Special Issue "Nutrition for Infant Feeding"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutrition and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 July 2021) | Viewed by 13695

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Maria Lorella Gianni
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Fondazione IRCCS Cà Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20122 Milan, Italy
Interests: nutrition; neonatal care; microbiota; probiotics; preterm infants; human milk
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The strict interrelationship between nutrition and health outcomes has been increasingly recognized for all ages. In particular, a huge amount of research indicates early postnatal life as an extremely sensitive period to the effect of specific nutrients on organ systems’ health, with profound consequences across one’s life span. Within this context, great effort has been put into the assessment of the direct effect mediated by the quality and quantity of nutrients on growth and development, including food behavior and sensory development. Moreover, along with the rapid advancement of new technologies, including the “omics” ones, research has focused on the epigenetic changes driven by early nutritional exposure, seeking to explain the mechanisms involved in nutritional programming. Although great advances have been made in the current understanding of these mechanisms, the underlying complex biological processes and their interaction with other environmental exposures need to be further elucidated. The resulting increased knowledge will allow the tracking of risk factors throughout life and the identification of effective feeding strategies aimed at contributing to the reduction of the burden of malnutrition, overweight, and obesity and the related mortality and morbidities.

The current Special Issue aims to welcome original works and literature reviews further exploring the effect of specific feeding strategies on individual anthropometric growth and neurofunctional development, from lactation to complementary feeding through the first years of life and the nutrition-related factors that drive programming mechanisms.

Prof. Dr. Maria Lorella Gianni
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Infant nutrition
  • Programming
  • Epigenetics
  • Health outcomes

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Nutrition for Infant Feeding
Nutrients 2022, 14(9), 1823; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14091823 - 27 Apr 2022
Viewed by 517
Abstract
It has long been demonstrated that nutrition in the first 1000 days of life can affect health outcomes later in life [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition for Infant Feeding)

