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Abbott launches a breakthrough in pediatric nutrition that help babies’ immune system
Monday,  Jun 18, 2018,08:00 (GMT+7)

Abbott launches a breakthrough in pediatric nutrition that help babies’ immune system

Similac Eye-Q Plus with HMO*, launched in Vietnam at the beginning of June, is the most innovative infant formula of Abbott till date. It is considered a ground-breaking milestone in infant nutrition science, as for the fist time a formula has become closer to breastmilk than ever.

Discovery of HMO - the golden nutrient in breastmilk that protects your child

For many years, Dr. Rachael Buck, Lead HMO Research Scientist and Immunology Expert at Abbott, always notices a special feature in breastmilk that “babies who receive breastmilk have stronger immune systems and fewer infections than formula fed babies.” This questions the scientists like Buck whether human milk contains any special component that can protect the child, strengthen baby’s immunity and reduce infections. What is that component?

While searching for the answer, the scientists found that breastmilk has an abundant solid component called human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), which are unique, non-digestible, complex carbohydrates. This exciting finding raised another question: Why is there non-digestible nutrient in breast milk? Do the bacteria in baby’s gut “eat” them?

When trying to isolate the oligosaccharide, the scientists tested whether the bacteria would grow in this environment, resulting in the discovery of Bifidobacterium bifidum, a beneficial bacterium, whose presence is clearly related to the oligosaccharides. This breakthrough led to another discovery: the nutrients in breastmilk feed not only the babies but also the beneficial bacteria in their guts, to protect them from infection.

The finding of HMO opens a new horizon for infant nutrition research. “HMOs are the third most abundant component in breastmilk (after fat and carbohydrate) and make up to 10 percent of breastmilk, even more than protein. They feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut where 70 percent of a baby’s immune system is found. Especially, they are also absorbed into the bloodstream, which supports baby’s developing immune system beyond the gut,” said Rachael Buck.

The discovery of this nutrient provides a clear explanation why breastfed babies with HMO have a stronger immune system and less infection than formula-fed babies.

Similac with HMO: The first of its kind in the world and in Vietnam

More than 15 years since the first research on HMO, scientists at Abbott have intensively focused on discovering and understanding the benefits of this special component, and how to add it into infant formulas.
Abbott has also done several clinical studies to compare the immune response among 3 groups: group 1 were breastfed babies, group 2 were formula-with-HMO-fed babies and group 3 were formula-without-HMO-fed babies. After 6 weeks, the result shows that the immune levels of the first and second group are similar, while the babies fed by formula without HMO have the lower level.

Adding HMO into formula, Abbott has taken a leap forward and created one of the biggest innovations in the last decade in infant nutrition science that narrows the gaps between infant formulas and breast milk in multiple ways that never seen  before. This innovation of Abbott was recognized by the Chicago Innovation Awards in 2017 as the first company that could put the immune-nourishing nutrient (2’FL – HMO) into formula.

At the beginning of this June, Abbott announced the launch of its most innovative infant formula yet, Similac Eye-Q Plus with HMO, in Vietnam. Mr. Douglas Kuo, General Manager of Abbott Vietnam, said: “Being able to include this important nutrient in formula is one of the biggest advances in infant nutrition of the last decade. Globally, Similac is the first formula to come on the market with 2'-FL HMO. We are excited to be the first to introduce this advance to Vietnam and see how this can help build the strong foundation for Vietnamese children’s ability to learn, grow and thrive.”

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