Let's talk immunity!
The immune system plays an essential role in protecting an infant from illness. But it is complex; the way an infant’s immune system develops and functions depends on a variety of elements, many of which are not yet fully understood. What we do know is that for a new-born, breast milk offers the most important source of defence , because it contains protective proteins such as immunoglobulins and lactoferrin, alongside human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) and long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs)  . These compounds impact the immune system in a number of different ways, from demonstrating anti-pathogenic effects and supporting gut barrier function, to balancing microbiota and modulating the immune system .
At FrieslandCampina Ingredients we believe that delivering the right combination of nutrients with the right mechanisms makes all the difference in building and strengthening infant immunity. That’s why we offer a broad range of ingredients that all offer their own specific potential to support the infant immune system [5-41].
Immunity is of top priority for parents
Immunity is of top priority for parents
According to a recent global survey, 59% of parents are concerned about their infant’s immune health, which makes immune health the Number 1 concern amongst parents of 0-1 year olds. Parents indicate that immune-related symptoms such as diarrhoea, runny nose, cough and fever have affected their children most frequently in the last six months.
Important immunity mechanisms in early life
When a baby is born, its immune system has not yet fully matured. During the final stage of pregnancy and when breast feeding, the baby receives a certain amount of bioactive proteins (e.g. immunoglobulins) from the mother, which offers a great start when it comes to inhibiting pathogens .
However, those bioactive protein levels decrease within a few months following birth, and are absent entirely if breast feeding is not possible. In such cases, it’s all the more important that a new-born’s immune system develops quickly and grows strong to protect the infant when exposed to pathogens and other external threats. As 70% of the immune system is in the gut , gut health plays an important role in immunity. In other words: the inside matters, and the immune system needs to be built with the right support from within.
From a scientific standpoint, there are four key elements that help to build and strengthen the immune system, via different but interactive mechanisms: microbiota, gut barrier, anti-pathogenic effects and immune modulation [2,4]. Some specific nutrients in human milk support these 4 mechanisms, in one way or another 
Features DHA and ARA, involved in the prevention of common respiratory complaints and diarrhoea38,39. These fatty acids steer cells of the adaptive immune system40 and assist in gut barrier integrity41
Supports the development of the immune system via its potential role in gut maturation6,7,9, gut barrier function5,8 and by reducing the risk of infections10-13
Can support immunity by stimulating the growth of Bifidobacteria28,29, reducing the risk of infections30-33, and via its potential anti-inflammatory effect35,36 and role in gut maturation34.
Can strengthen immunity by reducing the risk of infections14-20and may play an important role in immune modulation45,46
Supports immunity by stimulating growth of healthy bacteria (e.g. Bifidobacteria) in the infant gut21,22, reducing the risk of infections23-25, supporting gut barrier function26,27 and modulating immunity42,43,44
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