Research

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Article
Evaluation of an Infant Formula with Large, Milk-Phospholipid Coated Lipid Droplets on Long-Term Growth and Development of Singaporean Infants: Randomized Controlled Trial Protocol
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2865; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082865 - 20 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1037
Abstract
A concept infant formula (IF) was developed with physical properties of lipid droplets mimicking more closely those in human milk. This paper describes the unique design of a randomised controlled trial evaluating the impact of the concept IF on infant growth and body [...] Read more.
A concept infant formula (IF) was developed with physical properties of lipid droplets mimicking more closely those in human milk. This paper describes the unique design of a randomised controlled trial evaluating the impact of the concept IF on infant growth and body composition development whilst applying a cohort-like recruitment approach that fully supports breastfeeding practices of the study population. Subjects entered the study between birth and 1 months of age, and whenever parents decided to introduce formula were randomised to one of three study formulas; the concept IF comprising large lipid droplets coated by milk phospholipids and containing a specific mixture of prebiotics, a standard IF with the specific prebiotic mixture or a standard IF without the prebiotic mixture. The primary objective was to evaluate the impact of the concept IF on growth and body composition outcomes during the first year of life with a follow-up at 2, 3, 4 and 5 years of age. In addition, stool, saliva and buccal smear samples and parameters assessing safety, gastrointestinal tolerance and cognitive outcomes were collected. The applied cohort-like enrolment approach is distinctly different from standard clinical safety or efficacy studies and may provide valuable insights on trial design for the evaluation of IF while carefully considering breastfeeding practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition for Infant Feeding)
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Article
Infant Feeding and Ethnic Differences in Body Mass Index during Childhood: A Prospective Study
Nutrients 2021, 13(7), 2291; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13072291 - 01 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1171
Abstract
This study investigated ethnic differences in childhood body mass index (BMI) in children from Dutch and Turkish descent and the role of infant feeding factors (breastfeeding duration, milk feeding frequency, as well as the timing, frequency and variety of complementary feeding (CF)). We [...] Read more.
This study investigated ethnic differences in childhood body mass index (BMI) in children from Dutch and Turkish descent and the role of infant feeding factors (breastfeeding duration, milk feeding frequency, as well as the timing, frequency and variety of complementary feeding (CF)). We used data from 244 children (116 Dutch and 128 Turkish) participating in a prospective study in the Netherlands. BMI was measured at 2, 3 and 5 years and standard deviation scores (sds) were derived using WHO references. Using linear mixed regression analyses, we examined ethnic differences in BMI-sds between 2 and 5 years, and the role of infant feeding in separate models including milk or CF factors, or both (full model). Relative to Dutch children, Turkish children had higher BMI-sds at age 3 (mean difference: 0.26; 95%CI: 0.04, 0.48) and 5 (0.63; 0.39, 0.88), but not at 2 years (0.08; −0.16, 0.31). Ethnic differences in BMI-sds were somewhat attenuated by CF factors at age 3 (0.16; −0.07, 0.40) and 5 years (0.50; 0.24, 0.77), whereas milk feeding had a minor impact. Of all factors, only CF variety was associated with BMI-sds in the full model. CF factors, particularly CF variety, explain a small fraction of the BMI-sds differences between Dutch and Turkish children. The role of CF variety on childhood BMI requires further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition for Infant Feeding)
Article
Early-Life Metabolic and Hormonal Markers in Blood and Growth until Age 2 Years: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Healthy Infants Fed a Modified Low-Protein Infant Formula
Nutrients 2021, 13(4), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13041159 - 01 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1278
Abstract
Background: High protein intake in early life is associated with an increased risk of childhood obesity. Dietary protein intake may be a key mechanistic modulator through alterations in endocrine and metabolic responses. Objective: We aimed to determine the impact of different protein intake [...] Read more.
Background: High protein intake in early life is associated with an increased risk of childhood obesity. Dietary protein intake may be a key mechanistic modulator through alterations in endocrine and metabolic responses. Objective: We aimed to determine the impact of different protein intake of infants on blood metabolic and hormonal markers at the age of four months. We further aimed to investigate the association between these markers and anthropometric parameters and body composition until the age of two years. Design: Term infants received a modified low-protein formula (mLP) (1.7 g protein/100 kcal) or a specifically designed control formula (CTRL) (2.1 g protein/100 kcal) until 6 months of age in a double blinded RCT. The outcomes were compared with a breast-fed (BF) group. Glucose, insulin, leptin, IGF-1, IGF-BP1, -BP2, and -BP3 levels were measured at the age of 4 months. Anthropometric parameters and body composition were assessed until the age of 2 years. Groups were compared using linear regression analysis. Results: No significant differences were observed in any of the blood parameters between the formula groups (n = 53 mLP; n = 44 CTRL) despite a significant difference in protein intake. Insulin and HOMA-IR were higher in both formula groups compared to the BF group (n = 36) (p < 0.001). IGF-BP1 was lower in both formula groups compared to the BF group (p < 0.01). We found a lower IGF-BP2 level in the CTRL group compared to the BF group (p < 0.01) and a higher IGF-BP3 level in the mLP group compared to the BF group (p = 0.03). There were no significant differences in glucose, leptin, and IGF-1 between the three feeding groups. We found specific associations of all early-life metabolic and hormonal blood parameters with long-term growth and body composition except for IGF-1. Conclusions: Reducing protein intake by 20% did not result in a different metabolic profile in formula-fed infants at 4 months of age. Formula-fed infants had a lower insulin sensitivity compared to breast-fed infants. We found associations between all metabolic and hormonal markers (except for IGF-1) determined at age 4 months and growth and body composition up to two years of age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition for Infant Feeding)
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Article
Cortical Oxygenation Changes during Gastric Tube Feeding in Moderate- and Late-Preterm Babies: A NIRS Study
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020350 - 25 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1082
Abstract
Smell and taste of food can trigger physiological responses facilitating digestion and metabolism of nutrients. Controlled experimental studies in preterm babies have demonstrated that smell activates the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) but none have investigated the effect of taste stimulation. Using cotside Near-Infrared Spectroscopy [...] Read more.
Smell and taste of food can trigger physiological responses facilitating digestion and metabolism of nutrients. Controlled experimental studies in preterm babies have demonstrated that smell activates the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) but none have investigated the effect of taste stimulation. Using cotside Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), we measured changes in OFC cerebral oxygenation in response to gastric tube feeds five and 10 days after birth in 53 assessments of 35 moderate- to late-preterm babies enrolled in a randomized trial. Babies were randomly assigned to receive smell and taste of milk before gastric tube feeds (intervention group, n = 16) or no exposure (control group, n = 19). The majority of babies were born at 33 weeks of gestation (range 32–34) and 69% were boys. No differences in OFC cerebral oxygenation were observed between control and intervention groups. Gastric tube feeds induced activation of the OFC (p < 0.05), but sensory stimulation alone with smell and taste did not. Boys, but not girls, showed activation of the OFC following exposure to smell of milk (p = 0.01). The clinical impact of sensory stimulation prior to tube feeds on nutrition of preterm babies, as well as the impact of environmental inputs on cortical activation, remains to be determined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition for Infant Feeding)
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Article
Variation in Infant Formula Macronutrient Ingredients Is Associated with Infant Anthropometrics
Nutrients 2020, 12(11), 3465; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113465 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 981
Abstract
Background: There is wide variation in the macronutrient ingredient base of infant formula. How variation in macronutrient ingredients may impact infant growth remains largely unknown. Methods: The 2015–2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) dataset was utilized, including infant anthropometrics and dietary [...] Read more.
Background: There is wide variation in the macronutrient ingredient base of infant formula. How variation in macronutrient ingredients may impact infant growth remains largely unknown. Methods: The 2015–2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) dataset was utilized, including infant anthropometrics and dietary intake. The protein, fat, and carbohydrate sources of formulas consumed were assembled and considered as potential predictors in multivariable models of infant Z-scores among infants < 6 months, 6–12 months and all infants combined (0–12 months). Results: The following relationships represent ingredient covariates within the final multivariable models of infant Z-scores. Consuming formula with palm oil was associated with higher weight-for-length Z-scores among infants < 6 months, but lower weight-for-age and weight-for-length Z-scores among infants 6–12 months. Consuming soy-protein formulas was associated with lower weight-for-length, head circumference-for-age and abdominal circumference-for-age Z-scores among infants < 6 months. Consuming sucrose-containing formula was associated with higher weight-for-length and abdominal circumference-for-age Z-score among infants 0–12 months. Conclusions: These data provide proof-of-concept that all formulas are not the same. Variation in macronutrient ingredients within the standard formula category is associated with differences in infant anthropometric outcomes. Long-term and mechanistic studies are warranted to pursue these findings; especially for palm oil, soy protein, and sucrose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition for Infant Feeding)
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Article
Exclusive Breastfeeding Predicts Higher Hearing-Language Development in Girls of Preschool Age
Nutrients 2020, 12(8), 2320; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082320 - 02 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2110
Abstract
Cognitive disorders are increasing in prevalence. Nutritional or metabolic stressors during early life, and female sex, are predisposing conditions towards the development of cognitive diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. Though there is evidence that breastfeeding may play a beneficial role in children’s neurocognitive development, [...] Read more.
Cognitive disorders are increasing in prevalence. Nutritional or metabolic stressors during early life, and female sex, are predisposing conditions towards the development of cognitive diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. Though there is evidence that breastfeeding may play a beneficial role in children’s neurocognitive development, the literature remains controversial. In this study we aimed at assessing the association between exclusive breastfeeding and children’s cognitive development from six months to five years of age, addressing sex differences. In 80 mother-child pairs from the Pisa birth cohort (PISAC), we measured cognitive development in groups of children of 6, 12, 18, 24, 36, and 60 months by Griffiths Mental Development Scales, parents’ intelligence quotient (IQ) by Raven’s progressive matrices, and maternal and infants’ anthropometric parameters. We found that exclusive breastfeeding was associated with higher hearing-language development in five years old girls, independent of maternal IQ, age and BMI (body mass index). Exclusive breastfeeding in the first three months of life seemed sufficient to establish this positive relationship. In conclusion, our data indicate that exclusive breastfeeding is a positive predictor of cognitive development in preschool-age girls, paving the way for the implementation of sex-specific cognitive disease risk detection and prevention strategies from early life. Further studies are warranted to explore causality and longer term effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition for Infant Feeding)
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Review

