Milk Fat-Globules Make Infant Formula Almost as Nutritious as Mother’s Milk

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The pediatric nutritional research is trying to come up with a new infant formula similar in composition to human milk to better meet the needs of formula-fed infants. An ongoing study published in BMC Pediatrics speculates that addition of bMFGM ingredient in infant formula may improve growth and cognitive developments in infants shedding light on neuro-developmental outcomes in infants.

The literature in pediatric research reveals that milk fat globule membranes (MFGM) have a molecule which is found in human milk. It implicates that addition of milk source component called bovine milk fat globule membranes (bMFGM) to infant formula may improve the health outcomes in growth and cognition. The study hopes that it will considerably narrow down the gap between human breast-fed infants and formula-fed infants.

Source: CDC.

In females the first 1000 days from the time of conception to the two years of postnatal childbirth are considered very critical as this time plays an essential role in health of the child. The study explains that during this time period, sufficient mental and physical health of mother as well as adequate nutrition of infant play a significant role in linear growth of baby, cognitive and intellectual development, and healthy metabolism. These health outcomes lay foundation for a strong immune system in child and reduces the vulnerability of developing diseases.

Human milk feeding for infants is considered a gold standard to ensure health. It promises healthy nutrition as well as healthy growth and development of a child. Relative to non-breastfed infants, infants who are fed human milk are at a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, childhood obesity, and high blood pressure as well as cognitive impairments.

Source: CDC.
Source: CDC.

The Chilean infant Nutrition Trial (ChiNuT)

The ChiNuT study is a double-blinded, randomized, control pediatric trial. The goal of the study is to access how supplementing infant formula with bMFGM affects infants’ health, physical growth and brain development during their early infancy, first year of development. The study divided infants into two groups: a reference group of infants feeding on mother’s milk (200 infants), and infants feeding infants formula before their 4 months of age (340 infants). The latter group was divided into (I) infants feeding on bMFGM test formula group receiving cow’s milk or simple formula with source of bMFGM and (II) infants feeding on standard infant formula. All groups were followed for 24 months of age and were assessed for brain and body health and development. The study also assessed the secondary health outcomes during this time period such as cognitive developmental outcomes including memory, learning, language, sensory processing, sleep-wake cycle, and health outcomes including level of micro-nutrients beneficial for bodily growth in addition to adverse effects.

The study states,

Addition of bMFGM to infant formula has already demonstrated potential beneficial effects with respect to neurodevelopment, infectious diseases, and cholesterol metabolism; however human studies have been scarce and have used different MFGM fractions limiting the generalizability of the findings.

Source: CDC.

Regardless of the World Health Organization recommendation of breastfeeding infants until they are 6 months old, only up to 40% of infants get to feed the mother’s milk. There are multiple reasons that predispose toward this ratio. Therefore, there is a need for interventions in pediatric research in this domain to reduce the gap between breastfeeding kids and formula feeding kids regarding neurological developmental outcomes.

Source: ResearchGate

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