Press Esc to close
Sunday 01 May 2016
News updated at 1:07 PM IST
Weather
Max: 36.6°C
Min : 24.4°C
In Bengaluru
Sunny day

Formula food toxic for premature baby's cells

Washington, Dec 11, 2012, PTI:

Unsafe feed

Infant formula causes cellular death that may contribute to  necrotising enterocolitis, a severe intestinal condition that is often fatal and occurs most commonly in premature infants, says a new study.

University of California San Diego bio-engineers, based their study on tests comparing the digestion of fresh human breast milk and nine different infant formulas.

Scientists have long known that premature infants fed formula are more likely to develop necrotizing enterocolitis than those fed breast milk.

The condition is the leading cause of death from gastrointestinal diseases in premature infants, but the underlying mechanism has not been understood, the journal Paediatric Research reported.

Alexander Penn, working in the Microcirculation Lab of Geert Schmid-Schonbein, bio-engineering professor from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, believes they have come closer to an answer, according to a California statement.
The intestines of healthy adults and older children have a mature mucosal barrier that may prevent damage due to free fatty acids.

However, the intestine is leakier at birth, particularly for pre-term infants, which could be why they are more susceptible to necrotising  enterocolitis.

Therefore, the researchers wanted to know what happens to breast milk as compared to infant formula when they are exposed to digestive enzymes.

Overwhelmingly, the digestion of formula led to cellular death, or cytotoxicity - in less than five minutes in some cases -  while breast milk did not.

For example, digestion of formula caused death in 47  percent to 99 percent of neutrophils while only six percent of them died as a result of milk digestion.

The study found that breast milk appears to have a built-in mechanism to prevent cytotoxicity.

The research team believes most  food, like formula, releases high levels of free fatty acids during digestion, but that breast milk is digested in a slower, more controlled, process.

Currently, many neonatal intensive care units are moving towards formula-free environments, but breastfeeding a premature  infant can be challenging or physically impossible and  supplies of donor breast milk are limited.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
A model walls the ramp at a fashion event in Ludhiana on Saturday...

A model walls the ramp at a fashion event in Ludhiana on Saturday...

A view of the West of Chord road, Rajajinagar 1st block Fly-Over inaugurated by Chief Minister...

A view of the West of Chord road, Rajajinagar 1st block Fly-Over inaugurated by Chief Minister...

Vehicles passing through snow bound Zojila Pass, situated at a height of 11,516 feet, on its way...

Vehicles passing through snow bound Zojila Pass, situated at a height of 11,516 feet, on its way...

An Army jawan stands guard at Zojila Pass, situated at a height of 11,516 feet...

An Army jawan stands guard at Zojila Pass, situated at a height of 11,516 feet...

The first transgander Presiding Officer Ria Sarkar in front of a Polling Station during 5th phase...

The first transgander Presiding Officer Ria Sarkar in front of a Polling Station during 5th phase...

Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar pays tribute...

Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar pays tribute...

Aircraft of the British aerobatics team Global Stars perform during second day of the the three-day.

Aircraft of the British aerobatics team Global Stars perform during second day of the the three-day.

People are travelling in underground stretch of the Namma Metro between the Mysuru road station...

People are travelling in underground stretch of the Namma Metro between the Mysuru road station...

The high rider-ship was evident as large number of commuters were thronging the station...

The high rider-ship was evident as large number of commuters were thronging the station...

Cricketer Virat Kohli during inauguration of a store in Hyderabad on Friday...

Cricketer Virat Kohli during inauguration of a store in Hyderabad on Friday...