A multi-strain probiotic is a well-regarded supplement for infants, as an appropriate initial bacterial colonisation is essential for adequate intestinal immune development [1,2]. However, there is a lot more that determines colonisation of the newborn microbiome including genetics, labour and birth environment and in particular nutrition from breast milk [3,4,5]. In regard to nutrition, this suggests that a combination supplement with breast milk components may be more beneficial than a probiotic supplement alone.
The journey of the infant’s microbiome colonisation starts in utero with the foetus in the last trimester travelling through the birth canal ingesting maternal colonic and vaginal microbiota [4,5]. After birth the infant is exposed to numerous potentially pathologic organisms, and this is where wholesome nutrition becomes essential. During the infant’s first year, being fed breast milk and/or formula milk, and eventually solid food has a significant effect on gastrointestinal microbiota diversity, determining the eventual health of the infant’s immune system function [2,4]. To maximise long-term health outcomes for the infant, parents should consider supplementing with a formulation that provides more than probiotic strains.
Lactoferrin, an immune-modulating component of breast milk and colostrum, has been shown to inhibit pathogens to further contribute to microbiota composition . Lactoferrin provides multiple benefits of antimicrobial and antiviral effects and has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory functions . The overall combination of ingredients in breast milk is what prevents the expression of immune-mediated diseases such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease that present in childhood or later in life , reiterating how necessary the combination of probiotic strains and lactoferrin in breast milk is for maintaining infant health and for the long-term.
Furthermore, there is clinical trial evidence of specifically lactoferrin in combination with L. rhamnosus administered to infants being beneficial for very low birth weight neonates, supporting gastrointestinal system health and healthy immune system function [7,8].
If parents decide to supplement their infant’s diet, we recommend a high-quality, scientifically researched formulation with probiotic strains combined with lactoferrin, like Biotic Jnr.
- Pammi M., Abrams S.A. (2015). Oral lactoferrin for the prevention of sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2.
- Turroni F., et al. (2012). Diversity of Bifidobacteria within the infant gut microbiota. PLoS ONE, 7:e36957.
- Jain N., Walker W.A. (2015). Diet and host-microbial crosstalk in postnatal intestinal immune homeostasis. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol, 12:14
- Walker W.A., Iyengar S.R. (2015). Breast milk, microbiota, and intestinal immune homeostasis. Pediatr Res, 77:220
- Dunn, A. B., Jordan, S., Baker, B. J., & Carlson, N. S. (2017). The Maternal Infant Microbiome: Considerations for Labor and Birth. The American journal of maternal child nursing, 42(6), 318–325. https://doi.org/10.1097/NMC.0000000000000373
- Ochoa T.J., Cleary T.G. (2009). Effect of Lactoferrin on enteric pathogens. Biochimie, 91:30
- Manzoni, P. et al. (2014). Bovine lactoferrin supplementation for prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis in very-low-birth-weight neonates: A randomised clinical trial. Early Human Development, 90S1, S60-S65.
- Manzoni, P et al. (2009). Bovine lactoferrin supplementation for prevention of late-onset sepsis in very low-birth-weight neonates: A randomized trial. American Medical Association, 302(13), 1421-1428.
FOR PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY