Enfamil NeuroPro infant formula supplemented with MFGM to serve as nutritional bridge for parents and caregivers

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

MFGM in infant formula may help close the gap in cognitive development between formula-fed and breastfed infants, according to Mead Johnson Nutrition.  ©GettyImages/Pilin_Petunyia
MFGM in infant formula may help close the gap in cognitive development between formula-fed and breastfed infants, according to Mead Johnson Nutrition. ©GettyImages/Pilin_Petunyia
Mead Johnson Nutrition is aiming to position its Enfamil NeuroPro infant formula supplemented with bovine MFGM (milk fat globule membrane) and DHA as a nutritional bridge “similar to breast milk” while seeking to close the cognitive development gap between formula-fed and breastfed infants.

Research conducted by RB (Reckitt Benckiser) Mead Johnson Pediatric Nutrition Institute found that most parents need a “nutritional bridge” ​three months into breastfeeding.

“We are never really in this game to replace mom’s milk,”​ Dr. Christina J. Valentine, practicing neonatologist and North America Medical Director IFCN, RB, told NutraIngredients-USA. 

RB_Enfamil_Tub

“However, it appears that there are a lot of parents that require a good nutritional opportunity for their babies… and that’s across all populations.”

Enfamil NeuroPro is available in store and online at select US retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $27.99.

Key component of infant cognitive development

MFGM is a complex structure found in the mammary gland and is the source of many bioactive compounds including phospholipids, glycolipids, glycoproteins, and carbohydrates that play an important role in functional cognitive development.

According to researchers from Umeå University in Sweden “MFGM has emerged as a complex factor that may explain some of the differences observed between breastfed and formula-fed infants,” ​they wrote in a review of three randomized clinical trials published in Advances in Nutrition​.

Breastfed infants traditionally have a higher intake of MFGM components than formula-fed infants but bovine MFGM supplementation in infant formula has "shown promising effects on neurodevelopment,” ​they said.

“MFGM supplementation of infant formula may be an important step toward narrowing the gap between formula-fed and breastfed infants with respect to neurodevelopment, infectious diseases, and cholesterol metabolism.”

Researchers added that while infant formula products supplemented with bovine MFGM have been launched in several markets, there is still not enough evidence to support a general recommendation for bovine MFGM supplementation in infant formula.

Adding MFGM back into formula

Prior to the launch of MFGM-added infant formulas, the industry “defatted”​ formula products discarding MFGM and replacing it with vegetable oils as the main fat source, according to Valentine.

“Historically, this MFGM was in dairy sources for nutritional products for babies, however, when formula production began it was in an era where people were worried about saturated fats, dairy fats, and various things,”​ she said.

Over time, bovine MFGM concentrates became commercially available and possible to use as a supplement to foods including infant formulas.

Enfamil NeuroPro has added MFGM back into its product along with clinically proven amounts of DHA, which provide the brain building benefits similar to breast milk, the company said.

“We’re learning with parallel science in the dairy world, this (bovine) MFGM is very similar to the MFGM in a human mother’s milk,”​ Valentine said.

“With technology we were able to not only get this back into milk for babies who don’t have mother sources available, but at the dose that gives a very comparable concentration of very important lipids for the brain as the human mother does.”

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