Hazelnuts improve infant formulaMay 29, 2012
Casimir Akoh, a UGA distinguished research professor of food science and technology in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, developed a new nutrient based on hazelnut oil that better mimics the structure of mother's milk, which makes it better suited to nourish infants. The results of his study were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry on May 23.
"Human milk is the most valuable source of nutrients for infants," he said, "but it is not always possible to feed infants with human milk, and supplements and formula are needed."
Mothers naturally provide the healthful omega-3 fatty acid DHA, docosahexaenoic acid, and omega-6 fatty acid ARA, arachidonic acid, which are important-for the development of the brain and other organs-to infants during the last three months of pregnancy and through breast-feeding. Akoh's development of fats from hazelnut oil contains DHA and ARA at the same molecular positions found on fats in human milk.
"The fatty acid profile of human milk is the gold standard when designing the fat composition of infant formulas," he said. "The unique structure of human milk fat increases digestion and absorption of the fatty acids and improves calcium absorption."
Traditionally, infant formulas are made using vegetable oils combined with algae-derived DHA and ARA fatty acids. But infants may not digest algae-derived fatty acids efficiently as a physical mixture of two oils.
"If you add DHA oil with vegetable oil, then the fatty acid (palmitic) shows up at the ends of the molecule," he said, "and this is different (reversed) from how it is in the mother."
Even though breast milk and infant formulas both have saturated and unsaturated fats, the chemical makeup of a molecule of human milk is more digestible than a molecule found in formula. The molecular structure of breast milk fat has saturated fats surrounded by unsaturated fats. Formula has the opposite structure.
"Metabolism is different for physically blended vegetable oils in infant formula," he said. "When you digest these molecules, it is not the same. That is why we try to put these fatty acids together on the same molecule."
Akoh's design using hazelnuts includes all the components in one molecule. The new molecule also includes palmitic acid in the middle, which is found naturally in human milk fat and in the oleic acid in hazelnut oils.
"Other people use a blend of vegetable oil. With the palmitic acid at the top or bottom of the structure instead of the middle, they lose the energy they could get from the palmitic acid metabolism, and they also lose nutrients like calcium," he said.
When nutrients are digested, the molecules are broken down starting at the ends. "As saturated fatty acids, such as palmitic acid, are cut from the top and bottom, they combine with calcium to form calcium soap of the acid," Akoh said, "and you don't want soap in your body."
Adults and infants can benefit from the improved product.
"In general, American diets are very low in fish oils," he said. "We are not like the Eskimos who eat a lot of salmon or fatty fish and have DHA in their diets. So, even if we are breast-feeding, it might be advantageous for the mother to take a capsule as a supplement if they are not eating the fish so they can pass it on to the infant."
UGA is currently working to develop an infant formula using the modified molecule.
For the full article, see http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/jf3012272
University of Georgia
Related Human Milk Current Events and Human Milk News Articles
Human milk fat improves growth in premature infants
For premature infants, adequate growth while in the neonatal intensive care unit is an indicator of better long-term health and developmental outcomes.
How critically ill infants can benefit most from human milk
Human milk is infant food, but for sick, hospitalized babies, it's also medicine. That's the central premise of a series of articles in a neonatal nursing journal's special issue focused on human milk for sick newborns.
Many heavily breastfed infants not getting needed dietary diversity
Approximately three of every four Cincinnati infants heavily breastfeed after the age of six months is not obtaining the level of dietary diversity recommended by the World Health Organization.
First look at breast microbiota raises tantalizing questions
The female breast contains a unique population of microbes relative to the rest of the body, according to the first-ever study of the breast microbiome.
Study Shows Buying Breast Milk Online is Likely to Cause Illness in Infants
Results from a study led by researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital found more than three-fourths of breast milk samples purchased over the Internet contained bacteria that can cause illness, and frequently exhibited signs of poor collection, storage or shipping practices.
Breastfeeding may protect against persistent stuttering
A study of 47 children who began stuttering at an early age found that those who were breastfed in infancy were more likely to recover from stuttering and return to fluent speech.
New study reveals important role of insulin in making breast milk
Why do so many mothers have difficulty making enough milk to breastfeed? A new study by scientists at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of California Davis adds to their previous research implicating insulin's role in lactation success.
Prenatal DHA reduces early preterm birth, low birth weight
University of Kansas researchers have found that the infants of mothers who were given 600 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA during pregnancy weighed more at birth and were less likely to be very low birth weight and born before 34 weeks gestation than infants of mothers who were given a placebo.
Breast Milk Reduces Risk of Sepsis and Intensive Care Costs in Very-Low-Birth-Weight Infants
Feeding human breast milk to very-low-birth-weight infants greatly reduces risk for sepsis and significantly lowers associated neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) costs, according to a study by Rush University Medical Center researchers.
Results from study of Mead Johnson's Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Acidified Liquid published in Pediatrics
Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE: MJN) announced today results of a new study published in Pediatrics that shows Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Acidified Liquid supports significantly higher growth in premature infants than powdered fortifiers and is well-tolerated.
More Human Milk Current Events and Human Milk News Articles