Palmitic acid (PA) comprises 17% to 25% of human milk fatty acids, of which 70% to 75% are esterified to the SN2 position of the triglyceride (SN2-palmitate). In vegetable oils, which are commonly used in infant formulas, palmitate is primarily esterified to other positions, resulting in reduced calcium and fat absorption and hard stools. The aim of this study was to elucidate the effects of SN2-palmitate on nutrient excretion.Methods:
In total, 171 Chinese infants were included (within 14 days of birth) in this multicenter study. Formula-fed infants were randomly assigned to receive either SN2-palmitate formula (INFAT, n = 57) or control formula (n = 57). The formulas (Biostime, China) differed only in their SN2 PA proportions. Stool was collected at 6 postnatal weeks.Results:
The stool dry weight and fat content of the SN2-palmitate group were lower compared with the control group (dry weight 4.25 g vs 7.28 g, P < 0.05; fat 0.8 g vs 1.2 g, P < 0.05). The lipid component was also significantly lower for the SN2-palmitate group (0.79 g vs 1.19 g, P < 0.05). PA, representing ∼50% of the saponified fatty acids, was significantly lower in the SN2-palmitate group compared with the control group (0.3 g vs 0.7 g, P < 0.01). Breast-fed infants had a significantly lower stool dry weight, fat content, and saponified fat excretion compared with formula-fed infants (P < 0.01).Conclusions:
Similar to breast milk, the SN2-palmitate infant formula primarily reduced calcium-saponified fat excretion. The results of this study further emphasize the nutritional importance of SN2-palmitate structured fat for infants.