Prebiotics in Breast Milk
|December 16, 2011||Posted by Nicos Stylianou under Prebiotics & Probiotics||
Prebiotics in Breast Milk: Natural Nutrition for Babies
Everyone knows that human milk is a cornucopia of nutrients that are essential for infant health and growth. However, it is pobably not as widely known that prebiotics in breast milk is one of the things that make it such a complete food for babies. This report will provide information on prebiotics as a natural source of infant nutrition.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service defines prebiotics as complex carbohydrates such as the oligosaccharides inulin and short-chain sugars that are not digested in the stomach. These subtances are passed from the lower intestine to the colon or large intestine, where they are consumed by the so-called good bacteria like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
This consumption of oligosaccharides results in the release of nutrients and vitamins. In addition, prebiotics play an important role in preventing the growth of Salmonella and other pathogens by altering the colon’s environment.
Prebiotics should not be confused with probiotics. The latter is generally not believed to occur naturally in food; instead, they are created during food fermentation processes. A number of studies indicate that probiotics have beneficial health effects, and with increasing consumer preference for healthy products, it is not surprising that several companies have begun promoting the probiotic content of their food offerings such as yogurt and kimchi.
However, many other nutritionists believe that it is not really necessary for us to add beneficial bacteria to what we eat. Instead, they recommend that we maximize the potential health benefits of the bacteria that already exist in the human body.
Prebiotics in infant nutrition
A newborn baby’s intestines are a sterile environment and the kinds of bacteria that start proliferating there soon after birth are influenced by factors such as the kind of delivery and type of feeding. Studies show that prebiotics in breast milk, most especially oligosaccharides, play an important role in intestine health.
In fact, results of clinical trials published in medical journals such as the “Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology” show that the intestinal ecosystems of breast-fed infants contain more of the beneficial microorganisms lactobacilli and bifidobacteria than formula-fed infants. The studies also show that oligosaccharides in breast milk contribute to lower digestive and respiratory problems in breastfed infants.
They are also shown to aid in preventing infections and to enhance growth-promoting factors. But what about women who are unable to breastfeed? Good news are on the horizon for them. A number of clinical trials are under way to test the effectiveness of substances added to infant formula that are designed to replicate the prebiotic effect of oligosaccharides in breast milk. While the milk formulas of today are not exactly the same as human milk, advances are being made towards achieving similar health effects.
Prebiotic benefits for all ages
It is not just infants who gain the most from a balanced digestive system. People from all age groups benefit from having optimal amounts of prebiotic bacteria in the intestines and colon. A convenient and easy way to do this is to use food supplements that boost the body’s prebiotic microorganisms.
The Kiwi-Klenz nutritional supplement from Xtend-Life is an excellent example. It maximizes the beneficial health effects of the kiwi fruit, a product of nature that has been scientifically proven to have numerous nutritional benefits. It is also made from all-natural ingredients and contain phenolics, enzymes and soluble fibers which, when combined with prebiotics, create a highly effective formula for keeping the digestive system healhty.
Young children, teenagers, the elderly – the benefits of prebiotics in breast milk may not be readily available to them. But thanks to cutting-edge health products likeKiwi-Klenz, they will not lose out on the opportunity for better health through an optimally functional digestive system.