A concept baby formula with unique lipid droplets may have a positive, long-term impact on a child's growth trajectory

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that the long-term health effects of a concept baby formula with unique lipid droplets, are closer to those of breast milk. These large, milk phospholipid coated lipid droplets are inspired by the complex lipid globule structure, size and composition found in breast milk.

It is undisputed that breast milk offers a child the best nutritional start in life. It’s nature’s most powerful nutrition and tailormade for a baby’s needs. It is a complex substance comprised of compounds such as lactose, lipids, human milk oligosaccharides, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Breast milk is rich in lipids, which serve as a key energy source and are essential for a healthy growth and development of a baby1-3, and contains lipid globules with a specific structure, size and composition.

Danone developed a unique concept baby formula with large, milk phospholipid coated lipid droplets that is inspired by the structure, size and composition of lipid globules found breast milk. It’s expected that this lipid droplet structure in formulas would result in digestion, absorption and nutrient utilization more similar to breast milk.

This baby formula concept was studied as part of the randomized, controlled, double-blind clinical trial: the Mercurius study.
A new publication of the trial describes the lasting impact of the unique concept baby formula on long-term growth outcomes and blood pressure up to 5 years of age. Babies fed with the unique concept formula, containing lipid droplets inspired by the lipid globules in breastmilk, during early life (0-4 months of age) have a BMI (Body mass Index) pattern more similar to breastfed babies, as well as a lower blood pressure, up to 5 years of age.

BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that is commonly used to classify a healthy weight. There is increasing evidence that BMI in early life is an indicator for the development of body weight into adulthood4. A high blood pressure during childhood may increase over time, potentially tracking into adulthood, and is considered a cardiovascular disease risk factor5.

Lead investigator of the Mercurius Follow Up study Professor Anita Hokken explains:

In this trial we investigated the long-term health effects of a concept baby formula containing lipid droplets with a size and structure inspired by the lipid globules in breast milk. The study results show that a baby formula containing these large lipid droplets coated with milk phospholipids results in growth patterns closer to breastfed babies and, as such, may have potential for a lasting impact on childhood overweight prevention.

Another recent publication of the same study suggests that a unique formula with large, milk phospholipid coated lipid droplets positively affects cognitive outcomes during childhood, bringing performance closer to the levels observed in breast milk.
Results from the first publication of the Mercurius study, previously also published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, demonstrated that this unique concept baby formula is safe, well tolerated, and supports an adequate growth in healthy babies during the first four months of life.

In the coming years further research will help us shed light on the potential long-term impact of lipid droplet characteristics on a baby’s growth trajectory, body composition and other health outcomes.

  1. . Koletzko B. Ann Nutr Metab. 2016;69(2):28-40.
  2. Demmelmair H & Koletzko B. Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018;32(1):57-68.
  3. Hageman JH et al. Int Dairy J. 2019;92:37-49.
  4. Singh AS, Mulder C, Twisk JW, van Mechelen W, Chinapaw MJ. Tracking of childhood overweight into adulthood: a systematic review of the literature. Obes Rev. 2008;9(5):474–88.
  5. X. Chen, Y. Wang. Tracking of blood pressure from childhood to adulthood: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis Circulation, 117 (25) (2008), pp. 3171-3180

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