrate, but other physiological effects have been widely described. In this review, we present the results from our systematic review of the principal scientific literature about the uses of α-glucans in special formulas for infant and clinical nutrition. Modifications of carbohydrate composition are used in special formulas for infants, with the aim of being used as nutritional treatment for minor digestive disorders (lactose intolerance, gastroesophageal reflux and gut immaturity of premature newborns). The role and uses of α-glucans in clinical nutrition, mainly RS, for treatment and prevention of constipation, colorectal cancer and diabetes has been reviewed.