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NZMP: GOS infant nutrition ingredient found to help protect against infection

A study has found that NZMP SureStart BifidoB 019 supplemented formula can help reduce physician-confirmed infections as well as the need for prescribed antibiotic or antiviral medication in infants aged 6-15 months consuming the formula relative to an unsupplemented control group.

“The BifidoB 019 research gives pediatric nutrition brands the ability to offer new benefits, giving their consumers’ confidence in the product they are purchasing,” says Fonterra Program Manager Nutrition and Health, Dr. James Dekker. “Research also shows that SureStart BifidoB 019 can help to support digestive health and immune function in infants. The ingredient survives transit through the infant gut and can help to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract.”

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can provide health benefits when they are consumed in the right amounts. NZMP probiotics, like SureStart BifidoB 019, are developed to meet three criteria; safety, efficacy and stability, he adds.

NZMP, Fonterra’s B2B ingredients brand, reports that SureStart BifidoB 019 with prebiotic Galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) has been clinically proven to help reduce infections in toddlers and the incidence of early childhood morbidities, including:

  • 35 percent reduction in incidence of severe acute lower respiratory infections.
  • 24 percent reduction in incidence of pneumonia.
  • 21 percent reduction in incidence of dysentery episodes.
  • 16 percent reduction in days/duration with severe illness.
  • 5 percent reduction in days/duration with high fever.

Pediatric nutrition manufacturers using SureStart BifidoB 019 can apply to use the SureStart on pack mark on their products. This gives them an opportunity to differentiate their products by highlighting specific ingredients that are backed by science, a company statement reports.

Breast milk is the ideal source of nutrition for infants, the statement continues. However, for infants whose mothers cannot, or choose not to, breastfeed, breast milk substitutes are recognized by the World Health Organisation as safe and nutritious alternatives to breast milk.

“We know that parents want to give their babies the best start to life and when breastfeeding isn’t possible they are looking for safe alternatives that are modelled on the composition and function of human milk,” Dekker tells.

Speaking about the key benefits parents are seeking, Dekker notes that these haven’t changed drastically in recent years.

“[These ]include brain development, immune protection and digestive comfort. But parents are also looking for assurance of safety, supply chain security, provenance and naturalness. Organic offerings are becoming more sought after. The way consumers are shopping is also moving, with greater use of technology to find information and following this by purchasing online,” he notes.

According to Dekker, NZMP is still seeing innovation in pediatric ingredients despite increasingly rigorous regulatory requirements.

“There are developments in lipids ingredients such as MFGM lipids and OPO (Oleic and Palmitic Fatty Acid Structure) with benefits for brain and cognition, immune health and digestive comfort, as well as more science around the benefits of pre- and probiotics for protection and gut function, and the growing area of human milk-like oligosaccharides to help achieve an infant formula composition that is more similar to breastmilk,” he says.

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