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Review
The Antiviral Properties of Human Milk: A Multitude of Defence Tools from Mother Nature
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 694; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020694 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1806
Abstract
The anti-infective properties of breast milk have been known for decades. In recent years, an increasing number of papers have described the variety of bioactive compounds that are present in breast milk with varying degrees of antiviral activity. However, to date, the totality [...] Read more.
The anti-infective properties of breast milk have been known for decades. In recent years, an increasing number of papers have described the variety of bioactive compounds that are present in breast milk with varying degrees of antiviral activity. However, to date, the totality of the properties of these compounds is not fully understood and, above all, their synergistic interaction is not yet known. The purpose of this review is to describe the current knowledge about the antiviral compounds in breast milk, both with specific and non-specific action against pathogens. Due to the current pandemic situation from SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus-2), research has focused on a multitude of potential antiviral substances, taking breast milk as a biological model of reference. Future research is needed to expand the knowledge of these compounds, which will hopefully assist in the development of therapies applicable even at later ages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition for Infant Feeding)
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Review
Human Milk Feeding and Preterm Infants’ Growth and Body Composition: A Literature Review
Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 1155; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12041155 - 21 Apr 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2955
Abstract
Preterm infants may show a higher risk of adverse health outcomes, such as the development of metabolic syndrome and cognitive impairment. The most recent evidence highlights that nutrition, body composition development, and early postnatal growth may play a role in the programming of [...] Read more.
Preterm infants may show a higher risk of adverse health outcomes, such as the development of metabolic syndrome and cognitive impairment. The most recent evidence highlights that nutrition, body composition development, and early postnatal growth may play a role in the programming of these processes. Human milk feeding has been recommended as the natural feeding for preterm infants and as a cost-effective strategy for reducing disease and economic burden. Considering that the postnatal growth retardation and aberrant body composition shown by preterm infants at the time of hospital discharge still remain important issues, we performed a literature review, aiming to provide an update about the effect of human milk feeding on these processes. On the basis of our findings, human milk feeding in preterm infants, although related to a slower weight gain than formula feeding, is associated with a better recovery of body composition through the promotion of fat-free mass deposition, which may ultimately lead to better metabolic and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Promotion and support of human milk feeding should be considered a priority in preterm infants’ care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition for Infant Feeding)
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