Nucleotides improve the health of formula fed infants

October 24, 2007

Some infants cannot be fed or do not have a dependable supply of breast milk. A suitable replacement is necessary in these cases. A recent systematic analysis compares the ability of infant formulas supplemented with Nucleotides to improve infant health vs. formulas without Nucleotides. The systematic review with meta-analysis shows that infants supplemented with Nucleotides in their formula create a better, more robust antibody response to inoculation showing improved vigor of their immune system. There was also a big drop in the incidence of diarrhea in the Nucleotide supplemented infants. The study is published in the October 2007 supplement to the British Journal of Nutrition.

Prebiotics may improve intestinal inflammation

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a general term that refers to inflammation of the colon and rectum. IBD can lead to ulceration and severe symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss due to malabsorption, abdominal pain and bleeding from the digestive tract. The most common IBD's are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

In patients genetically susceptible to these conditions, an altered balance between commensal gut bacteria (simply put; the good living with the potentially bad bacteria) leads to the inflammation; the troublesome bacteria become dominant. This imbalance of bacterial activity occurs because of a weakened immune response in the cells lining the intestines but little information is available as to why this occurs.

The lack of balance between the friendly and the problematic bacteria has been found in the intestines of patients with either Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Prebiotics are food constituents not digested in the upper digestive tract nor absorbed as food. They are fermented by the healthy bacteria in the intestines changing the ecosystem in favor of recovery of their numbers. Experimental and human studies have shown that oligofructose stimulates the growth of the healthy bacteria, bifodobacteria and lactobacilli in the intestines. These effects are connected to decreased inflammation in the intestinal wall in animal studies of IBD. Strong evidence shows that oligofructose can help prevent or decrease inflammatory lesions in human Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis. Preliminary human clinical trials are providing very encouraging results. The study is published in the October 2007 supplement to the British Journal of Nutrition.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph. Oligofructose is created by the degradation of inulins in the intestine. FOS used in our flora products is a short chained version of oligofructose.