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Are Human Milk Oligosaccharides the Next Big Thing in Infant Formula Nutrition?

Infant Formula Product Development 

Broadly speaking we can divide infant formula product development and formulation into 3 stages which begins by selecting the basic macronutrient building blocks and relative concentrations and ratios of each of these key ingredients. From this basic foundation the product is refined and tailored to meet the specific needs of infants through the addition of various ingredients.
First Stage: focus on the appropriate amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates and other nutrients to guarantee the basic nutritional intake.
Second Stage: development of a more refined product containing a wider range of substances like nucleotides, special fatty acids, choline etc. and with a protein/fatty acid proportion adjusted to reflect recent advances made in infant nutritional science.

Third Stage: In recent years there has been significant progress in scientific understanding of important compounds found in human breast milk. The commercialization of this R&D has resulted in state of the art infant formula containing ingredients designed to mimic human milk. Examples include OPO, improve GOS + FOS prebiotic combination, add lutein etc.
HMOs: an overview
Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMO) constitute a family of more than 1,000 different sugars naturally occurring in human milk. They are made up of five monomers: (D-glucose (Glc), D-galactose (Gal), N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), L-fucose (Fuc) and sialic acid (Sia)). After lactose and lipids and excluding water, they are breast milk’s third most abundant component. Their importance in the growth of infants is fundamental and their irreplaceable role in developing a normal GI microbiome in newborns has been scientifically proven.

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