A recently published study from an EU-funded project[i] demonstrates that the prebiotic enrichment of infant formula milk with BENEO’s oligofructose-enriched inulin (Orafti®Synergy1) reduces the duration of infections in the first year of a baby’s life.
The study is part of the EARNEST[ii] project (EARly Nutrition programming-long term follow up of Efficacy and Safety Trials), an EU-funded integrated initiative. It was conducted across multiple sites and was a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. It involved 160 healthy term infants who were exclusively formula-fed and aged younger than 4 months at the outset of the study. The infant formula was either enriched with 0.8 g/100 mL of BENEO’s Orafti®Synergy1, a chicory root derived prebiotic, or an unsupplemented control formula. These were given until the babies were 12 months old.
The findings showed that both formulas were well-tolerated and safe. However, the babies that consumed the infant formula enriched with Orafti®Synergy1 had significantly shorter infection episodes, compared to the control group. In addition, the total daily crying time for those consuming the prebiotic formula was lower and their stools were significantly softer throughout the 12-month period.
Anke Sentko, Vice President Regulatory Affairs & Nutrition Communication at BENEO, comments: “The research results are especially exciting because they reflect the first year in a baby’s life for the first time and show that the duration of infections was significantly reduced by the group consuming formula enriched with Orafti®Synergy1. Without a doubt, this is good news for both babies and their parents. With the right choice of ingredients, formulas can be improved by enriching them with prebiotic oligofructose-enriched inulin and brought closer to the gold standard of breast-feeding.”
This is the third study using 0.8 g/100 mL Orafti®Synergy1 with infants proving safety, good tolerance and health benefits, but is the first study with Orafti®Synergy1 of such a long duration. It also adds to the growing evidence of the positive effects of prebiotics on a baby’s gut microbiota linked to their inner defense system. In this respect, a healthy colonization of the gut microbiota with beneficial bacteria seems to be of high importance for the proper development of the immune system.
As a recognized prebiotic, oligofructose-enriched inulin, BENEO’s Orafti®Synergy1, feeds beneficial Bifidobacteria in the gut and thus positively influences the microbiota. Breast-fed babies’ microbiota is characterized by a high count of Bifidobacteria, which positively influences the gut environment. While not every child is able to benefit from breast feeding, this study shows that with the prebiotic enrichment of infant formula, it is possible for them to gain a stronger inner defense system, improved stool consistency and other benefits.
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The BENEO-Institute is an organization which brings together BENEO’s expertise from Nutrition Science and Legislation teams. It acts as an advisory body for customers and partners reaching from ingredient approval, physiological effects and nutritional composition to communication and labelling. The key nutritional topics of the BENEO-Institute’s work include weight management, digestive health, bone health, physical and mental performance, the effects of a low glycaemic diet as well as dental health.
The BENEO-Institute facilitates access to the latest scientific research and knowledge throughout all nutritional and regulatory topics related to BENEO ingredients. It provides BENEO customers and partners with substantiated guidance for some of the most critical questions in the food industry. BENEO is a division of the Südzucker Group that employs more than 1,000 people and has production units in Belgium, Chile, Germany and Italy.
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[i] Neumer F, Urraca O, Alonso J, Palencia J, Varea V, Theis S, Rodriguez-Palmero M, Moreno-Muñoz JA, Guarner F, Veereman G, Vandenplas Y, Campoy C. Long-Term Safety and Efficacy of Prebiotic Enriched Infant Formula—A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2021; 13(4):1276. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13041276
[ii] EARNEST is an official abbreviation and stands for “EARly Nutrition programming-long term follow up of Efficacy and Safety Trials”