Today’s infant formulas are often fortified with prebiotics to better mimic properties of human milk with respect to its effect on intestinal microbiota composition and function.
Recent research used the latest high throughput sequencing technologies to investigate the differences in microbiota composition between infants receiving either breastmilk, current commercial infant formulas fortified with prebiotics, or mixed feeding. In addition there was a comparison made to infant formulas from 2002-2003 with no prebiotics.
The study reported that formulas with added prebiotics promoted a strong increase in the levels of intestinal beneficial bifidobacteria and resulted in microbial profiles resembling those found in healthy breastfed infants. The study was supported by Sensus via the Carbohydrate Competence Center and performed by Klaudyna Borewicz at the Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University.
“This pioneering research used intestinal samples from infants that were involved in two Dutch studies from 2002-2003 and 2015-2016, at University Hospital of Maastricht and Radboud University of Nijmegen, respectively”, says Elaine Vaughan in scientific & regulatory affairs at Sensus. “It clearly demonstrates the importance of the addition of prebiotics to infant formula to effectively mimic the bifidogenic effect in the intestine that would usually be present due to breastmilk feeding.”