Bioactive ingredients, in general, are, according to professional definitions, ingredients of breast milk or substitutes for it, as well as any other food that affects the biological process, and have an impact on the functioning and condition of the organism and ultimately significantly affect the health and development of the body, function or condition and ultimately health. Bioactive ingredients have long been neglected because most of them, except for prebiotics, come in very small quantities. Their number in breast milk is huge – only about 200 species of prebiotics have been identified so far, and other bioactive components have also been studied so far, about 200. Their roles in the functions and development of the organism are even more numerous.
Bioactive ingredients can be simply described as all ingredients that to some extent affect processes in the body such as the immune response to infection or the maturation and development of certain organ systems.
Recognition, measurement and detection and possibilities of their detection. The development and simplification of analytical methods has opened a real revolution in the research of individual bioactive components and defining their impact on health and development.
The major research institutes that study breast milk, of which there are only a few in the world, and those in the part of the industry that produces breast milk substitutes and supplements, are most responsible for recognizing certain components.
With all the efforts of research institutes for bioactive ingredients, there is still no complete replacement and therefore breast milk is irreplaceable and the best food for infants.
We must emphasize again that even today in professional circles and with parents, their influence in relation to the basic nutrients carbohydrates, fats and proteins, as well as vitamins and minerals is often neglected and minimized. The most common reasons for this are impatience and looking for visible results of applying something immediately to both doctors and parents.
The bioactive ingredients in human milk come from several sources:
- some are produced in mother cells that produce milk
- some cells produce – probiotics that are inside the milk itself
- others take it from the mother’s blood serum and transmit it through the epithelium of the milk ducts,
- some come by receptor-mediated transport from different cells and intercellular space
Milk droplets in milk also carry with them a number of lipid-bound membrane proteins. Together, these methods produce a variety of bioactive components in human milk. Bioactive components are extremely diverse in terms of chemical composition and represent all types of organic compounds, from simple carbohydrates, proteins and fats to the most complex organic molecules.
The impact of bioactive ingredients is extremely broad. With their long-term presence, they significantly affect all the processes of health, growth and development of the child.
The most significant effects of bioactive ingredients in breast milk are:
- Foods for the intestinal microflora are most important to its balanced development
- They help with infections
- They improve the immune response of the intestinal mucosa
- They modulate the development of the nervous system and senses
- They affect the processes of digestion and absorption of nutrients
- They affect the processes of cell division and maturation
The most important group of micronutrients that replace the bioactive ingredients of breast milk are:
- Prebiotics (HMO) postbiotics and probioticrebiotics in this case mostly HMO – breast milk oligosaccharides
- Different growth factors – modulate cell maturation and division
- Hormones that regulate metabolism and growth, among which the most important is adiponectin, a multifunctional hormone that actively regulates metabolism and suppresses inflammation. And more important are leptin, resilin and ghrelin, which play a role in the growth, metabolism and mechanisms of hunger and satiety.
- Hormones regulating growth and development somatostatin and calcitonin that affect the rate of cell development
- Cytokines and chemokines are molecules that regulate intercellular communication
- Immunoglobulins as proteins of the immune system help with infections
- Taurine has a role in the development of the brain, vision and metabolic fat
- Choline helps build the cell membrane and plays a role in cell communication
- Inositol helps the development of brain cells, lungs and fat metabolism
- Nucleotides play a role in the reproduction of genetic material, support the function of the immune and digestive systems
- L-carnitine affects fat utilization processes
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