New Microbiota-Enriched Baby Formula for Milk-Allergic Infan
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A new baby formula enriched with pre- and probiotics for babies with milk allergy improves their gut microbiome compared with standard hypoallergenic formula, potentially helping them develop a healthier immune system, similar to the benefits of human breast milk. This is meant for infants that have a severe cow's milk allergy. When babies are severely allergic to milk, that means the mother has to go on a severely restrictive diet, which can be very difficult.

Offering a standard synthetic formula alleviates the mother's restrictive diet but eliminates the benefits of the rich microbiotic diversity of mother's milk from the infant's diet. Enriched with human milk oligosaccharides (oligofructose, inulin) and the probiotic Bifidobacterium breve M-16V, the new formula shows promise not only for enriching the microbiome but also for helping the milk-allergic baby build a healthy immune system.

Researchers recruited 169 mothers with babies less than 13 months old who had lgE-mediated cow's milk allergy. The trial was double-blinded and randomized. Eighty babies in the placebo group received an amino acid–based formula, and 89 babies in the study group were given an amino acid–based formula containing "synbiotics" (combinations of pre- and probiotics), including 2 oligosaccharides naturally found in human breast milk - oligofructose, and inulin - and B breve M-16V.

The baby's stool microbiota were laboratory tested at baseline, at 6 months, and at 12 months. Researchers performed 16S ribosomal RNA-gene sequencing, oligotyping of Bifidobacteriaum, and analyzed taxa abundances. At 12 months, scientsts saw that half of the infants developed tolerance [to cow's milk]. It is normal for babies to grow out of their milk allergy.

The interesting thing was the difference in the number of infections. In babies who drank the enriched formula there was less incidence of infections and less use of antibiotics — and this was a recurring finding. Among the babies in the study group, the abundance of Bifidobacterium was increased, and there was a decrease in the abundance of Lachnospiraceae spp. In the infant gut, the good bacteria were at levels closer to that of healthy breastfed infants, the researchers reported.

The researchers saw an increase in good bacteria and a decrease in less good bacteria. These synbiotics develop a more promising environment to encourage the growth of good bacteria. There are very distinct phases of how the gut microbiome develops in the infant pointed out in his presentation on regulatory T cells and the microbiota in food allergy. The immediate period post delivery, the maternal microbiota in the milk, and another phase around weaning time — these shape the early microbiome.