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Supplementation of prebiotics in infant formula

Authors Pavić AM, Hojsak I

Received 13 January 2014

Accepted for publication 10 March 2014

Published 13 June 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 69—74


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Ana Močić Pavić, Iva Hojsak

Referral Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Children's Hospital Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Background: In recent years prebiotics have been added to infant formula to make it resemble breast milk more closely and to promote growth and development of beneficial intestinal microbiota. This review aims to present new data on the possible positive effects of prebiotics in infant formula on intestinal microbiota (bifidogenic and lactogenic effect) and on clinical outcomes including growth, infections, and allergies. With that aim, a literature search of the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), EMBASE, Scopus, PubMed/Medline, Web of Science, and Science Direct in the last 10 years (December 2003 to December 2013) was performed.
Results: Altogether 24 relevant studies were identified. It was found that during intervention, prebiotics can elicit a bifidogenic and lactogenic effect. As far as clinical outcomes were concerned, 14 studies investigated the effect of infant formula supplemented with prebiotics on growth and found that there was no difference when compared with non-supplemented infant formula. All available data are insufficient to support prebiotic supplementation in order to reduce risk of allergies and infections.
Conclusion: There is currently no strong evidence to recommend routine supplementation of infant formulas with prebiotics. Further well-designed clinical studies with long-term follow-up are needed.

Keywords: prebiotics, infant formula, growth, allergy, infections, supplementation

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