Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

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

Date:
February 29, 2012
Source:
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Summary:
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 studies report.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. H. D. Holscher, K. L. Faust, L. A. Czerkies, R. Litov, E. E. Ziegler, H. Lessin, T. Hatch, S. Sun, K. A. Tappenden. Effects of Prebiotic-Containing Infant Formula on Gastrointestinal Tolerance and Fecal Microbiota in a Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 2012; 36 (1 Suppl): 95S DOI: 10.1177/0148607111430087
  2. H. D. Holscher, L. A. Czerkies, P. Cekola, R. Litov, M. Benbow, S. Santema, D. D. Alexander, V. Perez, S. Sun, J. M. Saavedra, K. A. Tappenden. Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12 Enhances Intestinal Antibody Response in Formula-Fed Infants: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Trial. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 2012; 36 (1 Suppl): 106S DOI: 10.1177/0148607111430817

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "New infant formula ingredients boost babies' immunity by feeding their gut bacteria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120229155540.htm>.
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. (2012, February 29). New infant formula ingredients boost babies' immunity by feeding their gut bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120229155540.htm
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "New infant formula ingredients boost babies' immunity by feeding their gut bacteria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120229155540.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins