Prebiotic formulation influenced microbiota and reduced length of infections in infants, says recent study

Sebastian Krawiec

Sebastian Krawiec is Editor at Nutritional Outlook.

As part of the European Union funded EARNEST project (EARly Nutrition programming-long term follow up of Efficacy and Safety Trials), a recently published study demonstrated the safety and efficacy of using oligofructose-enriched inulin to reduce the duration of infections during the first year of an infant’s life.

As part of the European Union funded EARNEST project (EARly Nutrition programming-long term follow up of Efficacy and Safety Trials), a study was recently published in Nutrients1 demonstrating the safety and efficacy of using oligofructose-enriched inulin (Orafti Synergy 1 from Beneo) to reduce the duration of infections during the first year of an infant’s life. In the prospective, multicenter, randomized, double-blind study, 160 healthy term infants under four months of age were randomized to receive either an infant formula enriched with 0.8 g/dL of the oligofructose-enriched inulin or an unsupplemented control formula until the age of 12 months.

Researchers recorded digestive symptoms, stool consistency, as well as crying and sleeping patterns during one week of each study month. From a subgroup of infants, researchers determined fecal microbiota and immunological biomarkers after two, six, and 12 months. Results showed that the prebiotic formula was well tolerated, and was associated with a significantly lower mean duration of infection. Infants taking the prebiotic showed higher Bifidobacterium counts at month six, and higher proportions of Bifidobacterium, in relation to total bacteria at months two and six, compared to control. There were also positive behavioral changes. For example, infants taking the prebiotic has lower total daily amount of crying compared to control for most of the study period.

“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 Synergy 1,” said Anke Sentko, vice president regulatory affairs and nutrition communication at BENEO, in a press release. “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.”

Reference

  1. Neumer F et al. “Long-term safety and efficacy of prebiotic enriched infant formula—a randomized controlled trial.” Nutrients, vol. 13 (2021): 1276