The therapeutic and preventive effects of fermented milk products containing selected
strains of lactic acid bacteria on diseases such as infections, gastrointestinal
disorders, and food allergy have often been reported (1).
Interest in the use of live microbial agents for health maintenance and disease prevention
or treatment has exploded over the last few years.
Iron-deficiency anemia is considered to be a common nutritional deficiency disease
in infants and small children, in both developing and developed countries (1-3).
Anemia is the usual end point of iron deficiency, but nonheme effects also may contribute
to many of the clinical manifestations.
Iron, element 26 in the periodic table, is the fourth most abundant element in the
earth's crust. It also is the most abundant transition metal in the body (1), and an essential
factor for the growth and well-being of almost all living organisms (2).
Adults need nutrients to replace inevitable losses. Infants also need nutrients to replace
inevitable losses, but in addition, infants need nutrients for growth. In the case
of protein, the needs of the infant for growth are large relative to total needs.
The ideal feeding and optimal protein intake in very low birthweight infants during
the stable growth period after birth have been widely debated. The available foods
commonly used today in very low birthweight infants are as follows
Healthy human intestine is a complex and diverse microbial ecosystem, hosting more
than 400 bacterial species (1), concentrated mostly in the terminal ileum and the
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is an acquired syndrome affecting the gastrointestinal
tract, defined as "ischemic-inflammatory necrosis of the neonatal bowel." It is
one of the most severe pathologies that can affect preterm infants.
Human milk has unique properties, making exclusive breast feeding the best form of
nourishment for infants during the first 4-6 months of life. During this period, breast
milk alone covers all nutritional needs of the normal infant—that is, for energy,
macronutrients, and micronutrients including iron.
In 1915 Gerstenberger and Ruh (1) from Western Reserve University in Cleveland,
Ohio, USA, developed the first commercially manufactured infant formula called
"Synthetic Milk Adapted" or SMA (1).
Reference values and reference intervals, reference individuals or limits—all these
terms and their meanings have been discussed extensively since the 1980s.
Extensive animal data, largely on rats, show that nutrition at a vulnerable period of
brain development may have permanent effects on brain size, brain cell number, behavior,
learning capacity, and memory (1,2), and that brief periods of early dietary
manipulation also may have lifelong effects on neurodevelopment and health outcomes.
Nucleotides are low-molecular-weight biologic compounds that play a major part in
almost all biologic processes. Their main roles include the following (1-3)
Mammalian milk contains numerous secreted factors with wide-ranging biologic and
physicochemical activities. Cow's milk in the diet has been viewed primarily as a
source of nourishment through supply of amino acids; however, in addition to their
nutrient value, many milk proteins show biologic activity involved in the maintenance,
repair, and proliferation of cells.
The term "long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids" (LCPUFAs) is generally used to
refer to arachidonic acid (20:4n-6) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (22:6n-3),
which are derived from the two noninterconvertible dietary essential polyunsaturated
fatty acids (PUFAs), linoleic acid (18:2n-6) and a-linolenic acid (18:3n-3), respectively
The quality of the dietary fatty acid supply during early life is of increasing interest,
as lipids are structural components of all tissues and may play an important role in the
neurodevelopment of infants.
Dr. Raiha: We have now come to the end of the Workshop, and it is time to draw some conclusions.
I think maybe the most important one follows something that Dr. Saavedra said: that
we should really talk not about breast milk as the reference, but about the infant fed the breast
milk. Dr. Agostoni said something similar again today; he said that breast milk is not the same
as breast feeding. So I think this is a very important conclusion of the whole meeting that we
should all bear in mind.