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Infant Complementary Feeding of Prebiotics for the Microbiome and Immunity

McKeen, Starin, Young, Wayne, Mullaney, Jane, Fraser, Karl, McNabb, Warren C., Roy, Nicole C.
Nutrients 2019 v.11 no.2
Bifidobacterium, absorption barrier, bacteria, breast milk, complementary feeding, complementary foods, fatty acid composition, immunity, immunomodulators, infants, insoluble fiber, intestinal microorganisms, microbiome, milk, nutrients, oligosaccharides, prebiotics, short chain fatty acids, vitamins, weaning
Complementary feeding transitions infants from a milk-based diet to solid foods, providing essential nutrients to the infant and the developing gut microbiome while influencing immune development. Some of the earliest microbial colonisers readily ferment select oligosaccharides, influencing the ongoing establishment of the microbiome. Non-digestible oligosaccharides in prebiotic-supplemented formula and human milk oligosaccharides promote commensal immune-modulating bacteria such as Bifidobacterium, which decrease in abundance during weaning. Incorporating complex, bifidogenic, non-digestible carbohydrates during the transition to solid foods may present an opportunity to feed commensal bacteria and promote balanced concentrations of beneficial short chain fatty acid concentrations and vitamins that support gut barrier maturation and immunity throughout the complementary feeding window.