|Title||Fermented infant formula (with Bifidobacterium breve C50 and Streptococcus thermophilus O65) with prebiotic oligosaccharides is safe and modulates the gut microbiota towards a microbiota closer to that of breastfed infants|
|Author(s)||Béghin, Laurent; Tims, Sebastian; Roelofs, Mieke; Rougé, Carole; Oozeer, Raish; Rakza, Thameur; Chirico, Gaetano; Roeselers, Guus; Knol, Jan; Rozé, Jean Christophe; Turck, Dominique|
|Source||Clinical Nutrition (2020). - ISSN 0261-5614|
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||Early-life microbiota - Fermented formula - Healthy term infants - Postbiotics - Prebiotics - Secretory IgA|
Background & aims: Microbiome-modulators can help positively steer early-life microbiota development but their effects on microbiome functionality and associated safety and tolerance need to be demonstrated. We investigated the microbiome impact of a new combination of bioactive compounds, produced by the food-grade microorganisms Bifidobacterium breve C50 and Streptococcus thermophilus ST065 during a fermentation process, and prebiotics in an infant formula. Tolerance and safety were also assessed. Methods: An exploratory prospective, randomized, double-blind, controlled, multi-centre study was designed to investigate the effect of bioactive compounds and prebiotics (short-chain galacto-oligosaccharides (scGOS)/long-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (lcFOS) 9:1). Experimental formulas containing these bioactive compounds and prebiotics (FERM/scGOS/lcFOS), prebiotics (scGOS/lcFOS), or bioactive compounds (FERM), were compared to a standard cow's milk-based control formula (Control). Exclusively breastfed infants were included as a reference arm since exclusive breastfeeding is considered as the optimal feeding for infants. The study lasted six months and included visits to health care professionals at baseline, two, four and six months of age. Stool SIgA concentration was the primary study outcome parameter. Results: There were 280 infants randomized over the experimental arms and 70 infants entered the breastfed-reference arm. Demographics were balanced, growth and tolerance parameters were according to expectation and adverse events were limited. At four months of age the median SIgA concentration in the FERM/scGOS/lcFOS group was significantly higher compared to the Control group (p = 0.03) and was more similar to the concentrations found in the breastfed-reference group. Bifidobacterium increased over time in all groups. The FERM/scGOS/lcFOS combination resulted in a microbiota composition and metabolic activity closer to the breastfed infants’ microbiome. Conclusion: The FERM/scGOS/lcFOS combination showed a significant positive effect on SIgA levels. All formulas tested were associated with normal growth and were well-tolerated. Additionally, at four months of age the FERM/scGOS/lcFOS formula brought the microbiome composition and metabolic activity closer towards that of breastfed infants. Clinical trial registry: Registration number NTR2726 (Netherlands Trial Register; www.trialregister.nl/).