The buzz in the nursery is that Nestle is about to release the American market’s first FDA approved probiotic-supplemented infant formula, Good Start Supreme with Natural Cultures. Their pet bug is Bifidobacterium lactis which is the predominant organism found in the intestinal tract of breast-fed babies. It’s felt that much of the breast-fed baby’s wellness is tied to this population of colonic critters. B. lactis is known to help with the synthesis of vitamins B & K as well as improve the absorption of other minerals. Immune enhancing benefits including improved release of IgA in the intestinal tract and suppression of intestinal pathogens are among its attributes.
While most parents are open to probiotic use in children, their use in infancy is new territory. Safety shouldn’t be a concern in this case given its 15 year track record in 30 countries. Nestle will, however, have to prove to pediatricians and mothers that their brew offers tangible benefits to babies. And while probiotics may represent a natural option for intestinal health, most parents have little understanding of what probiotics do and their real benefits. Education of both new mothers and even pediatricians will be required before probiotic supplemented foods are recognized as having real value.
Despite the fact that some innovations in infant nutrition are market driven, probiotics represent the next frontier for pediatric neutraceuticals. In fact, Nestle may do for probiotics what Mead Johnson’s Lipil did for DHA & ARA.
Available only in powder form, this new formula is said to come into the market at about $1.50 more per can over regular Good Start. And by the way, don’t toast this one in the microwave. In fact don’t prepare it with water warmer than body temperature. Bugs can’t take the heat.
More on this one when it hits the market in April.