Researchers say polar lipids, amino acids, psychobiotics are of “critical importance”


This is according to researchers from the industry and academia, including Friesland Campina, Peking University, Universitas Indonesia, and University of Surrey.

The researchers conducted a review of existing studies which looked at the benefits of different types of macro and micronutrients.

In their findings published in Nutrients, ​they said that polar lipids and essential amino acids were especially important for normal neurodevelopment when a child was malnourished.

On the other hand, psychobiotics are relevant by targeting the gut-brain axis, they said in their findings published in Nutrients.

“Based on the review, presented here, it is highly unlikely that any one nutrient alone represents a magic bullet in supporting and positively influencing neurodevelopment. 

“Polar lipids and essential amino acids such as tyrosine and tryptophan, are emerging as promising emerging nutritional vectors for support of normal neurodevelopment. The latter can be especially important under conditions of protein/energy malnutrition,”​ the researchers

Polar lipids

The milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) was highlighted as a polar lipid that could affect cognitive development in infants and young children.

The MFGM can be found in bovine and human breast milk.

Majority of the polar lipids found in MFGM are phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidylinositol (PI), phosphatidylserine (PS), and sphingomyelin (SM).

The latter two exist in higher levels in human breast milk.

Citing a 2012 study​ conducted in Belgian, the researchers said a phospholipid-rich MFGM concentrate given daily to children aged 2.5 to 6 for four months had decreased behavioural problems and reduced days with fever.


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