What nutrition is best for children? Nutritionists and product developers of FrieslandCampina are daily engaged in this. Based on physiological knowledge about nutrition, growth and development the FrieslandCampina development teams formulate hypotheses and prototypes that are subsequently validated in laboratory models and clinical tests. FrieslandCampina has built up extensive knowledge about composition and function of all components of mother’s milk. Breast-feeding is best for babies and therefore FrieslandCampina’s most important source of inspiration with respect to nutrition. Research into this has led to identification of ingredients that are now routinely added to nutrition for children, such as whey protein concentrates.
Building up resistance to infections is an important research area. Vivinal GOS, developed by FrieslandCampina in the mid-nineties, is an oligosaccharide made from lactose that demonstrably contributes to healthier intestinal flora and thus reduces the growth of pathogenic organisms. Also proteins, such as immunoglobulines, play a role in building up resistance. Specialists of FrieslandCampina keep searching for new components in milk, making use of biochemistry, microbiology and the related advanced analytical methods.
Specialists of FrieslandCampina are doing research into the relationship between the physical-chemical structure of milk protein and its digestibility, that is the uptake of amino acids by the intestine. This research has already led to the insight that treatment of milk in the chain from cow to final product has a substantial effect on the digestibility of milk proteins by humans. This effect is quantified by means of advanced analytical methods and clinical studies. With better digestion by children as a final goal.
Protein and fat
In the still developing gastrointestinal tract of babies, an allergic reaction may occur in specific cases. This reaction depends on the physical-chemical structure of milk protein. Processing milk protein in a controlled pre-digestion process prevents possible allergic reactions.
Fatty acids are important in nutrition for the functioning of cells, in particular in the brains. Therefore the relationship between production processes and the chemical stability of essential fatty acids such as DHA is an important research area. Recent insight into fat fractions (triglycerides) from various sources, making use of sensitive chromatographic analysis, shows that the structure of the fatty acids in triglycerides has a significant effect on the digestion of fatty acids in the gastrointestinal tract. Future research will concentrate on identifying and isolating specific fat fractions and understanding their functions and effects on the growth and development of children.