Why Chinese Parents are Right to Demand OPO


OPO (sn2 palmitate) is the fastest growing premium ingredient in China’s huge infant formula market. Why? Because Chinese parents place a great deal of importance on the quality and nutritional level of the formula that they choose for their babies. They know that OPO containing formula is clinically substantiated, with a growing body of clinical evidence for the benefits it provides to babies.

To give one recent example, a clinical study in the Shanghai area set out to compare the effects of an infant formula with OPO to a standard infant formula and to human milk.[1] In a three-week controlled trial, 120 infants were divided into three groups. In one the babies were exclusively breastfed; in one they were fed on a formula containing OPO; and in one they were fed standard formulas.

The researchers tested the effect of the different formulas on different parameters that reflect on special bacteria in the large intestine. They looked at the level of fecal short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which indicate on level of bacterial metabolism, and on breast feeding induced bacteria counts, such as Bifidobacterium, lactobacillus and more.

Both the fecal bacterial composition and metabolism (as seen by level of acetic acid concentration) were similar in the breastfed babies and those fed on the formula containing sn2. However, the babies fed with standard formula had significantly lower levels of fecal acetic acid, as well as lower counts of fecal Bifidobacterium.

The findings are significant for a number of reasons. Human milk is considered the gold standard for infant nutrition, and breastfeeding has been shown to be associated with higher levels of bacterial metabolism. Indeed, intestinal microbial diversity in infants has been associated with increased prevalence of obesity and allergy in later life

But most importantly, the study suggests that formula containing OPO is closer to human breast milk compared to the standard formula.

As the researchers note, “an ideal infant formula would closely match the composition of human milk and at Advanced Lipids we completely agree. INFAT® is Advanced Lipids’ clinically tested sn2 palmitate ingredient. It has been found to enhance fatty acid absorption and more closely resemble breastfeeding, allowing manufacturers to offer products that deliver many of the benefits of human milk.



1] Zhenmin, Liu et al ‘Human Breast Milk and Infant Formulas Differentially Modify the Intestinal Microbiota in Human Infants and Host Physiology in Rats1–3’ The Journal of Nutrition Genomics, Proteomics, and Metabolomics’  10.3945/jn.115.223552  http://jn.nutrition.org/content/early/2015/12/16/jn.115.223552.full.pdf

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