Nucleotides improve the balance of bacteria in the intestines of infants

July 10, 2008

     Nucleotides are ingredients found in some foods and breast milk. They are thought to be important for growth, repair, and differentiation (normal cell growth) of the digestive tract.  Higher intake of Nucleotides may balance the intestinal bacteria and help prevent diarrhea in infants. 

     Infants were split into 3 groups with one group being breastfed (44 infants), one group receiving regular baby formula (37 infants) and one group receiving the same formula but with Nucleotides added. The supplementation lasted from birth until 20 weeks of age. At this point their stools were tested. The balance of intestinal bacteria in the sample from infants supplemented with Nucleotides was superior to those on normal formula and the Nucleotide fed babies had a similar balance of bacteria to those that were breastfed. The better balance of bacteria being richer in Bifidobacterium species could contribute to better intestinal tract development, its health, and its immune function.

     Participants in the study included the Childhood Nutrition Research Center, Institute of Child Health, London, United Kingdom (AS, JL, KK, and AL); the Dundee University Gut Group, Ninewells Hospital Medical School, Dundee, United Kingdom (GM and SM); the Leicester General Hospital NHS Trust, Leicester, United Kingdom (AE-J); and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Academic Division of Child Health, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom (TS).

     The study is published in the June 2008 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.