The new blend, named Sinergity, utilises the strain B. infantis LMG11588, shown through Nestle's research to have the ability to efficiently absorb and metabolise HMOs, thereby producing key beneficial compounds for human health.
Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are a major component of human milk, associated with multiple health benefits including shaping a healthy infant gut microbiome, possibly supporting brain development and the maintenance of a well-balanced immune system, reducing the risk of bacterial imbalance and maturing and maintaining the integrity of the intestine.
The firm asserts the consumption of the combination of this probiotic with six HMOs provides synergistic effects, thereby resulting in a dominance of bifidobacteria in the gut and metabolic activity which can lead to a more favourable gut environment and stronger immunity in the infant.
The blend offers the widest range of HMOs used in Nestlé infant formula to date, utilising 2FL, DFL, LNT, 6SL, 3SL - a blend previously suggested to help infants develop a microbiome closer to that of breastfed infants - and the newly added 3FL.
Because research shows that the composition of HMOs in breastmilk changes during the lactation period, products containing the new blend have varying levels of six different HMOs, to meet the specific needs of infants according to age - with formulations to meet the needs of infants aged 0-3.
"We are absolutely committed to engaging in groundbreaking research and are working with healthcare professionals to contribute to optimal nutrition in early childhood through clinically tested solutions that provide the essential nutrients for babies that cannot be exclusively or who are only partially breastfed," said Laurent Alsteens, global head of early childhood nutrition at Nestlé.
"In this way, we can help advance breakthrough nutritional solutions for infants with ingredient blends to support age-appropriate growth, digestive health, bone, muscle and cognitive development and the immune system."
Isabelle Bureau-Franz, head of Nestlé's R&D for nutrition, said: "Nestlé is a pioneer in the research and development of early-life science-based solutions. Thanks to our continuous scientific advancements, we have discovered the important benefits of combining our proprietary B. infantis probiotic with a blend of six HMOs.
"Leveraging our innovation expertise, we developed this breakthrough solution by successfully translating the new scientific findings, scaling-up the production of the probiotic and carefully adapting the levels of six HMOs according to age."
The new blend has just been launched in Hong Kong. Its rollout will commence in Latin America towards the end of this year and in Europe early next year under the NAN Supreme pro brand.
Nestlé was also the first company to introduce infant formula containing a complex of 5 HMOs globally, and the company currently has various products containing HMOs in more than 50 countries.
HMO health benefits
In a recent systematic review, Chr. Hansen scientists compiled data from 26 clinical studies on HMOs, concluding there is a wealth of evidence that these are well-tolerated modulators of the gut microbiome providing health benefits.
The clinical trials included in the review tested eight different HMO used as food supplements in humans.
Several studies reported a positive shift in outcomes towards those observed in breastfed infants - including stool characteristics, gut microbiome composition, intestinal immune markers, and beneficial effects on gut health and the immune system.
Most of the clinical trials indicated changes in the gut-associated microbiome with HMO supplementation. The selective consumption of HMOs by species of Bifidobacterium, Bacteroides, and Lactobacillus provides them with a growth advantage.
HMO administration was associated with additional gut health outcomes that may be linked to the metabolic activity of the bacterial communities dominating the gut, including increased faecal content of SCFAs, reduced faecal pH, and modulation of microbial metabolic pathways. HMO supplementation also promoted more frequent and softer stools. Two studies reported changes in stool characteristics along with microbiome changes.
Infants receiving HMO supplements suffered from less-frequent respiratory tract infections, were less likely to need attention from health professionals, and were less likely to experience otitis media.