News article

Study shows probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis can boost immune response in Formula-Fed Infants

Posted:  Friday, March 16, 2012

Although it is known that breastfeeding is best, there are times when a mother is not able to adequately feed her baby, or does not wish to breastfeed. In such circumstances, having a formula able to provide positive immune-related effects as well as the needed nutrition can have long-term health benefits.

A recent study aimed at investigating the effect of infant starter formula containing the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium lactis on intestinal immunity and inflammation has revealed that the inclusion of this probiotic can have a positive effect on the immune function of non-exclusively breastfed infants. 

The randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial studied two groups of healthy formula fed infants in parallel with a breastfed comparison group. 

The study showed that the negative immune-related effects of not breastfeeding and cesarean delivery can be mitigated by including Bifidobacterium lactis in infant formula; providing infants with a safe, dietary, immune-modulating bacterial introduction. 

While the study has some interesting implications for the future of infant formula, breast milk remains the ideal source of nutrition for infants, as it is also a source of secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA), as well as bacteria, which enhance both passive and active infant immunity – benefits that are not provided by the routine use of infant formula.

NNI has supported the publication of the study’s results. For further details, download a full copy of the study’s findings.

Want to know more about clinical trials to investigate the role of prebiotics and probiotics in supporting the intestinal microbiome and their consequences on health? Watch Prof. K.A. Tappenden’s presentation on the subject, available in the Online Conferences section of the NNI website.

Beginning with the pioneering work of Elli Metchnikov and ending with today’s clinical evidence and practical tips on how to select the right prebiotic and probiotic to maximize the clinical benefits for the patient, Tappenden tells the story of probiotics in the treatment of diverse disorders. 

Watch Tappenden’s talk – ‘Prebiotics and Probiotics in Clinical Practice’