Early Life Nutrition

Digestive Comfort for Infants


Digestion and digestive (dis)comfort of infants is for most parents top of mind, as the majority of the infants suffers from gastro-intestinal (GI) complaints. Certain ingredients in infant formula can help to ease this, and one of them is milk fat.

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Recently, a new study1 showed that infants consuming infant formula with milk fat experienced improved gut comfort, softer stools, and less GI symptoms (like flatulence, burping and diarrhea). Also they showed less crying during the night. When examining their feces, it was found that a lower amount of insoluble fatty acid – calcium soaps were measured, which are associated with hard stools.

The study compared a commercial infant formula with added milk fat, with infant formulas based on only palm-oil free vegetable fat blends and/or synthetic vegetable lipids. These fat sources differ in their overall triglyceride composition and structure. As can be observed in the graphic, the positioning of the fatty acids on the glycerol backbone of the triglycerides, influences digestion and absorption of fat.

The findings of this study contribute to the current understanding of the association between structure of the fat and gut comfort parameters measured in infants. However the suggested benefits noted cannot be fully linked to only the effect of fat blend differences, since these formulas differ in other ingredients as well as their processing. Future research should confirm the added benefit of milk fat-based infant formulas to improve gut comfort in infants.

Do you want to know more about digestive health and gut comfort for infants? Let us know, we’re happy to discuss this further with you.

The full article can be accessed via this link. [http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/APJCN/29/1/144.pdf]

References: 1Sheng et al., 2020, Reduced crying and favourable stool characteristics in Chinese infants fed milk fat-based formula, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 29(1) 144-151

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