Adding Prebiotics In Infant Formula Could Boost Memory: Study

Ingesting the infant formula with prebiotics may have beneficial impact on the babies cognitive development.

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Adding Prebiotics In Infant Formula Could Boost Memory: Study
Researchers have revealed that adding prebiotics to infant formula may boost memory and exploratory behaviour in babies. Prebiotics are food ingredients that induce the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms. Experts and studies around the world have always encouraged to offer breast milk to newborns. Breast milk is one of the best source of prebiotic small, indigestible fibre molecules that promote the growth of good bacteria in the baby's gut. However for many mothers breast milk production is a cause of concern, for some mothers the breast milk production is not enough to feed their baby.  Due to which they resort to infant formula. Ingesting the infant formula with prebiotics may have beneficial impact on the babies cognitive development. 

 "When we provide prebiotics in formula, our results confirm that we can not only benefit gut health, which is known, but we can also influence brain development," said Ryan Dilger, associate professor at University of Illinois in the US.
"We can actually change the way piglets learn and remember by influencing bacteria in the colon," said Dilger.  Piglets have emerged to be an informative model for human infants than mice and rats; their digestive systems, behavioural responses, and brain development are remarkably similar to human infants.

"There hasn't been a lot of work looking at the gut-brain axis in humans, but a lot of rodent work is showing those connections," said Stephen Fleming, doctoral student at University of Illinois. "This is taking it to an animal model that is a lot closer to human infants and asking if that connection still exists and if we can tease out possible mechanisms," said Fleming.
The findings revealed that the combination of innovative formula components, including prebiotics, could enhance brain power and overall brain development. 

The study focused specifically on the role of prebiotics.Starting on the second day of life, piglets were given a cow's milk-based infant formula supplemented with polydextrose (PDX), a synthetic carbohydrate with prebiotic activity, and galactooligosaccharide (GOS), a naturally occurring prebiotic.
Once piglets turned  25 days old. They were taken through several learning, memory, and stress tests. After 33 days, blood, brain, and intestinal tissues were collected for
analysis. 

As a test for learning and memory, the piglets were given dog toys - one they had seen before and one brand- new toy.If a piglet happened to spend more time with one toy, it was an indication of the fact that the piglet recognised it as new and preferred it. Pigs fed PDX and GOS spent more time playing with new objects than pigs who did not receive the prebiotic supplements. 
The scientists revealed that preference for novel objects, can be viewed as a sign of natural curiosity, and a sign of healthy brain development. Additionally, it also points towards positive development of learning and memory.

Breastfeeding for six months has shown to have effective health impacts for both the mother and the baby. There are many herbs and spices from your kitchen pantry that can help increase breast milk production. Herbs which promote milk flow in mothers are also known as galactogogues. Ms. Anju Majeed, Director and Senior Scientist at Sami Labs, suggests fenugreek, ginger, cumin and ginger as some of the best  galactogogues women who are having trouble breastfeeding can have.  


( With Inputs PTI)


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