INFANT

NUTRITION*

The first few years of life is a period of rapid growth and development. In adolescence too, the body undergoes a growth and development spurt. These two periods in life provide a prime opportunity to set the stage for long-term health and optimal nutrition is key.

The early life nutrition category is very dynamic and known for its pioneering research. It continuously incorporates new findings into products that can support the health and wellbeing of an increasing number of people around the world including the adolescent.


While several of the latest insights that can help pave the way towards good nutrition from birth into adolescence are availbale at this link, here is the commentary article by Sandra Einerhand, Award Winning Nutrition Consultant and Founder of Einerhand Science & Innovation.



    INGEBORG BOVEE, Program Manager Benefi t Platform Growth and Development - FrieslandCampina

    UNDURTI N DAS, President & CEO - UND Life Sciences

    CARLY JANSSEN, Project manager clinical trials - FrieslandCampina

    HENNA-MARIA KAILANTO, Senior Scientist - IFF

    URSZULA KUDLA, Innovation CR Manager - FrieslandCampina

    ARTHUR C. OUWEHAND, Technical Fellow - IFF

    PANELISTS

    Nicola D'Anzi

    Savio Industrial S.r.l. | Italia

    Bio...

    For infants, breast milk remains the best nutrition, a result of millions of years of evolution. It is the target reference for development of infant formulas.


    Breast milk contains many complex proteins, lipids and carbohydrates, the concentrations of which vary dramatically during a single feeding occasion, as well as throughout lactation, to reflect the infant’s needs. Furthermore, the composition of breast milk is affected by many factors including maternal body weight, their (vegan/vegetarian) diet, geographical location, circadian rhythm, smoking habits, disease, and as a result there isn’t a single breast milk reference. Over the last two years, more than 30 systematic reviews have been published illustrating how complex breast milk really is.


    As China is an interesting market, two of these recent systematic reviews focused specifically on the breast milk composition in Chinese women. The first one aimed to identify regional differences/similarities in fatty acid profile (1). Surprisingly, ratios of saturated-, mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids were similar among regions and so were the levels of palmitic, oleic, and linoleic acids, together accounting for more than 70% of all fatty acids in mature human milk. In contrast, concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, ALA and DHA, varied significantly.


    The other systematic review focused on changes during lactation in bioactive proteins in human milk of the Chinese population. It found several immunoglobulins, as well as α-lactalbumin, lactoferrin, and β-casein decreased over time, whereas lysozyme increased (2). Patterns of several other proteins were less clear, mainly caused by lack of data. It is important to note that these changes in bioactive proteins in the Chinese population are similar to those in other populations in the world. Understanding the components of breast milk and their functions will allow for the improvement of clinical and feeding practices, and inspire new product development.

    BREAST MILK REFERENCE: A MOVING TARGET

    Interest in mimicking the composition of breast milk continues to drive innovation in the infant nutrition category, with the prebiotic human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) as the star ingredient. Although breast milk contains more than a hundred different HMOs, addition of two of the most significant breast milk-identical HMOs has only recently become possible due to new production abilities making it feasible to add them to formulas.
    The latest development in this area is the launch of an infant formula containing 5 HMOs including both neutral (fucosylated/non-fucosylated) and sialylated HMOs. This brings more diversity and adds sialic acid to the mix. Sialic acid is an essential component of mucins, glycoproteins and gangliosides, and therefore important for the function of cell membranes, membrane receptors and the normal development of the brain (3).


    To date, two intervention studies have been carried out with two different mixes of 5 HMOs (4, 5). Both studies demonstrated safety and tolerance in the first months of life of term infants. Future studies will have to demonstrate if these 5 HMOs show added benefits over the use of 1 or 2 HMOs.


    Apart from using a more diverse mix of HMOs, new innovations also include the use of probiotics in combination with HMOs as pointed out by Kailanto and co-workers in this issue (6). To gain synergistic effects with HMOs, the first choice would be dietary introduction of HMO-utilizing microbes that survive the passage to infant gut like Bifidobacteria as discussed in detail in the paper by Kailanto and Ouwehand (6).



    HUMAN MILK OLIGOSACCHARIDE DIVERSITY AND COMBINATIONS WITH PROBIOTICS

    Young child formulas are increasing in popularity and grabbing a larger share of market growth and new product launches. These supplementary formulas are designed for children one to three years old specifically to avoid micronutrient deficiencies. Micronutrient deficiency is a major public health problem that even in industrialized countries contributes to the global burden of disease. Iron deficiency and vitamin D deficiency are among the most common micronutrient deficiencies in young children worldwide. A large multicentre study demonstrated that using micronutrient-fortified young child formula for 20 weeks preserved iron status and improved vitamin D status in healthy young children in Western Europe (7).


    In this issue Kudla and co-workers (8) highlight the flexibility of a young child formula. It can be fortified according to specific needs of a given population. Therefore, well-designed young child formulas potentially can enable healthy development of young children, especially when complementary foods may not provide sufficient quality or variety to satisfy the needs of a growing child.


    To date these young child formulas are mostly cow’s milk based, but given the fact that the mainstream consumer is moving towards more plant-based or dairy-alternative diets, it is just a matter of time before young child formulas will include more plant-based or even cell-based ingredients. To date, both plant proteins and cell-based ingredients such as lactoferrin and HMOs are being investigated for their suitability in young child formulations (9-11).



    YOUNG CHILD FORMULAS ARE FLEXIBLE AND GOING GREEN

    Young child formulas are increasing in popularity and grabbing a larger share of market growth and new product launches. These supplementary formulas are designed for children one to three years old specifically to avoid micronutrient deficiencies. Micronutrient deficiency is a major public health problem that even in industrialized countries contributes to the global burden of disease. Iron deficiency and vitamin D deficiency are among the most common micronutrient deficiencies in young children worldwide. A large multicentre study demonstrated that using micronutrient-fortified young child formula for 20 weeks preserved iron status and improved vitamin D status in healthy young children in Western Europe (7).


    In this issue Kudla and co-workers (8) highlight the flexibility of a young child formula. It can be fortified according to specific needs of a given population. Therefore, well-designed young child formulas potentially can enable healthy development of young children, especially when complementary foods may not provide sufficient quality or variety to satisfy the needs of a growing child.


    To date these young child formulas are mostly cow’s milk based, but given the fact that the mainstream consumer is moving towards more plant-based or dairy-alternative diets, it is just a matter of time before young child formulas will include more plant-based or even cell-based ingredients. To date, both plant proteins and cell-based ingredients such as lactoferrin and HMOs are being investigated for their suitability in young child formulations (9-11).



    *Article previously published in Agro Food Industry Hi Tech, January/February 2021, vol. 32(3).

    ADOLESCENT FORMULAS ARE IN FOCUS

    REFERENZE

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    EDIZIONE SPONSORIZZATA DA

    SANDRA EINERHAND

    Einerhand Science & Innovation | The Netherlands

    Bio...