Bioactive ingredients of infant formula and follow-on milk and infant formula

Prijelazna mliječna formula

Following the example of breast milk containing numerous bioactive ingredients, ingredients based on long-term research have recently been added to milk formulas that are identical or have a largely similar effect to bioactive substances from breast milk. This is an attempt to bring the milk formula as close as possible to breast milk. Breast milk contains more than 200 bioactive ingredients that are excreted depending on the time of lactation and the interaction of mother and child.

The most important group of micronutrients that replace the bioactive ingredients of breast milk are:

  • prebiotics
  • probiotics
  • postbiotics
  • symbiotics
  • HMO (human milk oligosaccharides) oligosaccharides of breast milk

Overall, some of them, prebiotics and HMO, do not belong to micronutrients in terms of their amounts, but to carbohydrates in terms of chemical composition, but when we look at them functionally, they are in the group of micronutrients that mimic the effects of bioactive substances from breast milk. Their link is that they participate in the maintenance and modulation of the intestinal microflora, i.e., the intestinal microbiota in infants and young children.

Another significant group of functional micronutrients are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, most commonly abbreviated LCP or LC-PUFA, engl. long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid. The most important in this group are:

docosahexanoic acid DHA, which belongs to the group ω omega – 3
arachidonic acid AA, which belongs to the group ω omega – 6
Although they are often considered essential, the body can synthesize them on their own, but in periods of accelerated growth, which include infants up to one year and a small child up to the age of three, the need for them is significantly higher than in other periods. Their ratios are often discussed in the scientific community

They are often mixed with their basic building blocks, which are:

α (alpha) -linoleic acid with an acid that is in the group ω (omega) 3 acid and a precursor of docosahexaenoic acid
linoleic acid which is in the group ω (omega) 6acids and is a precursor of arachidonic acid
Linoleic and alpha linoleic acid are essential, ie the body cannot synthesize them on its own and they are ingested through food, ie through vegetable oils, nuts and various seeds.

Other important micronutrients that do not belong to vitamins and minerals are:

  • taurine
  • choline
  • inositol
  • nucleotides
  • l-carnitine

In addition to the micronutrients described so far, breast milk contains, as bioactive components, about 200 different compounds. Among them are various enzymes, hormones and growth factors, which take over their tasks in a highly specialized way in a very complex network of early child development.

In addition, breast milk contains products of the mother’s immune system such as certain immune cells and immunoglobulins – especially IgA and IgM, which help maintain health and build an immature immune system in infants and young children.

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