Milk-based hydrolysates for infant nutrition
Hydrolysates are produced by enzymatic hydrolysis of milk proteins, generating a product profile containing various peptide sizes and intact protein depending on whether a filtration process is applied.
Hydrolysed proteins are applied into formulas targeting the allergy management area and the comfort formula category.
There are two hydrolysate categories for use in infant nutrition:
- Extensive, filtered hydrolysates; almost all epitopes are destroyed. Ideal for allergic infants
- Partial, non-filtered hydrolysates; minimal number of epitopes are still present. Ideal for allergy prevention and comfort products
Formulas containing hydrolysed proteins are crucial for the nutrition of infants who are allergic to cow’s milk proteins or identified as being in the allergy risk group, as allergy-causing areas (epitopes) are destroyed or reduced to a minimum in the hydrolysis process.
Animal studies have shown that partial hydrolysates can induce oral tolerance to intact proteins. Oral tolerance is the active non-response of the immune system to an allergen administered orally. If oral tolerance fails, food allergy occurs, which means oral tolerance is a critical process in the first few months of life.
Ingestion of a protein hydrolysate, as opposed to the intact protein or free amino acids, is thought to facilitate protein digestion and absorption and increase plasma amino acid availability.
Arla Foods Ingredients has a broad range of hydrolysed casein and whey proteins which can be used for allergy treatment and prevention as well as comfort. These products are designed and tested for important quality descriptors such as antigenicity, molecular weight distribution and degree of hydrolysis to ensure a consistent quality to this sensitive consumer group.
Leading image: Artistic interpretation of a protein hydrolysate.
Arla Foods Ingredients supports the WHO recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two or beyond in combination with nutritionally appropriate complementary foods.