Researchers have revealed that adding prebiotics to infant formula can increase memory and exploratory behavior in infants. Prebiotics are food ingredients that induce the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms. Experts and studies around the world have always encouraged to offer breast milk to newborns. Breast milk is one of the best sources of small, indigestible prebiotic fiber molecules that promote the growth of good bacteria in the baby's intestine. However, for many mothers the production of breast milk is a concern, for some mothers the production of breast milk is not enough to feed their baby. Because they resort to infant formula. Ingesting infant formula with prebiotics can have a beneficial impact on the cognitive development of babies.
"When we provide prebiotics in formula, our results confirm that not only can we benefit intestinal health, which is known, but we can also influence brain development," said Ryan Dilger, associate professor at the University of Illinois at the United States.
"We can really change the way piglets learn and remember by influencing bacteria in the colon," Dilger said. Piglets have emerged as an informative model for human babies than mice and rats; Their digestive systems, behavioral responses and brain development are remarkably similar to human babies.
"There has not been much work looking at the bowel-brain axis in humans, but a lot of work with rodents shows those connections," said Stephen Fleming, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois. "This is leading to an animal model that is much closer to human babies and asks if that connection still exists and if we can unravel possible mechanisms," Fleming said.
The findings revealed that the combination of components of innovative formulas, including prebiotics, could improve brain power and overall brain development.
The study focused specifically on the role of prebiotics. Starting on the second day of life, the piglets were given a formula based on cow's milk supplemented with polydextrose (PDX), a synthetic carbohydrate with prebiotic activity and galactooligosaccharide (GOS), a prebiotic of natural origin.
Once the piglets turned 25 days old. They were taken through various tests of learning, memory and stress. After 33 days, the blood, cerebral and intestinal tissues were collected for analysis
As a test of learning and memory, the piglets were given toys for dogs, one they had seen before and a new toy. If a piglet spent more time with a toy, it was an indication of the fact that the piglet recognized it as new and preferred it. The pigs fed PDX and GOS spent more time playing with new objects than the pigs that did not receive the prebiotic supplements.
Scientists revealed that the preference for novel objects can be seen as a sign of natural curiosity and a sign of healthy brain development. In addition, it also points towards the positive development of learning and memory.
Breastfeeding for six months has been shown to have an effective impact on the health of both the mother and the baby. There are many herbs and spices from your kitchen pantry that can help increase breast milk production. Herbs that promote milk flow in mothers are also known as galactogogues. Ms. Anju Majeed, Director and Chief Scientist of Sami Labs, suggests fenugreek, ginger, cumin and ginger since some of the best galactogogue women who have problems breastfeeding may have.
(With PTI entries)