Partly Fermented Infant Formulae With Specific Oligosaccharides Support Adequate Infant Growth and Are Well-Tolerated

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Abstract

Objective:

Fermented formulae (FERM) and a specific mixture of 90% short-chain galacto-oligosaccharides and 10% long-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (scGOS/lcFOS; 9:1) have a potential beneficial effect on gastrointestinal function and microbiota development in infants. The present study assessed the safety and tolerance of the combination of partly fermented infant milk formulae and scGOS/lcFOS compared with either 1 feature, in healthy term infants.

Methods:

Four hundred thirty-two infants were enrolled before 28 days of age and followed up to 17 weeks of age and assigned to 1 of the 4 groups: (i) formula with scGOS/lcFOS, (ii) scGOS/lcFOS + 15% FERM, (iii) scGOS/lcFOS + 50% FERM, or (iv) 50% fermented formula (50% FERM). Primary outcome was daily weight gain during intervention (equivalence criterion: difference in daily weight gain ≤3 g/day). Infants’ anthropometrics, formula intake, number, and type of (serious) AEs were monitored monthly. Stool samples were collected at baseline and after 17 weeks for analysis of physiological and microbiological parameters.

Results:

Equivalence of weight gain per day was demonstrated in both the intention-to-treat and per-protocol population, with a mean weight gain (SD) of 29.7 (6.1), 28.2 (4.8), 28.5 (5.0), and 28.7 (5.9) g/day for the groups i to iv respectively. No differences were observed in other growth parameters, formula intake, and the number or severity of AEs. In all scGOS/lcFOS-containing formulae, a beneficial effect of scGOS/lcFOS was observed, indicated by the lower pH, lower Clostridium difficile levels, and higher secretory immunoglobulin A levels.

Conclusions:

The partly fermented infant milk formulae containing the specific mixture scGOS/lcFOS were well-tolerated and resulted in normal growth in healthy infants.

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