The optimal nutrition for newborns is breastfeeding. It is designed to provide the perfect balanced diet and needs of the growing infant, and is recommended by worldwide health organizations.
Advanced Lipids strongly believes that breastfeeding is the best nutrition for infants. However, when a mother cannot, or chooses not to breast feed her baby; it is important to find an alternative source of nutrition that allows optimal digestion as similar as possible to human breast milk.
Human milk fat absorption
In human breast milk, and in most infant formulas, about 50% of the dietary calories are supplied to newborns as fat. More than 98% of this milk fat is in the form of triglycerides, which contain saturated and unsaturated fatty acids esterified to glycerol. Fatty acids in human milk fat have a highly specific positional distribution on the glycerol backbone. This specific configuration is known to make a major contribution to efficient mineral absorption.
The physiological process of fat digestion results in specific structural lipids. The milk triglyceride structure and digestion lipases combine to enable efficient digestion of fat by the production of sn-2 monoacylglycerols and free fatty acids. The importance of the positional distribution of the fatty acids in human milk or infant formula fat applies particularly to palmitic acid (C16:0).
Beta-palmitate is a conserved lipid structure across populations
The mammary gland invests in metabolic energy to provide the infant with a high percentage of palmitic acid and further invests in enzymatic capacity in order to position the palmitic acid specifically in the sn-2 position. This energy investment results in predominantly saturated fatty acid of palmitic acid, consisting 17-25% of the fatty acids in mature human milk, of which 70-75% is esterified to the sn-2 (ß) position of the triglyceride. In contrast, palmitic acid which is found in vegetable oils, which are commonly used in the manufacture of infant formulas, is esterified to the sn-1 and sn-3 positions, while the sn-2 position is predominantly occupied by unsaturated fatty acids.
The significant percentage of palmitic acid and its position is prominent due to its conserved structure in all women, regardless of ethnic origin or nutrition, unlike the general fatty acid profile of human milk.
Beta-palmitate is better absorbed and reduces constipation
The palmitic acid in the sn-2 position is not hydrolyzed by digestion lipase, and is absorbed as sn-2 monoacylglycerol. The remaining 2-monoacylglycerol, which forms mixed micelles with bile salts, is well absorbed. In contrast, palmitic acid in the sn-1 and sn-3 positions, the predominant form, found in standard infant formulas, is hydrolyzed by pancreatic lipase. The result is free palmitic acid that may form calcium fatty acid complexes, which are poorly absorbed and secreted into feces as insoluble calcium soaps, leading to loss of both fatty acids (energy) and calcium.
Reduced stool hardness
Reduced calcium soaps formation
Increased calcium retention
Larger skeletal mineral deposition
Increased fat absorption and fat recovery
Bracco, U. (1994). "Effect of triglyceride structure on fat absorption." Am J Clin Nutr 60(6 Suppl): 1002S-1009S.
Breckenridge, W. C., L. Marai, et al. (1969). "Triglyceride structure of human milk fat." Can J Biochem 47(8): 761-9.
Giovannini, M., E. Riva, et al. (1995). "Fatty acids in pediatric nutrition." Pediatr Clin North Am 42(4): 861-77.
Hillman, L. S. (1988). "Bone mineral content in term infants fed human milk, cow milk-based formula, or soy-based formula." J Pediatr 113(1 Pt 2): 208-12.
Innis, S. M., (2011). "Dietary triacylglycerol structure and its role in infant nutrition" American Society for Nutrition.Adv.Nutr.
Jensen, C., N. R. Buist, et al. (1986). "Absorption of individual fatty acids from long chain or medium chain triglycerides in very small infants." Am J Clin Nutr 43(5): 745-51.
Jensen, R. (1999). "Lipids in Human Milk." LIPIDS 34: 1243-1271.
Kennedy, K., M. S. Fewtrell, et al. (1999). "Double-blind, randomized trial of a synthetic triacylglycerol in formula-fed term infants: effects on stool biochemistry, stool characteristics, and bone mineralization." Am J Clin Nutr 70(5): 920-7.
Mattson, F. H. and R. A. Volpenhein (1961). "The specific distribution of fatty acids in the glycerides of vegetable fats." J Biol Chem 236(7): 1891-4.
Nelson, S. E., J. A. Frantz, et al. (1998). "Absorption of fat and calcium by infants fed a milk-based formula containing palm olein." J Am Coll Nutr 17(4): 327-32.
Nelson, S. E., R. R. Rogers, et al. (1996). "Palm olein in infant formula: absorption of fat and minerals by normal infants." Am J Clin Nutr 64(3): 291-6.
Small, D. M. (1991). "The effects of glyceride structure on absorption and metabolism." Annu Rev Nutr 11: 413-34.