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Bioactive dairy lipids and proprietary probiotic strains have shown new benefits for gut health, allergy reduction and immune enhancement according to citing a research by Fonterra.

Fonterra’s research was presented at the XVI Congress of Paediatricians in Moscow, the première annual conference for paediatricians in Russia.

The research was presented by Dr Paul McJarrow – one of Fonterra’s lead researchers for bioactive dairy lipids – presented a recent clinical study.

The study found that complex lipids — when added to infant formula — results in improved cognitive development scores compared to infants fed standard formula. Fonterra has developed a gentle process to maintain the bioactivity of dairy lipids. Another development by Fonterra is in the area of probiotics for increased immune benefits and digestive health.

Dr McJarrow explained: “Fat or lipids make up around one-​third of the total solid ingredients of breast milk and infant formula, but most commercially available infant formulas do not contain milk fat globule membrane proteins and bioactive dairy lipids such as phospholipids and gangliosides at the same level as human milk. The difficulty around incorporating these ingredients in infant formula is maintaining their bioactivity.”

Fonterra has developed gentle processing techniques which maintain the bioactivity of lipids. The dairy giant has access to one of the largest sources of complex dairy lipids in the world, and Fonterra’s complex dairy lipids have been shown to provide protection against infections as well as assist in cognitive development.

Dr McJarrow added: “While there is no question that breast milk is the best form of food for newborns and infants, some mothers are unable to breastfeed for medical or other reasons. This is why it’s important they have access to safe and nutritious alternatives offering nutritional benefits as close as possible to those provided by human milk.”

Research amongst Russian mums and health care professionals carried out by Fonterra in 2011, highlighted that mothers are most worried about infants contracting infections such as colds and flu, followed by digestive issues such as colic, spit up, diarrhoea and constipation.

Fonterra’s complex dairy lipids address some of these concerns as they have been shown to have high anti-​rotavirus activity, which could be beneficial for the 95% of children who will experience an episode of rotavirus diarrhoea by the time they turn five.

Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea among infants and young children, and accounts for around 138 million cases of infantile diarrhoea per year. “We have been able to confirm the high anti-​rotavirus activity of Fonterra’s complex dairy lipids in in-​vitro studies which showed around a 50% reduction in the number of cells infected with rotavirus,” said Dr McJarrow.

Fonterra also unveiled new developments in probiotics, an area that the company’s research has shown has high awareness amongst Russian mums and health care professionals for the ability to deliver digestive health and immunity benefits.

Dr. James Dekker, another Fonterra lead research scientist in probiotics, presented a clinical trial that demonstrated the ability of Fonterra’s Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 (DR20) to manage the symptoms of paediatric allergies, especially atopic dermatitis (eczema).

The study is due to be published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy – the journal for the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology — and involved 425 infants, monitored for four years. The findings indicated that DR20 consumption by infants until two years of age reduced the prevalence of eczema by 45% and the severity of eczema symptoms by 41%.

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