Navigation Links
New infant formula ingredients boost babies' immunity by feeding their gut bacteria

URBANA Adding prebiotic ingredients to infant formula helps colonize the newborn's gut with a stable population of beneficial bacteria, and probiotics enhance immunity in formula-fed infants, two University of Illinois studies report.

"The beneficial bacteria that live in a baby's intestine are all-important to an infant's health, growth, and ability to fight off infections," said Kelly Tappenden, a U of I professor of nutrition and gastrointestinal physiology. "Breast-fed babies acquire this protection naturally. Formula-fed infants get sick more easily because the bacteria in their gut are always changing."

The idea is to make formula more like breast milk by promoting the sorts of intestinal bacteria that live in breast-fed babies' intestines, she added.

Prebiotics are carbohydrates that resist digestion by human enzymes and stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

Probiotics are actual live bacteria that are beneficial to intestinal health, she said.

Infants have a special need for stimulation of their gut microbiota because they are born with a sterile intestine, Tappenden said.

"A strong, robust population of microbes in the gut provides colonization resistance, and pathogens can't invade and infect an infant who has that resistance as easily," she added.

The researchers compared the effects of feeding pre- and probiotics with infants fed breast milk and control formulas. They also compared the enhanced formulas' effects in both vaginally and Caesarean-delivered babies.

"The probiotic formula significantly enhanced immunity in formula-fed infants," Tappenden said.

Also, babies delivered by C-section had an especially improved immune response, an important finding because C-section babies are a more vulnerable group, she said.

Why? "Babies delivered naturally are exposed to the mother's bacteria as they travel through the birth canal, and they develop a healthier population of gut bacteria as a result. Babies delivered by C-section enter a sterile environment, and their gut microbiota is quite different," Tappenden noted.

In the probiotics study, scientists at five sites divided 172 healthy six-week-old infants into two formula-fed groups and a breast-fed group. Beginning at six weeks of age, the formula-fed groups received either a control formula or a formula that contained the beneficial bacteria Bifidobacterium animalis subspecies lactis (Bb12) for a six-week period. The infants receiving the probiotic formula had increased concentrations of secretory, anti-rotavirus, and anti-poliovirus-specific immunoglobulin A (IgA).

Fecal samples from babies receiving the probiotic formula revealed significantly heightened immunity, especially among Caesarian-delivered infants, Tappenden said

Infants who consumed the formula containing the prebiotic ingredients also benefited. In that study, 139 healthy babies were divided into three groups. Breast-fed infants were compared with babies fed either a control formula or a formula supplemented with galacto- and fructo-oligosaccharides for six weeks.

Oligosaccharides, found in breast milk, contribute to the healthy population of bacteria found in the guts of breast-fed infants.

When fecal samples were tested, babies fed the prebiotic formula showed modest improvement in the number of beneficial bacteria and decreases in the types of bacteria that are often associated with illness.

Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Related biology news :

1. Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital expand national childrens study to Bristol County
2. Biomarkers for identifying infant infections
3. Baby talk: The roots of the early vocabulary in infants learning from speech
4. UNC, Yale partner to study effects of cocaine use on mother-infant relationships
5. UNC expands brain imaging study of infants at risk for autism
6. Vitamin D deficiency in infants and nursing mothers carries long-term disease risks
7. Benefits of breastfeeding outweigh risk of infant exposure to environmental chemicals in breastmilk
8. New infant formula safety advice could prevent infant suffering
9. New infant feeding and obesity research adds insight to ongoing issue
10. Research exposes the risk to infants from the chemicals used in liquid medicines
11. New evidence explains poor infant immune response to certain vaccines, says MU researcher
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/8/2015)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Oct. 8, 2015 ... leading developer of human interface solutions, announced today ... first quarter of fiscal 2016 on Thursday, October ... company will host a corresponding conference call for ... p.m. ET), during which management may discuss forward-looking ...
(Date:10/6/2015)... 6, 2015 Track Group, Inc. (OTCQX: TRCK), ... has signed a contract with the Virginia Department of ... range of sentences under the Department,s oversight. ... "This contract with the Virginia DOC will expand our ... advances our position as a trusted leader in offender ...
(Date:9/30/2015)... Sept. 30, 2015  With nearly 300,000 Americans living ... new SCIs estimated to reach 12,500 annually, the role ... Resource Services for Independent Living (SCRS-IL) is increasingly ... California opening doors to independence for ... and services, notably assistive technology services and education. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)...  Cepheid (Nasdaq: CPHD ) today announced preliminary ... --> --> Based on ... quarter of 2015 is expected to be approximately $126.5 ... be approximately $(0.32) for the third quarter.  Based on ... for the third quarter of 2015 is expected to ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... for production, culture, and assessment of organotypic 3D cell culture models, has launched ... for contract screening in their patent-pending 3D InSightâ„¢ Human Liver Microtissues. The ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... Research and Markets( ) has announced ... for Bone Morphogenetic Protein Growth Factor Therapy - 16 ... --> --> Bone morphogenetic proteins ... bone after a fracture. In nature, these proteins have ... of the skeleton. There are twenty different BMPs that ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ALBANY, New York , October 13, 2015 ... Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2015 - 2023 " ... bn in 2014 and is anticipated to reach US$7.59 bn by ... from 2015 to 2023. --> " Microbiology Culture ... 2015 - 2023 " , the global microbiology ...
Breaking Biology Technology: