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Infant & Young Child Feeding n Nutrition in Perspective
Breastfeeding - We Care Logo
Facebook Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Hong Kong Association
 Oct 2019
 
  
The Additives in Vogue: MFGM and Polar Lipids
 
 
Dr Rachel Cheng

FHKAM (Community Medicine), Specialist in Public Health Medicine


Breastmilk is the preferred food for all infants to support their optimal growth and development. The composition of breastmilk changes continuously to suit the infant's circumstances (e.g. prematurity, at times of infection) whereas that of infant formula remains unchanged over time. Yet formula milks are often promoted as having a composition close to human milk, implicitly suggesting that they function like the latter. Recently, manufactures are promoting claims that the addition of complex lipids (originated from cow milk) in formula milk would mimic human milk in improving brain (cognitive) functions.

Examples of Claimed Benefits of Additives in Formula Milk*

(1)   “ALPHA-LIPIDS is a unique ingredient scientifically shown to help speed-up brain connections by up to 100x faster through myelination.  It contains the 5 major phospholipids, including Sphingomyelin which has been shown by recent observational studies to impact myelination across all the regions of the brain.”

(2)   “S-Lipids (神經鞘磷脂)- 磷脂是腦細胞膜的主要成份,對於髓鞘形成十分重要,髓鞘有效加快訊息傳遞。髓鞘形成支持腦部連接,有助打好學習及認知基礎。

(3)   “星級親體乳脂配方乳脂球膜(MFGM)含豐富的極性脂質 (Polarlipids),親和寶寶,促進寶寶腦部發展,腸道健康及提升抵抗力。

(4)   “Polarlipids 有助支持大腦神經圓的髓鞘形成,促進腦內訊息傳遞,提升寶寶認知力。

(Note: “Alpha-lipids” and “S-Lipids” are Phospholipids which are Polar Lipids. Milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) contains mainly Polar Lipids.)

……


***Please click here to read more or download the whole article with the note of references.*** 


Can Formula Milk be ‘Close’ to Breastmilk?

In 2014, the EFSA conducted an independent review and issued the Scientific Opinion on the Essential Composition of Infant Fomula and Follow-on Formula. It states that while "human milk composition can provide guidance for the composition of infant formula, formula milk having composition similar to human milk is not the only appropriate indicator to show its safety and nutritional suitability… The mere presence of a substance in human milk does not necessarily indicate a specific benefit of this substance for the infant… because absorption efficiency of certain nutrients differ between breastmilk and formula."9

Given the
unique biochemical structures of human milk and its myriad bioactive constituents, it is virtually impossible for formula milk to imitate breastmilk in functions.  Nurturing an environment conducive to breastfeeding for families remains a public health priority.   For parents who cannot or opt not to breastfeed their child, they should be given adequate and unbiased information on the choices and safe use of formula milk products from credible sources.

Key messages:

 

  • Human milk lipids are essential for infants’ growth and development. They are a major source of energy and provide essential fatty acids (EFAs), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and lipid soluble vitamins.
            母乳中的脂質對寶寶的生長和發育非常重要。脂質為寶寶的主要熱量來                源,並且提供必需脂肪酸、多元不飽和脂肪酸以及脂溶性維生素。
  • In human milk, milk fat globules are coated with a membrane composed of polar lipids (phospholipids). This milk-fat-globule membrane (MFGM) is highly bioactive in supporting gastrointestinal functions, neurodevelopment and immunity.
           母乳中的乳脂球由極性脂質(磷脂)組成的膜覆蓋。這乳脂球膜具有高生物             活性,有助腸道吸收和腦部發育,及增強免疫能力

  • Currently, there is limited scientific evidence from Randomised Controlled Trials on the health benefits of supplementing infant formula with bovine MFGM, compared with breastfeeding.

      

           根據隨機對照試驗結果,現時只有有限的科學證據顯示相對母乳餵哺,喝             添加牛乳脂或乳脂球膜的配方奶能為嬰兒帶來健康的好處。
  • Given the unique biochemical structures of human milk and its myriad bioactive constituents, it is virtually impossible for formula milk to imitate breastmilk in functions. Parents should be given adequate and unbiased information on the choices and safe use of formula milk products from credible sources.
           由於母乳具有獨特的生化結構及含多種高活性因子,配方奶根本不可能模             仿母乳的功能。家長應從可靠來源得到足夠和不偏頗的資訊,讓他們選擇             和安全地使用配方奶產品 


Further reading:

Earky Nutrition eAcademy. Focus Module "The Milk fat Globule abd Its Membrane".
Link: https://www.early-nutrition.org/en/enea/ 

First Steps Nutrition Trust. Infant formula - An overview. June 2019.
Link: https://www.firststepsnutrition.org/composition-claims-and-costs 

Views expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the 
opinion or position of the BFHIHKA.

作者在本文章表達的見解,未必代表愛嬰醫院香港協會的意見或立場

Editor-in-Chief: Dr Shirley Leung 
Illustration: Ms Iris Leung, 草屋 Iris's Workshop - 畫公仔的草



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