- A research was conducted on piglets to understand the effect of formula milk
- The study showed that prebiotics added to infant formula enhances memory
- The study was published in journal Nutritional Neuroscience
Adding prebiotics to formula milk can enhance memory and learning of your baby, a study suggests. Though breast milk is considered best, this can be practised by the mother for from breastfeeding is difficult.
Breast milk, among other benefits, contains natural sources of prebiotics: small, indigestible fibre molecules that promote the growth of good bacteria in the baby’s gut, which is not present in the standard formula milk.
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The study shows
- Prebiotics included in the infant formula enhanced memory and exploratory behaviour in babies.
- When prebiotics are added to the formula, results confirm that it doesn’t only benefit gut health, but also influence brain development.
How the study was conducted
- The study was conducted on piglets, starting on the second day of their life.
- They were given cow’s milk-based infant formula supplemented with polydextrose (PDX), a synthetic carbohydrate with prebiotic activity, and galactooligosaccharide (GOS), a naturally occurring prebiotic.
“We can actually change the way piglets learn and remember by influencing bacteria in the colon,” said Ryan Dilger, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois.
Piglets are widely considered a more informative model for human infants than mice and rats, their digestive systems, behavioural responses, and brain development are remarkably similar to human infants.
Pigs fed with the prebiotic supplements spent more time playing with new objects, on a learning and memory test than pigs who did not receive the supplements.
The preference for novel objects, an indication of natural curiosity, is a sign of healthy brain development and points towards positive development of learning and memory, the researchers said.
The study was published in journal Nutritional Neuroscience. (IANS)